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The Ancient Sea Port City of Phaselis

Updated on November 11, 2013
Ancient Theatre at Phaselis
Ancient Theatre at Phaselis | Source


Phaselis is an ancient seaport city that lies within the protected grounds of a resplendent National Park. It is surrounded by three small bays which were used as harbours in ancient times, and that bought prosperity to the town.

A forest road will take you to the ruins of Phaselis, that was founded by Rhode Island colonists in the year 690 BC. Alexander the Great spent time in Phaselis during his battle with the Persians. This was believed to be in the winter of 333 BC. Several hundred years later Phaselis was taken over for a while by Cilician pirates who later set it on fire after their defeat by Rome. In the year 2 AD Phaselis was given a makeover and new statues, buildings, and monuments were built to celebrate Emperor Hadrian's visit. Most of the ruins that remain today date back from around this time.

During the Byzantine times and up until the early 15th century, the harbours of Phaselis began to lose importance as more significance was given to the ports of Alanya and Antalya. Eventually Phaselis became deserted, and fell into disuse.

Tragic author and poet Theodectes, who was a pupil of Socrates and Aristotles, lived in Phaselis.


Phaselis is located between Olimpos and Kemer, around 60 km from the large tourist resort of Antalya. It is an ideal destination for those who like to be close to nature, and you can enjoy a swim in the sea on one of the small but beautiful beaches.

An Ancient Aqueduct

Ruins of the Main Street

The Ruins

The ruins of the ancient city are kept clear of trees and brush, and you get a strong feel of how this was once a thriving and busy city. You can walk down what was the grand Harbour Street passing Roman baths and an agora, An agora was a tree-lined square which was usually surrounded with columned buildings that were used for political and commercial purposes.

A beautiful theatre still exists in surprisingly good condition, that is reached by climbing a flight of wooden stairs.

The facades of ancient houses are still standing, as are the walls of the waterway canals. You can see how the houses were arranged neatly around the agoras where the townsfolk would gather for social and business purposes.

The ruins of Phaselis are quite fascinating, and the experience is made even better by the fact they are located in a beautiful park. There is an entrance fee for the area which covers both the beaches and the ruins: Even if you only want to sit on the beach you will still have to pay the fee, as the beaches are also within the protected area.


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