Termessos Ancient City


Termessos Ancient City is an important ancient city founded by the Solyms. They were descendants of the Luwians, one of the oldest peoples of Anatolia, in the southwestern part of the Pisidia Region, now “Milyas”. It is in the valley between the peaks of the Solymos Mountain, what is now “Güllük”. It is one of the most striking of the ruins preserved in the forest and is present in the National Park of the same name. Visitors can reach the ruins of Güllük Mountain by the private road climbing to the left from the 24th kilometer of the Antalya-Korkuteli highway.

The City’s Emerging On The Stage Of History

Termessos Ancient City’s emergence on the stage of history was when Alexander the Great besieged the city in 333 BC. However, the Termesos people did not give up on the city by making a strong defense. After the death of Alexander, the city was taken by the Ptolemies. The people of Termessos captured the neighboring city of Isinda in 189 (BC). Manlius, the Roman Forces Commander in Anatolia,  were punished them upon the complaint of the people of Isinda. There was probably a war between Termessos and the Lycian League at the same time. Termessos had “friendship and alliance” with Rome in 71 (BC).

The city was independent in their affairs. Amyntas of Galatia ruled Termessos with other cities of Pisidia during 36 to 25 (BC). In the Roman Empire period, We can conclude from the coins that the city preserved its independence. There is no information about the situation of the city in the Byzantine period and later periods. After the city of Termessos was abandoned, it did not witness a new settlement. Historians show it as one of the most solid and well-preserved ruins. 

Termessos ancient city

The ruins of the city begin with the Hellenistic Age wall near Yenicekahve on the Antalya-Korkuteli highway. They continue until the summit of Güllük Mountain. Following the path that climbs to the city after the parking lot, the steps and monumental entrance of the temple in Ionian order, built during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, are on the right. If you continue to climb south from the area where the lower city walls and the water source are located, you will reach the Gymnasium on the left. The first floor of it is still standing. To the southwest of the building, there is a columned street with shops behind it. Visitors can still see canals in the immediate vicinity, showing the perfection of the sewer network.

Visiting Termessos

When you reach the plain, you reach the area many official buildings of the city take place. You can easily see them on the left of the path leading to the forest lookout point. The first remains on the plain belong to the agora. Portico (stoa) was built in the time of Attalos (159–138 BC) and is in the Doric order. To the east of the agora, there is the theater. It leans against the hillside and can see the Antalya Gulf. 

Approximately 100 meters southwest of the theater is the parliament building, which stands up to the height of the roof. On the plain to the east of the Agora, 5 interconnecting cisterns are unique in terms of depth and width. To the southwest of the city are the ruins of an extraordinarily beautiful Roman-style villa having the name of the “Founder’s House”. The building’s facade wall is in Doric order and reaches a height of 6 m. It has the name of “The Founder’s House” due to the inscription on the left side of the door.

Termessos has many temples and very large burial grounds. The diversity and decorations of the tombs are quite rich. Among these, the tomb of Alketas is one of the important commanders of the Alexander the Great period (319 BC). It is also important in terms of shedding light on the history of the city. The sarcophagus with the shield motif depicts many warriors as well as the mausoleums. This sarcophagus occupies a very large area in the cemetery area. The most interesting work belonging to Termessos in the Antalya Museum is the “Dog Sarcophagus”. The museum exhibits it in the “Sarcophagus Hall”. The poetic epitaph, written by the owner of the dog Stefanos, is of particular importance as it is unique.

How To Go To Termessos Ancient city?

  • By car: The easiest way to travel to Termessos is by car and we drove ourselves using our rental car. The car park marking the start of the hike to Termessos is around a one hour drive from Antalya. The drive was relatively easy although there is a tricky switchback road leading up to the site after entering the national park. Click here to reach google maps.
  • By private driver/taxi: Renting a cab/driver is a great alternative to driving yourself and it’s easy to arrange the trip from Antalya. Prices will vary on and on.
  • By public transport:  There is a bus service that runs from the Antalya main bus station, the Otogar. The journey takes around 30 to 40 minutes and drops off passengers at Termessos Junction which is around 9km from the site. In the summer there should be taxis at the park entrance, however, they tend to charge a premium. Outside of summer months, you will need to hike to the car park.
You May Also Like