“I chose this city from all of Asia“
Roman Emperor Augustus.
Aphrodisias Ancient City
Hundreds of famous sculptors have been raised in the ancient city of Aphrodisias, which takes its name from Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. It was protected by the Roman Emperor Augustus in the first century. In 2017, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List under the protection of UNESCO with the ancient marble quarries in the region. The ancient city of Aphrodisias is located in the Karacasu district of Aydın.
Present in Turkey with a highly conserved structure that has reached the most important archaeological sites in the ancient city dates back to 5000 BC the settlement date. The city, which was a small village at the beginning, started to develop during the period of urbanization in the valley and was restructured as a city spreading over a kilometer in the second century BC and became a city state with 15,000 inhabitants. In the following years, he was taken into personal protection by Roman Emperor Augustus as a result of close political relations with the Roman Empire. In 39 BC, when the Roman Senate acquired privileges such as tax exemption, autonomy and the right to asylum in the temple, the development of the city gained speed and lived its golden ages.
Aphrodisias is the capital of the Karian province of the Roman Empire in the late third century. With the division of Rome, he first lived under the domination of Eastern Rome and later of Byzantium. The ancient city, which continued its development until the middle of the fourth century, began to lose its importance as a result of the political, religious and economic problems created by the Visigoth and Arab raids since the sixth century. After the earthquake in the seventh century can not be built again. The region passes into the hands of the Seljuks. The land of Karacasu is used as a settlement by Turkmen tribes. In the twelfth century, Aphrodisias is completely abandoned.
Especially among the first and third centuries, the fame of the sculpture school in the city has spread everywhere; Dozens of sculptors who were known all around the Mediterranean and signed many important works were raised in this city. This leadership in the area of sculpture is called the Aphrodisias Style.
Impressive and Splendid Buildings
Aphrodisias, which is one of the leading architecture, art, sculpture and religion centers of Antiquity, was established with a grid plan; the street layout is placed around important buildings.
The Temple of Aphrodite, the most important structure of the city of Aphrodisias, was first built by the Assyrians in the Archaic period, for the goddesses of love and beauty Ishtar. In the first century, Zoilos started the reconstruction of the temple, which has reached the present day and fourteen of the ionic forty-forty columns. Completely completed in the 130s, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, the walls and the sacred chamber were completed and finished.
The Temple of Aphrodite
According to the information obtained in the excavations, the temple area was entered through a monumental entrance building. The statue of the goddess Aphrodite was in the room called Sella, where only priests could enter the temple. The Temple of Aphrodite, used as a place of pilgrimage by the pagans, was transformed into a large church at the end of the fifth century, when the city was dominated by Christianity, and the traces of the old temple were completely erased. The Sella room was removed and a three-nave plan was created with walls attached to the front and back of the temple.
Built as a market place, the 8 thousand-person Agora was also used as a meeting place. The structure built at the end of the first century BC has a columned entrance and two long portico-style ports. The Roman emperor Diocletianus crashed into the walls of the building and his engraved price lists are considered to be the most important finds showing both the Agora and the city’s economy. The monumental gate of Agora attracts attention with its friezes.
Aphrodisias Stadium is located at the northern end of the city as the best preserved stadium in the ancient world. The elliptical stadium has a length of 262 meters, a width of 50 meters and a capacity of 30 thousand viewers. In the earthquake of the seventh century, when the city’s ancient theater had serious damages, the half-round part of the stadium was used as the arena. The high walls on the north have served as the walls surrounding the city.
Aphrodisias Antique Theater
Aphrodisias Antique Theater, carved out of the eastern part of the mound known as the Acropolis hill, was built in the first century as a gift of Julia Zoilos to the goddess Aphrodite and the people of the city. The theater houses the oldest three-story stage building in Anatolia. Seating rows are composed of two parts as upper and lower. In the upper part of the sequence of the Byzantine period was used in the construction of the castle. In the middle of the antique theater, the orchestra part was used as an arena by removing the lower ranks of the rows of seats in the second century and making them suitable for gladiator wars.
The restoration of Tetrapylon is the most important restoration in Anatolia. Sixteen columns of the building were re-erected and tried to be as true as possible to the repair. Most of the other original pieces were put in place by excavations.
Transportation and Accommodation
This ancient city is 73 km from the shortest route to Pamukkale. It is about 100 km when you go on a more comfortable road. Transportation can be done by private vehicle. If you want to visit this ancient city, we can organize within the scope of Pamukkale tour. It is open every day from 08.30 to 17.00. You have limited chances of staying in the vicinity, but accommodation can be planned in Pamukkale or Kuşadası.
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