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Termessos

termessos-antalya-422 km northwest of Antalya, south of the Antalya-Korkuteli motorway on the slope of the 1650 m high Güllük/Solymn mountain, at an altitude of 1050 m, lie the remains of the antique city of Termessos. The area was declared “Güllük/Termessos National Park and Protection Area” due to the best examples of its regional flora, flowers and maquis vegetation, and unique fauna, primarily wild goat. In the Luwi/Etruscan language the word “Terme”, included in the root of the name, means “Pass/Mountain Pass” and “Assa” means “High Fort”, and as such, it was named Termeassa, meaning “Fort City on the Mountain Pass”. The area was also called “Termila”, that is, “Terme Pass” which then became “Dirmil” through a different phonetic pronunciation in today’s Turkish.

The area is known to have been a human settlement since prehistoric times and was a part of the Etruscan/Luwian settlement unit around 3000 B.C. Due to the immigration of the Nordic tribes, that is, Turquoise/Isocates, which continued from around 3000 B.C. until around 700 B.C., urbanization began in the small Luwian settlement units in Anatolia and they came on the historical scene.

termessos-antalya-5One of the foremost cities established on the Pisidian-Lycian-Pamphilian border by the Termil clan is Termeassa. Termessos, which started to urbanize and flourish after the 6th century B.C., opened onto the sea by joining Phaselis, which was another coastal Lycian city, located to the South of Mount Solym. Excavation research carried out in the area revealed canals carved in rocks running southwards from the hillsides of mount Solym towards the city of Phaselis. Through these canals, the wine and olive oil produced in the area were poured to Phaselis on the coast where jugs were filled and shipped to other countries. In the 5th century B.C., although almost all of Anatolia was occupied by Persians, Termessos was not seized by the Persians.

The Macedonian King Alexander who besieged Termessos in 337 B.C. met with the defense of the locals of Termessos and, seeing that he would not be able to capture it, turned towards the shores of Pamphilia. Termessos was the only city in Anatolia which Alexander could not capture during his trip to Asia. Termessos, which had established good relations with the Pergamonians who subsequently came to the area, developed these relations also with Rome which was the heir of the termessos-antalya-3Kingdom of Pergamum, signing an agreement in 72 B.C. after which the city was enriched with various buildings and started flourishing. The city of Termessos, which fell in ruins and was destroyed as a result of the earthquakes which took place in the 5th and 9th centuries A.D. and could not be captured by any army whatsoever in its history, could not find any means for reconstruction and the city folk emigrated to the other cities of Pamphilia and Lycia by the seaside. Thus, the city remains have survived to this day. Tekeoğlu Turkomans who came to the area built a Caravanserai named Evdir Han at the Byzantine sacred site Eudokias situated in the valley in the east of the city. On the King’s Road leading to the antique Termessos remains there is firstly a main entrance gate with a Gymnasium Complex to the east of it. In the complex where, in addition to the teaching of philosophy and positive sciences, all kinds of physical sports activities and competitions were performed, it is understood that the most important lessons were war games and wrestling. Built leaning against the hillside, next to where the inner city walls face the Gymnasium square, Galleries can be seen, and it is understood that these used to have tiers of Stadion seats.

Southeast from the front of the Gymnasium there are 26 tiers of seats and a theatre which is thought to have a seating capacity of 6000 people. There are three temples in front of the Odeon and it is understood that the one in the West is Zeus Solymeus, the small one in the middle is Artemis and the one in the East is the Great Artemis Temple. There are shops behind the columns. One of the most important tombs there is the house type tomb with lion’s head relief constructed in the Lycian style and a large number of Lycian type sarcophagi are visible.

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