The remains of the ancient city of Perge, lie just 17km (11mi) northeast of Antalya and is the region’s most significant Roman ruin.
Dating as far back as the Bronze Age, Perge was originally settled by the Hittites around 1500 BC and under Roman occupation grew to become one of the most beautiful cities of the ancient world. An important city for Christians during the Byzantine period, Saint Paul is said to have preached his first sermon here in 46 AD.
Excavations began on the site in 1946 and have since uncovered a large Greco-Roman theater with fine marble reliefs, a stadium that could seat over 12,000 people, a Hellenistic-Roman city gate flanked by ruined towers, a long colonnaded street, a large agora (central market), public baths and a gymnasium. Of these ancient remains, the theater and the stadium are Perge’s best-preserved sites.
Many ancient scholars came out of Perge, including the physician Asklepiades, the philosopher Varius, the famous mathematician Apollonius (a pupil of Archimedes) and the female Roman ruler of the city Plancia Magna.
Perge is 17km (11mi) NE of Antalya and takes approximately 20 minutes by road. Most people visit the site on a guided tour.