Perge Tourist Information
Perga or Perge is an ancient city, one of the Pamphylia’s foremost, situated on a broad plain few kilometers west of Aksu (Kestros) River.
The position of the town – 12 kilometers inland but on other side close to a big river enables it to avoid pirates attack and on same time to be trading trough sea. That leaded to fast progress of the Perge in 4th century B.C.
There’s a story that the city was found after the Trojan Wars by colonists from Argos.
In 333 B.C. Alexander the Great conquered the city without any opposition. The reason for that is that in this period the town didn’t have protective walls yet. After the death of Macedonian leader the city remains part of Antigonos domain and later became under Seleucid sovereignty. Pergebecame independent in 133 B.C when the Pergamum kingdom was turned over to Rome.
In 46 A.D. the town was host of an important event to the Christian World. In that year St. Paul visited Perge and from there he continued his travel to Attaleia.
With the time more and more projects were started in Perge. In 2nd and 3rd century A.D. the town was progressing very fast and became the most beautiful one in all of Anatolia. Moreover during the rule of Constantine the Great Perge became an important centre of Christianity. Unfortunately for the city the Arab attacks that followed the next centuries weaken it and most of the population migrated to Antalya.
In the past the city excited with Greco-Roman theater with seating capacity of 13 000. Moreover because of the gladiatorial and will animal combats popular in the mid-third century, the orchestra was used as an arena. To keep the animals from escaping, it was surrounded by carved balustrade panels that passed between marble knobs made in the form of Herme. The theaters most fascinating elements are marble reliefs of mythological topic that are decorating the face of the podium. The one on the right side illustrates the local god personifying the Kestros River, Perge’s lifeblood, with one of the female mythological creature nymph. From there the ride side starts and it depicts in serial form the entire life story of god of wine and founder and protector of theaters- Dionysus.
In Perge is also one of the best preserved stadiums that could be seen today. It is rectangular building with measures 34 X 334 meters, shaped like a horseshoe- close on the north end and open on the south one. The stadium was built on a substructure of 70 chambers and has seating capacity of 12 000.
The tomb of Plancia Magna, the daughter of Plancius Verus, the Governor of Bithynia is another exciting building that is preserved till nowadays. It’s situated outside of the city walls. Plancia Magna was wealthy and civic minded that worked in Perge and had a number of spots in the city adorned with monuments and sculptures. Because of her community service the people and senate decided to build a statue of her.
In Perge are also situated a huge trapezoidal courtyard with measures 92 X 46 meters, many towers that in the past were high around 12-13 meters and a magnificent bath. The pool inside excites with measures of 13 X 20 meters.
At the northern part of the inner court is most magnificent structure in Perge- Hellenistic gate. The gate is built around 3rd century B.C. It has 2 towers with horseshoe shaped arc behind them. Moreover it was really efficient as look from the defensive point of view. The towers were decorated with the help of Plancia Magna. With the expand of the town area the gate became only for decoration and so was covered with colored marble and other precious materials for the ancient time.
East of the beautiful Hellenistic gate was situated an Agora 65 meters square. It was surrounded by shops with floors, paved with colored mosaics. In the center of the Agora a building was situated which is very similar to the structure of Side’s Agora.
A colonnaded street directs north-south across the town centre and passing under the arch of Demetrios- Apollonius. On both sides of this, quarter kilometer long, street are huge porticoes. They also served as shelter from the violent winter weather and hot summer days. An interesting element of this colonnaded street is the pool water channel in the middle of the road. It made to flow by the river god Kestros, these clean waters were coming out from the monumental fountain at the north end and flow down to the south.
With the time Perge was transformed by artisans into a city of marble, was truly magnificent, with faultless layout that would have been the envy of modern city planners. In order to fully appreciate its grandeur today, one must visit the Antalya Museum to see hundreds of sculptures from Perge now housed there. Visiting this town is something that you should do if going to holidays to Turkey near Antalya.