PHASELIS




Near Tekirova, a forest road leads to the ruins of Phaselis, scattered on a peninsula surrounded by three natural harbors and sandy beaches.
This ancient city, located at the border of Lycia and Pamphilya, was founded by colonists from Rhodes Island in 690 BC. Overrun by the Persians, in the 5C BC Phaselis freed and later even became independent from Lycia, forming an alliance with Mausolus, the satrap of Caria, in the 4C BC. Phaselis was the most important port city in the region until the foundation of Attalaia (Antalya) in the 2C BC. The inhabitants minted coins showing the bow of a ship on one side and the stern on the other. In the winter of 333-334 BC, during his campain against the Persians, Alexander the Great spent some time in Phaselis, whose population had submited at once to his authority, before he advanced to Central Anatolia. After Alexander's death, the city remained in the Ptolemies' hands from 209 till 197 BC, then in the Seleucids' hands before it was handed over in 190 BC to the Kingdom of Rhodes together with the other cities of Lycia. From 167 BC, Phaselis became part of the Lycian League under Roman rule. But in the 1C BC, like Olympos, Phaselis was under the constant threat of the Cilician pirates who even took the place for a period and set it on fire when they were defeated by Rome to which the city was linked in 42 BC. In the 2C AD, for the purpose of Emperor Hadrian's visit, Phaselis was adorned with new statues, monuments and buildings, and most of the remains which can be seen today, date back from this period. In the Byzantine times, the city became a bishopric. Suffering again from pirates and Arab raids, the harbours began to lose importance and the city fell in complete decay. In the 12th century, when the Seljuks settled in the region, they prefered to concentrate in Alanya and Antalya, and Phaselis fell into oblivion.
Phaselis was home to the tragic author and poet Theodectes who was the pupil of Socrates and Aristotles.

On the west side of the main street are:

The Bath which was part of the bath-gymnasium complex.
Hadrian's Agora, almost square-shaped, lies south of the bath and was lined by porticoes and shops. The side of the agora looking onto the main street was decorated with statues and a fountain.
Domitian's Agora lies along the second section of the main street. An inscription written in honor of the emperor was found above one of the two gates that faced the street. At the far end is a late period agora connected with the south harbour.
The Monumental Gate of Hadrian bears an inscription in honor of this emperor. Located at the end of the main street, the gate opens onto a beautiful sea and mountain scenery.

One the east side of the main street are:

The Bath (late period 3-4th century) whose brick foundations which provided heat, can still be seen. A little further, lining the main street, are the Public Toilet which were covered with mosaics.
The Roman Theatre, located above the bath, replaced an earlier Hellenistic theatre and had a seating capacity of 1,500 - 2,000 spectators. It overlooks the city and the sea.
The Acropolis, covered with a thick vegetation, is located above the theatre. According to ancient writers, here stood the Temple of Athena where Achilles' broken spear was exhibited, and which is said to be the first place Alexander the Great visited upon his arrival in the city. However the temple has not been yet localized. Other temples, a palace and official buildings were also built on this site.