Theatre and scenery at Termessos

High in the Taurus mountains, at 34 km northeast of Antalya, lies the ancient Pisidian city of Termessos, one of Turkey's prime archaeological attractions.

Historical Background

The inhabitants of Termessos were Pisidians, the same warlike tribe of Anatolian origin that also settled Sagalassos in the Lake District during the first millennium BC. They originally named themselves Solymians after Sollymus, the nearby mountain (today's Güllük Dağ). The Solymians are mentioned in the ancient myth of Bellerophon and Pegasus when Bellerophon is sent to fight them after having defeated the Chimaera. They made their entrance in actual history when Alexander the Great attacked the city in 333 BC and was repelled. Even the Romans accepted Termessos as an independent city and in 70 BCE they signed a treaty of friendship with Termessos.

The city was probably abandoned due to earthquake damage in 243 CE. It has only been surveyed, never been excavated.

Sights & Photos of Termessos

Termessos is spectacularly located in the Güllük Mountains National Park (Güllük Dağı Milli Parkı). 

At the car park of the Termessos archaeological site, there is the elegant entrance to the Hadrian-Artemis temple. From the parking lot, a rough path, the King's Road, leads upwards to the lower city walls. After a short climb, one reaches the upper city defences, the ruins of a gymnasium and the theatre in its spectacular setting.

The splendid location, the spectacular scenery, and the solitude make some people call Termessos the Macchu Picchu of Turkey.

View the embedded image gallery online at:

Travel Information & Travel Tips

From the car park, it is a, sometimes steep, climb of about 9 km and it takes at least 2 hours to visit the site, but the scenery makes it all worthwhile.
Orientation at Termessos can be a problem, as signs are sometimes misleading and the remains are scattered around. At my first visit in 2004, I myself missed the famous theatre.

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