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Antic Termessos in Antalya photo

For all those who spend their vacation at one of the numerous resorts of Antalya coast a trip to Termessos may be considered a very interesting excursion. But by some mysterious reasons tourists have hardly ever been taken there, and most of them even don`t know that only 30 kilometers from Antalya (to the north-east) is such an interesting place.

When visiting Termessos you will have a unique feeling that you are in a true historic place, and that the ruins of the ancient city scattered all over a large space are real ones and not specially made for tourists brought there in big buses. Termessos was one of the few cities that Alexander the Great couldn`t capture. Natural and artificial defenses of the city made it almost impregnable and after an unsuccessful attempt to force a pass to the city Alexander decided to retreat.

In the period of the Roman Empire the city was at its heyday but was abandoned by the citizens by some reason, supposedly after an earthquake, which destroyed the aqueduct supplying water to the city. There remained many ruins dating back to that time: huge amphitheatre, various buildings, and Lycian burials in the upper and lower part of the city.

Considering that excursions are very rare there, it would be better for you to rent a motor-car and go there for yourself. Besides, in this case you can stay there as much time as you want. Apart from the ruins surrounding the amphitheatre, you can also wander along the paths where you can find a lot of interesting things.

From a parking lot, which is at the border of the national park, a narrow path leads up to the ruins of Termessos. The city is at the height of 1650 meter above sea level. The city efficiently used the natural defense advantages. From the west and east it is protected by rocks. So, you can enter the city through the mountain passes, which were protected by strong lower and upper walls.

Having ascended the path the first thing you see is a wall stretching from one side of the gorge to the other. It is this wall that became the main obstacle for the armies of Alexander the Great. Passing the gate on the «King`s Road» you can get to the historic center of the city, but now because of the overgrown bushes you can`t see the scale and layout of streets and buildings.

So, you`d better not try to understand the logic of the ancient city layout but just wander about the paths. You will constantly come across the ruined buildings: dwellings, temples, gymnasium, water cisterns.

In the upper part of the city you should see the amphitheatre. It is located in a very picturesque place at the edge of a precipice. Although the amphitheatre has never been restored, it is still in a fairly good condition, and it is there that you understand how interesting it is to explore the ruins of an ancient city.

Apart from the amphitheatre, you should find the sarcophagus of Agathemeros. It is on the high pedestal. After that you`d better go down to the parking lot by a path running along the left side of the gorge.

At a distance of two tens of meters from the parking lot you can see the Lower Necropolis. You must see it. The paths winds between the scattered sarcophagi and the slabs with the images of Alexander the Great or the Gorgon. 

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Ancient amphitheater of Termessos is on the edge of a bluff in the mountains
Sarcophagus in the necropolis at the foot of the ancient amphitheater in Termessos
Ancient amphitheatre of Termessos could accommodate up to 5000 spectators
Masonry of the amphitheater wall where the stage was located over the rooms for animals
Ancient amphitheater of Termessos is on the slope of the gorge
Stage at the ancient amphitheatre of Termessos. There were conducted no restoration works here, so everything is in its original condition.
Upper walls of Termessos. It were just the walls Alexander the Great could not come over.
Rocky necropolis in Termessos
Temple of Artemis near the Odeon
Odeon building was made of big slabs
Inscribed columns at the upper seat rows of the ancient amphitheater
Building of gymnasium where the citizens of Termessos were taught
Square of the Agora where the city assemblies were held. Water storage cisterns were placed in this square.
The largest water storage cistern in the Agora of Termessos. It reaches the depth of 10 meters.
Sarcophagus of the lower necropolis
Bas-relief of a lion on a sarcophagus in Termessos
Slab with the Gorgon Medusa from a sarcophagus in Termessos.
Remains of the the upper area of Termessos
Sarcophagus with the picture of the tamed lion
Sarcophagus with the picture of lions
There a great number of ruined sarcophagi in the lower necropolis of Termessos
Aqueduct for delivering water to Termessos
Sarcophagi of the lower necropolis in Termessos
Bas-reliefs on the sarcophagus of a military leader of Termessos
Sarcophagi cut in the rocks surrounding Termessos
Sarcophagus on the Road of Necropolises (on the right side of the valley).
Mountain valley at the foot of Termessos