Aspendos, located beside the river Eurymedon (Köprüçay), is renowned throughout the world for its magnificent ancient amphitheatre.

Aspendos did not play an important role in antiquity as a political force. Its political history during the colonization period corresponded to the currents of the Pamphylian region. Within this trend, after the colonial period, it remained for a time under Lycian hegemony. In 546 B.C. it came under Persian domination. The face that the city continued to mint coins in its own name, however, indicates that it had a great deal of freedom even under the Persians.

At the end of the road that turns off the Antalya -Alanya highway, we come to the most magnificent, as well as functionally the best resolved and most complete example of a Roman theatre. The building, faithful to the Greek tradition, is partially built into the slope of a hill. Today visitors enter the stage building via a door opened in the facade during a much later period. The original entrances, however, are the vaulted paradoses at both ends of the stage building. The cavea is semicircular in shape and divided in two by a large diazoma. There are 21 tiers of seats above and 20 below. To provide ease of circulation so that the spectators could reach their seats without difficulty, radiating stairways were built, 10 in the lower level starting at the orchestra and 21 in the upper beginning at the diazoma. A wide gallery consisting of 59 arches and thought to have been built at a later date, goes from one end of the upper cavea to the other. From an architectural point of view, the diazoma's vaulted gallery acts as a substructure supporting the upper cavea. As a general rule of protocol, the private boxes above the entrances on both sides of the cavea were reserved for the Imperial family and the vestal virgins. Beginning from the orchestra and going up, the first row of seats belonged to senators, judges, and ambassadors, while the second was reserved for other notables of the city. The remaining sections were open to all the citizens. The women usually sat on the upper rows under the gallery. From the names carved on certain seats in the upper cavea, it is clear that these too were reserved. Although it is impossible to determine the exact seating capacity of the theatre, it is said to have seated between 10,000 and 12,000 people. In recent years, concerts given in the theatre as part of the Antalya Film and Art Festival, have shown that as many as 20,000 spectators can be crowded into the seating area.

Without doubt the Aspendos theatre's most striking component is the stage building. On the lower floor of this two-storey structure, which is built of conglomerate rock, were five doors providing the actors entrance to the stage. The large door at the centre was known as the porta regia, and the two smaller ones on either side as the porta hospitales. The small doors at orchestra level belong to long corridors leading to the areas where the wild animals were kept. From surviving fragments it appears that sculptural works were placed in niches and aedicula under triangular and semicircular pediments.

In the pediment at the centre of the colonnaded upper floor is a relief of Dionysos, the god of wine and the founder and patron of theatres. Red zigzag motifs against white plaster, visible on some portions of the stage building, date to the Seljuk period. The top of the stage building is covered with a highly ornamented wooden roof.

The theatre at Aspendos is also famous for its magnificent accoustics. Even the sligtest sound made at the centre of the orchestra can be easily hear as far as the uppermost galleries. Anatolia's patricians, who lived in the midst of a rich cultural heritage, created stories connected with the cities and monuments around them. One of these tales which has been passed down from generation to generation is about Aspendos' theatre. The king of Aspendos proclaimed that he would hold a contest to see what man could render the greatest service to the city; the winner would marry the king's daughter. Hearing this, the artisans of the city began to work at high speed. At last, when the day of the decision came and the king had examined all their efforts one by one, he designated two candidates. The first of them had succeeded in setting up a system that enabled water to be brought to the city from great distances via aqueducts. The second built the theatre. Just as the king was on the point of deciding in favour of the first candidate, he was asked to have one more look at the theatre. While he was wandering about in the upper galleries, a deep voice from an unknown source out saying again and again, "The king's daughter must be given to me" . In astonishment the king looked around for the owner of the voice but could find no one. It was, of course, the architect himself, proud of the accoustical masterpiece he had created, who was speaking in a low voice from the stage. In the end, it was the architect who won the beautiful girl and the wedding ceremony took place in the theatre.

Perge, one of Pamphylia's foremost cities, was founded on a wide plain between two hills 4 km. west of the Kestros (Aksu) river.

According to Strabo, the city was founded after the Trojan War by colonists from Argos under the leadership of heroes named Mopsos and Calchas. Linguistic research confirms that Achaeans entered Pamphylia toward the end of the second millennium B.C. ın addition to these studies, inscriptions dating to 120-121 A.D., discovered in the 1953 excavations in the courtyard of Perge's Hellenistic city gate, provide further testimony to this colonization; inscriptions on statue bases mention the names of seven heroes-Mopsos, Calchas, Riksos, Labos, Machaon, Leonteus, and Minyasas, the legendary founders of the city.

There is no further record of Perge in written sources until the middle of the fourth century. There can be no doubt, however, that Perge was also under Persian rule until the arrival of Alexander the Great.

Perge, transformed by artisans into a city of marble, was truly magnificent, with a faultless layout that would have been the envy of modern city planners. In order to fully appreciate its grandeur today, one must visit the Antalya Museum to see the hundreds of sculptures from Perge now housed there.

Among the famous men raised in this city can be cited the physician Asklepiades, the sophist Varus, and the mathematician Apollonios.

Perge has been under excavation by Turkish archaeologists since 1946.

About 35 km. along the Antalya-Alanya highway, you turn north and continue 8 km. until Silyon is reached. It was built on an ellipse-shaped table-like plateau rising above the flat plain. Due to its location the surrounding areas can easily be seen, and in fact the view stretches as far as the Mediterranean. It was settled in the 4th century B.C. and it lived not only through the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods, but was also used by the Seljuks who also added buildings and increased its wealth. Some of its interesting sights are the stadium, gymnasium, turrets, Seljuk mosque, the theater whose proscenium is buried under rocks, and the sports arena

This Pamphylian town, located between Perge and Aspendos, is situated on top of a flat-topped hill with almost vertical flanks. With its unusual physical formation, the hill is easily recognizable even from a distance. Strabo mentions in his writings that the city, some 40 stad or 7.2 km, inland, was visible from Perge.

It is generally accepted that Sillyon, like other cities in Pamphylia, was founded after the Trojan War by the heroes Mopsos and Calchas. A statue base found in Sillyon bears Mopsos' name.

Sillyon began to mint coinage in its own name in the third century B.C. On these coins the name of the city was written as Sylviys, which must have been changed to Sillyon in the Roman era.

There could not have been enough springs in the area to ensure an adequate water supply, since it is clear that importance was given to the construction of covered and open cisterns from the Hellenistic period onward.

Side, ancient Pamphylia's largest port, is situated on a small peninsula extending north-south into the sea.

Strabo and Arrianos both record that Side was settled from Kyme, city in Aeolia, a region of western Anatolia. Most probably, this colonization occurred in the seventh century B.C. According to Arrianos, when settlers from Kyme came to Side, they could not understand the dialect. After a short while, the influence of this indigenous tongue was so great that the newcomers forgot their native Greek and started using the language of Side. Excavations have revealed several inscriptions written in this language. The inscriptions, dating from the third and second centuries B.C., remain undeciphered, but testify that the local language was still use several centuries after colonization. Another object found in Side excavations, a basalt column base from the seventh century B.C. and attributable to the Neo Hittites, provides other evidence of the site's early history. The word "side" is Anatolian in origin and means pomegranate.

The main street starts from this north-eastern gate and stretches all the way to the peninsula's western tip in an almost completely straight line. Along this street lay the city's principal official buildings and its squares. Excavations have revealed a perfectly planned sewer system. This system, covered with vaults, lay under the main street as well as the smaller streets.

Outside the city wall and opposite the main gate lies the nymphaeum, a monumental fountain consisting of a richly ornamented facade with three niches and with a fountain in front. Piped-in water used to flow from spouts in the middle of these niches.

The agora, the city's centre of commercial and cultural activity, lay along an arcaded street. It can be entered today from immediately opposite the museum. This square space was surrounded on all four sides by porticoes. Rows of stores can still be observed running behind the north-east and north-west porticoes. An interesting vaulted building lies in the agora's south-west corner adjacent to the theatre, this served as the city's latrium or public toilets and is the most highly ornamented and best preserved example in Anatolia. Sewers carried away the waste from this establishment, which had a 24-toilet capacity, while in front of the building ran a channel carrying only purified water.

In the middle of the agora lay a circular temple dedicated to Tyche (Fortune). All that is left today is the podium of this structure, but originally twelve columns ran around its exterior and the temple was topped by a pyramidal roof.

This agora was linked to a second, state agora by a street running along its southern edge. This agora, too, was square in plan and was enclosed by porticoes of lonic columns. It is believed that the high platform in the middle of the agora was used for the display and sale of slaves. Behind the eastern portico lay a large ornamented three-chambered building which, due to its architectural peculiarities, is thought to have been either an imperial palace or a library. From extant remains it can be ascertained that the building was originally two storeys and richly adorned with statues. Aside from a statue of Nemesis, which has been left in place to recall the original decorative style, all the statues found during excavation have been removed to the Side Museum.

The agora bathhouse, today used as the museum, is a five-room Byzantine structure dating to the fifth century A.D. It is entered through two arched doorways. The first room, possessing a small cold water pool, was the frigidarium. From here one passes to a stone-domed sweating room or lokonicum. The third and largest of the structure's rooms is the hot room or caldarium. The bath's heating system ran beneath the marble flooring. From the caldarium one can enter the two-room tepidarium or washing area through a narrow door. In front of the bath was a palaestra with a porticoed courtyard where men could excercise before bathing.

Next to the triumphal arch, which at a late date was used a city gate, lies a beautiful monument, partially restored in recent years. This monument consists of a niche between two aedicules and, according to an inscription found in the architrave, was built in 74 A.D. in memory of the Emperor Vespasion and his son Titus. During the construction of the late period city wall in the fourth century A.D., this monument was brought here from elsewhere in the city and turned into a fountain.

The theatre is the only extant example of its plan and construction type to be fount in Anatolia. It was erected in the second century A.D. on Hellenistic foundations. Because Side is virtually flat, the theatre's upper banks had to be built into the only natural rise available, which is not very steep, while the lower banks of seats overlay an arched substructure. Twenty nine seating levels can be counted below the 3.30 metre-wide diazoma, which divides the cavea in two. In the upper section only twenty two of the original twenty nine rows survive. Thus, this was Pamphylia's largest theatre and had a seating capacity of 16-17.000 people. In the outside gallery of the lower section, staircases rose to the diazoma. From interior galleries, staircases ascended to the theatre's upper section. The galleries' two ends probably contained paradoses, enabling them to be used as entrances for theatre staff and actors.