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Aspendos, an ancient greek city in Asia Minor (Modern day Turkey), is known for its best-preserved theater of antiquity with seating for 15000. Still used today, the theater's galleries, stage decorations and acoustics all testify to the architect's success. Nearby stand the remains of a basilica, agora and one of the largest Roman aqueducts in Anatolia.

According to a legend it was a colony of Argos. Aspendos is close to the region of the Battle of Eurymedon where the Greeks, led by Cimon of Athens, defeated the Persians at two separate battles on the same day.

Getting there

After passing Serik on the Antalya-Alanya highway, you turn north and continue for 4 km.

Roman Theater, Click image to enlarge

History

The town dates back to the 5th century BC. The theater which was built in the 2nd century A.D. was periodically repaired by the Seljuks who used it as a caravansaray. It is one of the best preserved theaters to be found today. Allowing 0.50 m. per seat, the theater holds 7000 spectators, with an additional 500 in the orchestra. Today it is used for concerts, festivals and grease wrestling events. In addition to the theater the agora, basilica, nymphaeum and 15 km of aqueducts are to be seen.

Aspendos was built by the famous Aspendosian architect Zenon, in Marcus Aurelius’time. In order to keep with Hellenistic traditions, a small part of the theater was built so that it leaned against the hill where the Citadel (Acropolis) stood, while almost all other parts were built on vaulted arches. The high stage served to seemingly isolate the audience from the rest of the world. The very top section of this stage has been repaired and the acoustics were ameliorated with later additions.


Roman Aquaduct

Web Links

Encyclopaedia of Turkey: Aspendos article

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