Side is located on a small peninsula, 80 kilometers/ 50 miles to the east of Antalya. It was one of the most important cities in the vast coastal plain known in Antiquity as Pamphylia.
Side is an ancient harbour that was founded in the 7th century BC by Aeolian colonists who had come from the north of Smyrna. The name Side, which means "pomegranate", is thought to have been the symbol of the city because it was represented on the local coins. Before and after the Hellenistic period, taking advantage of the natural location of their city built on a long peninsula, the inhabitants of Side were indulged in the practices of piracy which were more remunerative than shipbuilding activities. The place was also long reputed as a slave market. In the 3rd century BC, Side came under the domination of the Ptolemy of Egypt and Seleucids of Syria. From the 2nd and 1st century BC, due to its good relations with Rome, Side, now devoted to trade, enjoyed a first period of prosperity. After the establishment of the "Pax Romana" (Roman Peace), between the 2nd-3rd century AD, Side reached its peak as can be seen through the numerous monuments built at that period. In the 4th century, the city declined altogether with the Empire. However in the 5th century, under the Byzantines, it prospered again as a bishopric. Later ruined by earthquakes and raids, the site was completely abandoned. A massive settlement took place in 1895 when Turkish immigrants from Crete settled here.
Today Side has become a charming holiday resort, thanks to the picturesque village of fishermen located among the archaeoligical remains, to the beautiful sandbeaches and holiday resorts of Sorgun and Titriyen Göl located in the east of Side, and also to the villages of Kumköy and Kamelya in the west.

The archaeological site of Side includes:

The City Walls and the Main Gate from where two colonaded streets, once lined with Corinthian colums, led to the agora and to the south of the city.

The Great Baths are the largest in the ancient city. They were originally built in the 3rd century AD and restored in the 5-6th century AD. Its southeastern side was lined by two rows of shops.

The Baths of the Agora
today houses the Archaeological Museum. The past glory of Side is reflected in the rich archaeological collections displayed. The original entrance to the baths was from the market place to the west. An aqueduct supplied the city and baths with water coming from the ancient Melas River (see below Manavgat Çayi).

The Agora
, center of cultural and commercial activities. Here the prisoners captured by the pirates were sold as slaves.

The Monumental Gate and the Fountain at the entrance of the theatre.

The Theatre
with the sea for background, is the most imposing monument of Side and one of the largest Graeco-Roman ruins in Asia Minor. It was rebuilt in the 2nd century AD upon a smaller Hellenistic theatre. Because there is no hillside, the lower level of the theatre leans against a small natural slope while the upper level rests on high vaults making it a unique construction in Eastern Mediterranean. The theatre had a seating capacity of 15,000 spectators. The orchestra was later protected by a 1.50m / 5 feet wall when gladiator and wild animal fights took place in the late Roman period. The skene was a three-storey stage building with rich marble decorations. The theatre was converted into an open-air church in the 5th and 6th centuries.
The architectural elements including the podiium of a pseudodipteral temple have been attributed to the Temple of Dionysos due to its proximity to the theatre (south-west side).

The Temples of Apollo and Athena are beautifully situated near the sea. According to inscriptions, coins and other evidences, these two structures, that once protected the harbour and shipping, were almost identical. The peripteral temples, erected in the late 2nd century AD, had Corinthian columns, 6 to front and rear, 11 to each side. In the 5th century, a large Byzantine Basilica, whose remains can be seen, was constructed surrounding the temples.

Sandy beach of Side

Monumental Gate and Fountain

Temple of Apollo and remains of the Byzantine Church

Temple of Apollo


The Great Baths
Sculpted pediment

The bath complex next to the agora houses the museum

Sarcophagi from different Roman periods displayed in the museum

Statue of Hercules (in Greek, Heracles)

Statue of Hermes, son of Zeus and Maia


The waterfalls that stretch over 50 m / 165 feet, are supplied by the Manavgat river (ancient Melas River) that flows from the Taurus Mountains, and on which the Oymapinar and Manavgat dams are built. It is possible to take a boat ride downstream from the falls.



Alanya, the last important holiday resort on the Turkish Riviera, is located in a beautiful bay overlooked by the Taurus Mountains and surrounded by banana, orange and lemon tree plantations.
Every year in August, folkloric events take place in Alanya.The Alanya International Triathlon Competition takes place every year in October.

The ancient city of Coracesium, which was an old pirates'den in the 2C BC, was destroyed by Pompey in 67 AD. Mark Antony, charmed by the site, offered the city to Cleopatra as a wedding gift. The Seljuk Turks conquired the place in 1221 and Alaeddin Keykubat, the greatest Seljuk sovereign, gave it its medieval aspect. Alanya was also the winter residence of Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat.
Ferries link Alanya to Girne / Northern Cyprus.

Places of interest:

The Fortress can be reached through a road that snakes among gardens in flower and colored houses. It is built 117 m / 384 feet above the sea, and is surrounded by walls running on 6 km / 3.75 miles. The remains of cisterns, an old palace, a yard decorated with frescoes and military constructions, are located in the upper part of the fortress. Also there is the St George Church which is a 6C Byzantine building, and the "edge" where condemned prisoners were hurled over the cliff.

Sultan Aksebe Tomb (türbe) and the Süleymaniye Mosque
(also of Seljuk origins but transformed by the Ottomans), as well as a caravanserai are located in the lower part.

The Port and Naval Dockyard

The Red Tower (Kizil Kule) is a 33 m / 108 ft high octogonal tower made of red brick which defended the naval dockyard.

Damlatas Caves

In the surroudings of Alanya it is possible to visit caves. The most interesting are the Damlatas Caves which have huge stalactites and stalagmites. The other caves are Kizlar Magarasi, Asiklar and Fosforlu. Located 15 km / 9.3 miles away from Alanya, Dim Valley is also an ideal place to make a refreshing excursion (streams and beach).



On this part of the Mediterranean coast, there are lots of medieval fortresses. The most interesting one is the Mamure Castle (Mamure Kalesi) located 7 km / 4.3 miles southeast of Anamur. The first fortress, which was built by the Romans in the 3C AD, was used by the Byzantines and the Armenians, and was later enlarged by the Crusaders. In 1221 Seljuk Sultan Aleaddin Keykubat took control of the place . The castle was entirely rebuilt by Mahmut Bey, the Karamano?lu Emir of Karaman, with a mosque and hammam. The castle finally came under the rule of the Ottomans who strenghtened it.
The castle has 39 towers and is composed of three courtyards. While one half of it is surrounded by the sea, the other half is surrounded by a ditch.

The remains of a Hellenistico-Roman city, Anamurium, stand on the most southern cape of Anatolia.

Anamur Mamure Castle

The region is reputed for its small bananas. Between Alanya and Anamur the road is lined with terraced banana plantations.


Ancient Seleucia is located on the right bank of the Calycadnos river (Göksu), in the waters of which Emperor Frederik I Barbarossa drowned in 1190, during the Third Crusade.
Silifke is reputed for its costumes and folkloric dances. The International Silifke Music and Folklore Festival takes place every year in May.
Silifke is also reputed for its delicious yogurt.

The places of interest in Silifke are the ancient Roman bridge, the medieval castle, the ruins of the ancient city and the museum where findings made in the regions are displayed.

A mountain road leads hinterland to Uzuncaburç where is located the magnificent ancient site of Diocaesarea at an altitude of 1,200 m / 4,000 ft. This site, originally a sanctuary dedicated to the cult of Zeus, was separated by the Romans from the Hellenistic city of Olba. It was given a city state status and the new name Diocaesarea in 72 AD.
The remains of the impressive Temple of Zeus Olbius (3C BC), Temple of Tyche, monumental arch, theate, colonnaded street, Byzantine church, and tower can be seen. The Necropolis, with rock-cut tombs carved in both sides of a small valley, was used in both Hellenistic and Roman times.
Not very far are the ruins of Olba (Ura) where the remains of a Roman aqueduct, a theater, and a fountain can be seen.


On the coast, at Meryemlik (Ayatekla) is a Roman necropolis with a 5th century church and the Tomb of Saint Tekla, who was the first martyred woman.
From Tasucu which is a small holiday resort, there are ferries that connect Turkey to Girne in Northern Cyprus.

The road from Silifke to Mersin is a beautiful coastal road lined with ancient ruins on one side, and with a succession of small gulfs on the other side. The road also runs through pinewoods and orange-tree plantations.

In the vicinity of Pasli village there is a Roman mausoleum called Mezgit Kalesi. This mausoleum has a 8 m / 26.2 ft high facade, Corinthian colums and a 1 m / 3.28 ft high relief representing the god Priapos, and it is known as the Mausoleum of a Fearless King.

Roman Mausoleum