Termessos

By Admin | Last Updated November 28, 2019

Termessos is an ancient city that is located 30 kilometers north-west of Antalya. It was a city built by the Pisidian Empire at an altitude of 1000 meters near Mount Solymos. It has been constructed on a natural plateau at a height of 1665 meters from the surrounding mountains. The site has a hidden almost mysterious appearance as it is shielded by pine forests.

The entire experience of visiting Termessos is a memorable one. Your hike up into the Taurus Mountains is rewarded when you reach the tiered ruins of the theater. It is considered one of the best kept historical sites in the whole country. Alexander the Great called this place ‘The Eagle’s Nest’ as it provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Termessos is not extremely overrun by tourists. It has still managed to hold on to the pristine natural beauty of the region. The Turkish Government has declared this area a National Park.

Map

In the Iliad written by Homer, Termessos was founded by the mythical hero Bellerophon. He was credited with killing a monster called the Chimera.

Quick Facts-Termessos

Location Antalya Province
How to Reach Day trips from Antalya, 38 kilometers away
Opening Times April to October : 9.00 am – 7.00 pm
November to March : 8.00 am – 5.00 pm
Fees 5 Turkish Lira
Main Attractions Theater, Temple, Main Square, Cemeteries

What to See in Termessos

  1. The Main Square or ‘agora’ was the open air marketplace of the city. You can see the multi level spaces. Pillars have been used to raise the levels. 5 cisterns can be made out from the hollows in the north-west. Attalos II, King of Pergamum (150 - 138 BC), presented the columned walkways to the city as a mark of friendship.
  2. The Theater is the most photographed and visually stunning part of Termessos. In the typically Hellenistic way, the theater is designed in a semi-circular shape with 8 tiers of seats. At a time it was believed to be able to seat 5000 people. Spectator sports like fights between animals and humans took place in the large amphitheater. Even though it is in ruins the theater still commands a fabulous view of the surrounding plains.
  3. Four of the six temples found on site are near the Odeon. The main temple is thought to have been dedicated to the main Pisidian God Zeus Solymeus. Little remains of this but its 5 meter high walls. One of the other temples contains an inscription that states that it was dedicated to Artemis.
  4. A number of rock-cut tombs or cemeteries have been located within the city walls. Like the Egyptians, the people of this civilization buried their dead in sarcophagi with clothes, jewelry, etc. The richer the individual, the more decorated the sarcophagus.

Termessos was abandoned around the 5th century. There have been no excavations till date at Termessos.

Some Facts – Termessos

  • Bring your own food and water as there are limited facilities.
  • Near the entry point to the National Park there is a small restaurant for refreshments.
  • Pop into the exhibition room for a look at the photos from the ruins of Termessos.
  • There are toilets at this point, should you want to use them.
  • Guides are available here, especially on the weekends. It is advisable to take a guide if you want to know about the historical details of the site.

How to Reach Termessos

Public transport options are very limited as only one bus will drop you off at the Termessos point which is nine kilometers from the site. You can hire a taxi there or hike to the site. So, private cars or taxis are the other options. It takes around an hour from Antalya. A trip to Karain Caves can be combined with this trip.