Aphrodisias Ancient City

Aphrodisias Ancient City

Aphrodisias, an ancient city dedicated to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty and love, is located in Karacasu district of Aydin. Aphrodisias was first discovered by the famous Turkish photographer and journalist, Ara Guler, in 1958 when he took photographs of the newly built dam.

During the Hellenistic and Roman periods, this small city was a major source of marble. The stone would be quarried from nearby hills and was exported for use in the building of temples, statues and other structures throughout the ancient world. The marble statues, which came to life in Aphrodisias - an art centre with one of the most famous sculpture schools among the Romans - can be seen today inside museum in the ancient city. One interesting fact about these sculptures is that they bear signatures that can still be seen today on statues from all over Europe and as far as Egypt.

Aphrodisias Ancient City

Excavations in the city's 78-foot tall theatre hill have found layers of settlement dating back to the Bronze Age, around 2,800 - 2,200 BC. It was founded in 5 BC and prospered during Rome's rule (100 BC to 400 AD). During the Byzantine period, it was the first seat of an archbishopric and then of the metropolitan of Caria. After Christianity became the dominant religion in the area, the name of the city was called as Stavropolis, meaning "the city of the Cross". As the capital of Caria, Aphrodisias became known as Geyre in Turkish. Later during the 13th century, it was abandoned and buried by a series of earthquakes.

The Turkish professor, Dr. Kenan Erim, from New York University received a grant from National Geographic to excavate the site in the 1960's. His excavation revealed a city full of historical significance. It was almost lost until his excavation revealed that it was actually one of the most important cities in Turkey with vast historical importance.

There are a large number of ruins in Aphrodisias, many so well preserved that it is possible to trek through the streets where people walked over two thousand years ago. The Temple of Aphrodite was converted to a Christian basilica and serves as an excellent example for its preservation; you can walk right in and explore this ancient site.

The Tetrapylon, the monumental gate to the ancient city's main temple, was re-erected by Kenan Erim.

The Baths of Hadrian are still partially standing. The city of Aphrodisias has one the best preserved theaters and stadiums in the eastern Mediterranean. The museum inside the ancient city offers very beautiful statues and portrait sculptures.

Aphrodisias lies just over an hour and a half from Pamukkale, and around two hours from Ephesus. The town offers several options in small restaurants where you can enjoy traditional local dishes made with quality home-grown olive oil if driving through the area or on your way to the site respectively.

In 2017, the Aphrodisias archaeological site was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List.