Sandwiched between the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean, the Turkish province of Antalya is best known as a resort destination but is also justifiably renowned for its ancient landmarks. From Greco-Roman amphitheaters and rock-cut tombs to sunken cities, here are the key ancient sites to explore in and around Antalya.
Once the capital of ancient Pamphylia, Perge has roots that stretch back to the Bronze Age. Today, many of its ruins date to the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, when it was a thriving Roman hub. Discover its well-preserved ancient theater, its enormous stadium, the picturesque Hellenistic Gate, and more.
Often coupled with Perge, nearby Aspendos was another bustling ancient settlement. Today it features ruins of a basilica, agora, and aqueduct, but the city’s amphitheater is unquestionably its most popular attraction. Considered one of the best-preserved amphitheaters from antiquity, it’s still used to host events and performances today.
Today a thriving resort town along the Mediterranean coast, Side is also home to destination-worthy Greco-Roman ruins. Side’s ancient theater and the Temple of Apollo and Athena are among its highlights.
Now known as Demre, Myra was once an important settlement in ancient Lycia. Visitors flock to the town to see the ancient Byzantine St. Nicholas Church, while the millennia-old, rock-cut tombs and theater are further evidence of its rich history.
Among Turkey’s most unusual—and extraordinary—ancient sites is the sunken city of Kekova. The partially submerged ruins are best viewed from the vantage of a glass-bottomed boat, through which underwater stairs and other structures can be glimpsed.