Anavarza - Anazarbos Ancient City

Anavarza - Anazarbos Ancient City

Anavarza, situated in the Cilician region of Kozan, Turkey, is an ancient city with a unique location atop a hill that gives it the appearance of an island. The city is situated 8 km north of the point where the Sunbas stream meets the Ceyhan river.

Anavarza's early history is somewhat enigmatic prior to the Roman imperial period, but Emperor Augustus visited the city in 19 AD, marking the beginning of its association with the name "Caesarea next to Anazarbus." The origin of the name Anazarbus is thought to stem from a towering 200-meter column of rock that is one of the most remarkable natural features in the Çukurova plain. It is possible that the name may have evolved from an older term, Na-barza, from Old Persian meaning "Invincible."

Anavarza - Anazarbos Ancient City

Anazarbos reached the pinnacle of its prosperity in the mid-2nd century AD. Following the end of civil war in the Roman Empire at the close of that century, cities such as Cilica Pedias (East Cilicia) were utilized as quarters for Roman armies during their campaigns against the Parths. Consequently, Anazarbos became a city that occasionally provided logistical support to Roman troops during their battles against the Parths.

During the first two centuries AD, Anazarbos flourished, and it became the most significant city in its region. This growth was exemplified by the construction of new architectural projects in the first half of the 3rd century AD, which included monumental buildings and appearances by prominent emperors.

Anazarbos was struck by earthquakes in both 525 and 561, but was rebuilt by the emperors of the period, Justinius and Justinianus. In the 7th-8th centuries, the city was invaded by Arabs, and changed hands between the Byzantines and the Arabs for several successive centuries. The Arab occupation ended in 964, when Nikephoros Phokas recaptured it, returning Anazarbos to Byzantine rule.

In the 11th century, Armenians migrated to the Cilicia Plain, fleeing battles with Alparslan. In 1375, after the Memluks had taken control of the area, Turks began to settle there.

The Ancient City of Anazarbos is known as the birthplace of Dioskurides, the world-renowned pharmacologist who served in the Roman army during Emperor Nero's reign. His monumental work, De Materia Medica, detailed 1000 medicines and their 4740 possible uses, and is still studied in medical classes centuries after its writing. Dioskurides was recognized for his significant and enduring contributions to human knowledge as a "Father of Pharmacology." His book has been translated into Arabic, Syrian, Hebrew, Persian, Spanish, Greek, German, and English.

Anazarbos Ancient City, also known as Anavarza Ancient City, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2014.