The greco-roman remains of Aspendos ancient city are situated in Pamphylia, approximately 40 km east of Antalya, on the Eurymedon river. The city was 16 km away from the Mediterranean coast. The main reason for most of the tourists to visit Aspendos is its Roman theatre which is the best preserved structure of its kind in the world. The additional attraction of Aspendos lies in the possibility of participation in many artistic events organised in the theatre.
Aspendos is more than just a theatre, there are also the ruins of many other structures, including a stadium, a basilica and an agora. Moreover, the local aqueduct is well-preserved. One of two starting points for the St. Paul's walking trail starts in Aspendos, while the second one is situated in Perge.
One of the best-preserved fragments of Roman aqueduct in Turkey are situated in Aspendos. The water was supplied to the city from two sources in the mountains, approximately 17 km to the north of Aspendos. The water supply system consisted of a canal, bridges and tunnels.
The higher of the two, The Green Canyon Lake, also known as The Oymapinar Baraji, was completed in 1987 and is located in a steep rugged valley with it’s dam built across the narrowest point. The damming of the river created a lake 4 kilometers long, set between steep and rugged mountainsides.
After you arrive the face of the dam, a hairpin road takes you up to the water level and the lake itself. There are a number of restaurants around the steep shoreline and a trip on the water in a tourist motor boat is well worth the effort.
The remains of a stadium from the 2nd century AD are situated on the eastern slope of the acropolis hill in Aspendos. The stadium is U-shaped and its dimensions are 220 meters in lenght and 30 meters in width. Not much is preserved of this structure. Its north-eastern section is in the best condition and there one can see the fragments of seats and some arches that supported the whole construction. It is estimated that 8 thousand spectators could be seated in this stadium.
Three city gates have been preserved until the present times in the area of Aspendos acropolis, among them the southern gate is in the best condition. Additionally, an arch over the road that led from the eastern gate to the agora is still standing. Before this arch the road broadens thus creating a small square. Around it the bases where some statues used to stand are visible. The alley is intersected by the canal that transported the sewage from the acropolis.
The main square of Aspendos had trading and political functions. It is situated in the middle of the acropolis and is surrounded by public city buildings, among them: a basilica, a nymphaeum, a bouleuterion, a market hall and an exedra. The shape of this agora is irregular and results from the topographical features of the hill.
The only surviving part of a nymphaeum in Aspendos is its facade that resembles the nymphaeum in Side. The facade is two-tiered and each tier has five niches. The water, supplied by the piping system to the building, flowed from its middle niches.
The height of the facade is 15 meters and its width - 32 meters. Above the lower row of niches some fragments of richly decorated beams have survived. In the past the facase was also decorated by a Ionic collonade. The nymphaeum was built in the 2nd or the 3rd century AD.
This basilica was one of the most important public city building. The eastern part of this building, which survived in excellent condition to the present day, was used as a political venue and a court. The size of this rectangular meeting hall is 20 by 25 meters.
Inside three wall niches, where the statues were placed, are visible. The statues of emperor Hardian and a woman, found in this hall, are currently on display in Archaeological Museum in Antalya. The western section of the basilica was used for commercial purposes. It was 105 meters long and divided into a central hall and two naves. Only foundations of this section are in evidence today.
To enter Aspensos ruins it is necessary to buy a ticket. In 2015 the price of a normal ticket is 20 TL. The ticket allows the entrance to the theatre and the acropolis hill. The access to the aqueduct and baths-gymnasium ruins is free of charge. There is a museum shop is Aspendos that sells souvenirs and books.
In front of the theatre there is a large, unshaded parking place, which is additionally charged. It is also possible to park a car a little bit further from the main ruins, nearby the gymnasium free of charge.