The ancient city of Aspendos is located around 50km (30 miles) from Antalya, accessible by bus, tours or taxi. If you’re on holiday in the area, it’s well worth visiting this site – home to the best-preserved amphitheatre in the world. Read on for a short guide to the Aspendos city and theatre.
Read on below the booking information for more, including some 360VR images.
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Getting to Aspendos from Antalya
Unlike most trips I’ve made in this area, this time it was way too far to walk and, given Coronavirus, I figured taking a taxi would be much easier than messing around with buses. For once, I splurged on a little luxury – not particularly like me but I got a very good deal.
The plan had originally been to just visit Perge but, on talking to a driver, I learned Aspendos is just a short way further in the same direction. Word to the wise – taxis in Antalya should work to a base cost of around 4TL and then cost around 3TL per kilometre. Using this equation, it’s quite easy to work out a deal with drivers.
At time of writing (Oct 2020), to take a taxi to Aspendos stopping past Perge on the way back cost just 350TL (just short of £35 or €37). And considering I could get this including the driver waiting around for me at each site, it seemed a no-brainer. Of course, these costs would drop significantly if a few of you were travelling. My driver was Sertac – you can get him on +90 0533 276 78 88 (that number also works on WhatsApp).
The theatre at Aspendos
The ancient theatre at Aspendos is famed as being the best-preserved example of a Roman/Greek amphitheatre in the world. It is still frequently used today for music and dance performances.
The amphitheatre at Aspendos can hold around 15,000 people – not bad for a site built in 2nd century AD. Aspendos was built under the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. If legend is to be believed, the city at Aspendos was originally founded by Greeks who came to the area following the great war at Troy.
The theatre at Aspendos – a brief guide
The theatre at Aspendos is one of the largest ever built by the Roman Empire in Asia Minor. Located in the lower area of the town, it is the first thing you’ll see as you arrive at the site. For a modest entrance of fee of just 50TL (at time of writing, around €5), you get unlimited access to the full site.
As is common in this part of Turkey, most of the valuable relics from this site were moved and are now housed in the Antalya Museum (definitely worth a visit). Nonetheless, the back wall will still make you marvel in its intricacy and attention to detail.
The semicircular auditorium is split into two vertical sections by a broad central passageway halfway up.
There are 19 tiers and 10 staircases in the lower section of the amphitheatre.
The upper tier of the amphitheatre has 19 tiers and 21 staircases as the seating gradually steepens.
There has clearly been considerable restorative work to bring the seating back to order. Note, the climb gets considerably steeper on the second tier -plus the less sure-of-foot should be careful ascending the open, side-facing staircases.
The city of Aspendos
While most tours simply take in the amphitheatre, Aspendos was once an important trading post and there are city ruins worth seeing, located just above the main theatre. If you have time, take a right as you look at entrance gate and head a short way up the hill. You will soon be rewarded with the city gate and pathway leading to the settlement.
Just beyond the lower town of Aspendos up a 40m hill lies the previous settlement and city acropolis. Within the city walls you will also find the ruins of a temple, the agora and a nymphaeum. Well worth the short walk up. There is also a stadium nearby if you have time.
The Aspendos aqueduct
Perhaps more impressive than even the amphitheatre is the huge Aspendos aqueduct which links far across the valley in the distance.
In days gone by, this massive aqueduct structure would have afforded the citizens an invaluable supply of fresh water from the source, far across the valley. A work of engineering genius.
Cost of travel – It is possible to take a bus from central Antalya but, really, you’d be far better taking a tour or booking a taxi
Cost of site visit – 50TL
Opening hours – 08.00-17.00 winter / 08.00-19.00 summer
Time to view site – To see the full site without rushing, allow two hours
More details – https://muze.gov.tr/muze-detay?SectionId=ASP01&DistId=ASP