Aphrodisias Ancient City

Aphrodisias Ancient City

Aphrodisias is an ancient city located in the Karacasu district of Aydin, Turkey, dedicated to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty and love. It was first discovered in 1958 by Ara Guler, a well-known Turkish photographer and journalist, who took photographs of a newly constructed dam in the area.

During the Hellenistic and Roman periods, Aphrodisias was renowned for its marble quarries, which were located in the nearby hills. The marble was exported for use in the construction of temples, statues, and other structures throughout the ancient world. Aphrodisias was also home to a famous sculpture school, and many of the marble statues produced there can still be seen today in the city's museum. Interestingly, these sculptures bear signatures that can still be seen on statues from all over Europe and as far away as Egypt.

Aphrodisias Ancient City

Excavations at the city's theatre hill, which stands 78 feet tall, have revealed layers of settlement dating back to the Bronze Age, around 2,800 - 2,200 BC. The city was founded in 5 BC and flourished during the Roman period, from 100 BC to 400 AD. During the Byzantine period, Aphrodisias was the first seat of an archbishopric and later became the metropolitan of Caria. As Christianity became the dominant religion in the area, the city's name was changed to Stavropolis, meaning "the city of the Cross." Today, it is known as Geyre in Turkish. However, in the 13th century, a series of earthquakes led to the abandonment and burial of the city.

Aphrodisias, a city of great historical significance located in Turkey, was almost lost until the excavation work of Turkish professor Dr. Kenan Erim from New York University. Thanks to a grant from National Geographic in the 1960s, Dr. Erim uncovered a vast array of ruins that revealed Aphrodisias as one of the most important cities in Turkey.

Today, visitors to Aphrodisias can walk through streets that people walked over two thousand years ago, marvel at the preserved Temple of Aphrodite which was converted into a Christian basilica, and explore the Tetrapylon, a monumental gate to the ancient city's main temple that was re-erected by Dr. Erim.

The Baths of Hadrian still stand partially and the city boasts one of the best-preserved theaters and stadiums in the eastern Mediterranean. The museum inside the ancient city also offers stunning statues and portrait sculptures.

Aphrodisias is conveniently located just over an hour and a half from Pamukkale and approximately two hours from Ephesus. The town offers various options for traditional local dishes made with quality home-grown olive oil in small restaurants along the way or near the site.

In recognition of its cultural significance, the Aphrodisias archaeological site was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List in 2017.