Aspendos, also known as Aspendus, was an ancient Greek-Roman city in the Minor Asia. Nowadays it is part or Republic of Turkey and is situated in province of Antalya not far away of central Serik. More in details it is 40km east of Antalya.
The town was founded during the expansion of Hittite empire. During that time the towns of Sideand Aspendos were the main towns of the province of Pamphylia and so in the empire. The many theaters and ancient building still well preserve today illustrate the importance of the Aspendos in the past.
In 546 BC Aspendos became part of the Persian Empire. Even under the rule of Persians the city continued to have a lot of independence. In 467 BC the military commander Cimon and his flee of more than 200 ships destroyed the Persians navy fleet in the mouth of Eurymedon River. In order to take conquer the whole region the Cimon’s forces used a trick. He sent his best warriors to shore wearing garments of the hostages he had seized earlier. When the Persians saw them they started celebrating. A little bit later those ‘returning hostages’ took the control over the city of Aspendos. After that for little more than half century the town was part of the Attic- Delos Maritime league.
In 411 BC the Persians managed again to capture the town. They used it as a military base. In 389 BC happened one of the worst moments for the city and its habitants. The commander of Athens in an effort to regain some of the prestige that Aspendos had lost during the Peloponnesian Wars, anchored off the coast with the intention to secure its surrender. The people of Aspendos didn’t want any troubles and so they decided to pay hoping the commander will retreat without any further damages. Even though he took the money, he trampled all the crops in the fields around the town. Furious from this act the Aspendians stabbed and killed the Athenian leader while sleeping.
Its greatest days were around 5th centuries BC when it began issuing coinage, first starters and later drachmas (types of ancient coins). The coinage and the strategic position of the town- not far away from Mediterranean coast and near river of Eurymedon- made the town of the fastest progressing. During that period the construction of many theaters, basilicas and other public buildings started.
In 333 BC the nearby city of Perge was captured by Alexander the Great. In order to avoid any damages on the city the citizens of Aspendos decided to send envoys and offer to pay a tribute of gold and horses. Alexander accepted this proposal and towards the city of Side. In that time some arguments raised in Aspendos and there was no agreement for the tribute to be paid between the citizens. When the Macedonian leader understood that he immediately went back with his troops. When the Aspendians saw the army of Alexander they sent envoys again. This time there was agreement at much harsh conditions- 100 gold tablets and 400 horses each year to be paid and moreover a garrison will be left to defend the city.
During the wars that followed the death of Alexander, the city came alternately under the control of the Ptolemies and the Seleucids, later falling into the hands of the Kingdom of Pergamum, to which it remained found until 133 B.C.
Despite of the glorious progress around 190 BC the Romans occupied the city, pillaging of its artistic treasures. However few years later a construction of new theatre began. It was finished n 155 and nowadays is the best-preserved theatre of antiquity with diameter of 96 meters and enough seating for 7000 people. It’s architect was the Greek Zenon and so to keep the tradition live he built it so it leaned against the nearby hill where the Citadel stood, while the remaining was built on vaulted arches. Another great building from Roman period is the aqueduct. It had a purpose to bring water from the nearby river of Eurymedon. It’s well preserved till today so you will be able to enjoy it. Even more there are two Roman bridges over the Eurymedon River that local people are still using.
Aspendos is definitely a must see place in Turkey. It’s perfect supplement to your holidays to Turkey as the cultural heritage there is really very interesting and will take your breath away while walking around the ruins.
Incoming search terms:
- aspendos map