Perge, Aspendos, Side, Kursunlu Waterfalls
You will be picked up at around 07:30 for your full day guided tour. You will begin with the ancient city of Perge, where you will visit the ruins of a colossal theatre, stadium and huge Hellenistic and Roman gates, continuing on to Aspendos, where the most well preserved Roman theatre is located and then, finally, on to Side, which is a small village on the seaside that is filled with classical Greek and Roman ruins and which is known famously for the remaining columns of its Temple of Apollo that are set at the sea’s shore. You will also visit the waterfall and pleasant natural setting at Kursunlu. It is interesting to note that Alexander The Great visited these ancient cities in 333 BC. Lunch will be served at an appropriate time during the tour and you will be returned to your Antalya hotel after the tour has concluded.
Perge was settled by the Hittites around 1500 B.C. Set a bit inland, the navigable Kestros River allowed Perge the benefits of a port city. An important trade route starting from Side runs through Perge. Exploring the ruins, one begins to understand the importance that the city held in ancient times. The theater is quite large and interesting in that its stage has marble that has been carved in relief in depiction of the life of Dionysus. There are ruins also of the stadium, an agora surrounded by Corinthian columns in the middle of which sits a round 2nd century Temple of Tyche, a Roman Bath in the southern part of the city and Hellenistic gates which later were converted into a court of honor by Plancia Magna. Perge is known to have been visited by St. Paul and his companion, Barnabas, in 46 A.D. (Acts 14:25) and it is believed that Paul preached his first sermon here. From the early Christian period remain ruins of the first church built in Perge as well as of a three entranced basilica.
Aspendos is well known for its capacious and well preserved theater, built in 155 AD by Xenon, the famous Greek architect, during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Still used today for performances and festivals, the theater’s galleries, stage decorations and acoustics all testify to its Xenon’s success. Next to the stage there is a small room which is used as a museum and where you may see some of the masks and clay tickets that have survived the centuries. Nearby stand the remains of a basilica, agora and one of the largest aqueducts in Anatolia. Here you can visit also the acropolis of the city and take in a nice view of the surroundings.
Side was the easternmost city of historical Pamphylia. Situated on a peninsula about 1000 m long and 400 m. wide, its main purpose was as a port and as such it was one of the most important trade centers of antiquity. Today, it is one of the more popular holiday resort locations in Turkey. According to Strabon, the ancient geographer, Side was first established in the 7th century BC as a trade colony of the Aegean city, Kyme. As were the other Pamphylian cities, Side was ruled in the 6th century BC by the Lydians and by the Persians after 547 B.C. Alexander the Great conquered Side in the first year of his campaign in Asia, 334 BC, thus introducing Hellenistic culture.
Kursunlu Waterfall: The Kursunlu is a waterfall which gushes water from Taurus Mountain snowmelt in the spring and early summer. It is located 19 km from Antalya at the end of a 7 km road branching off to the north of the Antalya-Serik-Alanya highway at a point 12 km from Antalya. The waterfall is on one of the tributaries of the Aksu River and its situation in the midst of a pine forest is of quite exceptional beauty. The countryside around the water forms a lovely picnic and pleasure spot only twenty minutes from the center of the city of Antalya.