Historical Tour Of Turkey Part 3

Turkey is a country steeped in history. It has been subject to settlement by many different eras and empires, including the Greeks, Romans and Byzantines, and there is no shortage of historical monuments and ruins to visit. This is part one of a three part series of articles that will give readers a guide of where to go, what to see and how to get there. For convenience, this guide will map a course which is recommended, for those who do not wish to be limited by the standard guided tours. Readers can choose to take the outlined routes or may wish to vary it to their personal needs. Please also note that the this amount of time required at explore each venue may vary so it is recommended that you arrange your transport and accommodation accordingly.

Part 3 – South-Central Mediterranean Coast

The third instalment on this Historic Tour of Turkey is located mainly on the South-Central Mediterranean coast. It is recommended that you start this section of the tour from the holiday city of Marmaris, which is located in the south western corner of Turkey, near where the Aegean and Mediterranean seas meet. The best option would be to hire a vehicle from one of the many operators in Marmaris in order to be able to tour at your own pace. Alternately there are many bus and coach operators who operate from Marmaris, however please be aware that this may not always suit your own personal timetables.


Kaunos is located approximately 90 kilometres east of Marmaris and is positioned on the Mediterranean coast. As the crow flies Kaunos is only 25 kilometres from Marmaris, but due to the nature of the terrain there is only road access by going north and then south east. This however makes for an excellent scenic drive, especially the stretch of road that skirts Lake Koycegiz. Kaunos is thought to have been built in around the year 900bc by the Carian Greeks. It was an important trade hub, and it housed two port, such was the amount of traffic. The city was conquered by the Persians at around 500bc, then conquered by the Hellenic Greeks. The Persians re-conquered the city in around 380bc, however they succumbed to the Roman invasion in the year 190bc. It was during the Roman rule that many of the cities great structures were built, including and amphitheatre, Roman baths and other significant structures. The city has also been ruled by the other great empires such as the Byzantines and the Ottomans 1). This is a great place to visit at your own leisure, and the backdrop of the blue waters of the Mediterranean make this a must visit location. For more information about tours, opening times and costs please visit this website http://www.kaunostours.com/.




Olympos is located approximately 120 kilometres south east of Kaunos, just outside of the town of Fethiye on the Mediterranean coast. The drive to this ancient city is harbours some breathtaking views as it winds firstly around the mountains then along the coast. Fethiye is a popular tourist destination for it's spectacular beaches, views over the coast and the Fethiye Dead Sea, which is similar to the Dead Sea in Israel. Olympos is thought to have been built at around 200bc, by the Hellenistic Greeks. The city was used as a port and trading location, and was most likely built in it's position due to it's strategic location at the base of Mount Tahtali, which is in Taurus mountain ranges. The city was conquered by the Romans in around 80bc, and most of the structures that are there now were built in this period 3). This site is open all year and you can either visit at your own pace or take one of the mny guided tours.




Myra is located approximately 160 kilometres east of Olympos, just outside the town of Demre. This is a quite spectacular drive along the Mediterranean coast with many opportunities to stop and take photos. Myra was first thought to have been built in the year 500bc by the Carian Greeks. After conquering Myra, the Romans built a great many impressive structures, including a circular theatre which is located on the edge of a cliff which has great views over the Mediterranean, Roman baths and also tombs which were carved into the rock in the side of a mountain. But perhaps the most impressive structure is the Church of St Nicholas, which was built during the Byzantine era in the year 600ad 5). The church and other structures remain in good shape and is a must see for visitors to the area.




Termessos is located approximately 180 kilometres east of Olympos, just north of the city of Antalya. This is an inland drive, however if you have time it is recommended that you take the coast road, which is around 300 kilometres in length, however is one of the best scenic drives in Turkey. The ancient city of Termessos is thought to have been built approximately in the year 300bc. It was built on a plateau 1000 metres above sea level, and overlooks Antalya and the Mediterranean. This is one of the best preserved sites in Turkey, with the impressive amphitheatre and many other of the structures such as temples, fountains and statues still being mostly intact, having been built after the conquest by Alexander the Great 7). Visitors should note that to access this site you need to climb steps and steep slopes, so a certain level of physical capability would be required in order to get to the top. For more on tours, costs, opening hours and other information please visit this website http://www.antalyaonline.net/english/location/antalya/history.asp?out=1.




Perge is located approximately 50 kilometres east of Termessos and is 20 kilometres east of the city of Antalya. This ancient city has artefacts that date back to the bronze age, however most of the structures can be dated back to approximately 130bc, during the reign of the Roman empire. It is believed that the city was used by councils and governments as a meeting place, with also many religious leaders using the city as a location to convene. Most of the structures are still intact and include a large amphitheatre, baths, gates and temples 9). This location can be visited all year round and has easy pedestrian access.




Aspendos is located approximately 35 kilometres east of Perge, just outside of the town of Serik. It is thought to have been built in approximately 1000bc by Greeks from Argos, in the region of Pamphlyia. The city was used as a trading hub, as it was located on the banks of the Eurymedon River which was used by traders to transport goods inland. The city was invaded and captured by the Persians in the 5th century bc, however it changed hands between the Persians and the Greeks several times in the next 150 years in a series of skirmishes. The city then fell to the Romans, with armies led by Alexander the Great conquering the city. It was during this period that they built a number of structures, such as aqueducts, baths and fountains 11). It was the Hellenic Greeks however that built the most impressive structure, the Aspendos Theatre which remains almost completely intact today, and hosts theatres and music concerts. For more information about tours, events and other attractions please visit this website http://www.antalya.org/listingview.php?listingID=49.




Side is located approximately 36 kilometres south east of Aspendos, just outside of the city of Manavgat. It is positioned right on the Mediterranean coast, and is thought to have been built in approximately 700bc by Greek settlers. The city quickly became an important trading location due to its port and easy access on land. It is believed that the settlers in the city soon forgot their native tongue, and a new dialect was created which was almost exclusive to Side. The city was briefly occupied by the Persians, and then by conquered by the Roman empire under Alexander the Great. The city became a power in the region, and many large structures were built, including a Temple of Apollo, a theatre, aqueducts, bathhouses and gates 13). Today the ancient city is a popular tourist destination due to it's position by the sea and magnificent views, with many ruins still lining the new asphalt streets. For more about this city of amazing historical history, please visit this site http://www.turkeyforyou.com/travel_turkey_side




The last of the locations in this guide is Sagalassos, which is located approximately 175 kilometres north of Side, just outside of the city of Isparta. It is a longer drive, but definitely worth the trip as it is one of the better preserved historical sites in Turkey. The ancient city is thought to have been built in approximately 700bc by the Greeks, however this is only a rough estimate as archaeologists have found traces of human settlement over 8,000 years old in this region. Most of the remaining structures date back to around 300bc, during the rule of the Roman Empire under Alexander the Great. During this time there were many structures built, including an amphitheatre, temples, agoras, baths and probably the best preserved building, a large Nymphaeum. The city suffered several earthquakes and raids by Arab armies, and was deserted in around 500ad 15). You can visit this site at your leisure or take one of the many guided tours.




Whilst all care has been taken, please check with local authorities and operators prior to visiting any of these sites. Certain events can affect access to historical sites, such as safety issues, weather or new discoveries that require areas to be demarcated. It is recommended to visit these sites between the months of March and November. The winter months can bring snow and ice to some venues, along with cold winds which may make it unpleasant for visitors. For visas and other information about Turkey, please visit this site http://www.goturkey.com/.

Travel | Turkey

Historvius.org, 2014, 'Kaunos', Available: http://www.historvius.com/kaunos-1749/
Kaunos by HHHoffmann licence CC 3.0, Available: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:0148_Kingsgraves.jpg
Muzelerimiz.com, 2014, 'Olympos', Available: http://www.muze.gov.tr/olympos-en
Olympos by Carole Raddato licence CC 2.0, Available: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Myra.JPG
Historvius.org, 2014, 'Myra', Available: http://www.historvius.com/myra-1761/
Myra by Timea Baksa licence CC 3.0, Available: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Myra.JPG
Historvius.org, 2014, 'Termessos', Available: http://www.historvius.com/termessos-1774/
Termessos by Karle3 licence CC 3.0, Available: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Termessos_theater_200603.jpg
Unesco.org, 2014, 'Perge', Available: http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5411/
Perge by 07ozlem arli licence CC 3.0, Available: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Antalya,_PERGE.JPG
Antalya.org, 2014, 'Aspendos', Available: http://www.antalya.org/listingview.php?listingID=49
Aspendos by Saffron Blaze licence CC 3.0, Available: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aspendos_Amphitheatre.jpg
Goturkey.com, 2014, 'Side', Available: http://www.goturkey.com/en/place/detail/side
Side by Georges Jansoon licence CC 3.0, Available: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Side.Apollo(4).jpg
Unesco.org, 2014, 'Sagalassos', Available: http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5409/
Sagalassos by Sarah Murray licence CC 2.0, Available: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:SagalassosTheater5232.jpg

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