The increasing popularity of Turkish gulet cruises means that more and more people are discovering the delights of southern Turkey. Amongst these, the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Aspendos are a short ride from the coast, and provide a portrait of a fascinating era. If you come as far as Antalya on one of the Turkish gulet cruises then you will find Aspendos about an hour’s drive to the east.
History and Trade
Aspendos was an ancient city built in the province of Pamphylia, on the Eurymedon river, and shared a border with the city of Side, always a rival for the dominant settlement in the region. Founded around 1000 BC by a predominantly Greek population, Aspendos soon became one of the most important cities in Pamphylia due to its location for trade, specifically in commodities such as salt, olive oil, and wool.
Theft and Preservation
The citizens were forced to pay Alexander the Great a huge amount of tribute after having reneged on their promise to surrender. Under the Roman Republic, a notorious governor, Verres, plundered the city making off with a great many of the artworks. Despite the strife in the city’s past, the preservation of the ruins ensures that visitors on their Turkish gulet cruises are guaranteed to be impressed.
Sound and Spectacle
Visitors who stop off in Aspendos on their Turkish gulet cruises are often drawn to the marvellously-preserved theatre. Built during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, by the Greek architect Zeno, the theatre has a diameter of 96 metres and is recognised as the best-preserved ancient theatre in the country, perhaps the best preserved Roman theatre in the world. With its excellent acoustics, even at a low volume voices on the stage can be easily heard in the upper seats. Today it is still used, as the epic venue for a seasonal opera and ballet festival.
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