The ancient town Aspendos is 30 kilometers from Antalya, near Side. Traditionally, a perfectly preserved ancient theater is more often mentioned in advertising brochures. However, in Aspendos, you can see the ruins of a whole ancient city, and they are at least as interesting.
Presumably, Aspendos was founded in X century B.C., immediately after the end of the Trojan War. In 333 B.C. it was conquered by Alexander the Great. After the death of Alexander the Great Aspendos was a part of various kingdoms until in 190 A.D. it was included in the Roman Empire. The period of the highest prosperity of Aspendos was just under the Roman rule.
During the period of the Byzantine Empire the town began to decline, and XIV century, under the Turks, it ceased to exist. Now the ruins of Aspendos are on two hills – Big and Small ones. On the Big Hill you can see the ancient Agora, Basilica, Acropolis. The columns of the well-preserved Roman aqueduct are leading to it, but the Roman amphitheater located at the foot of the Big Hill is of the greatest interest. To this day it survived in a perfect condition.
The amphitheater, which could accommodate up to 17 thousand spectators, was built in II century under the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. A large gallery was erected above the spectators` stand, thanks to which the visitors were in the shadow during performances. Under the Turks, this ancient theater served as a caravanserai. In 1980 it was restored, and until recently the «Fires of Anatolia» show was constantly held here. Now the theater is considered an architectural monument, and the show is now held in a new nearby amphitheater.
On the way to the top of the Big Hill you first come to a small gate approached by a medieval street. From the gate the road leads to the monumental building of the Basilica. It was built in the Roman period and was intended for court sessions and trade. A large Agora was in front of the Basilica. The Acropolis was near it.
If you go away from the amphitheater for about a kilometer, you can see a well-preserved Roman aqueduct. It was built in II century, and now it is the largest surviving aqueduct in Turkey. That is, its historical value is at least the same as that of the amphitheater.