Kibyra Ancient City

Kibyra Ancient City

Kibyra, situated in the Gölhisar district of Burdur, is known as the "City of Gladiators" and was once a significant center of Lydian and Roman civilization. Nestled amidst juniper and cedar forests at an altitude of 1,100-1,300 meters, this 2,300-year-old city is perched atop a hill that offers panoramic views of its surroundings.

According to records from Strabo, an Amasian traveler, the original inhabitants of Kibyra were Lydians who migrated to the Kabalis region. They eventually settled in a city with a circumference of 100 stadiums. In 2006, archaeological excavations revealed the city's militaristic character, with over 30,000 infantry and more than 2,000 cavalry units. Kibyra is also home to the largest gladiator reliefs from ancient times in Turkey. Thanks to its strategic location, Kibyra served as a regional center for justice, and its reputation as a town known for breeding fast-running horses earned it the nickname "The City of Fast-Running Horses." The city flourished during the Roman period, and all the architectural remnants visible today belong to that era.

Kibyra Ancient City

Kaesarea Kibyra, originally known as Kibyra, was struck by a major earthquake in 23 CE, and as a result, Emperor Tiberius provided amnesty and financial aid for a period of five years. As a gesture of gratitude, the inhabitants of Kibyra changed the name of their city to Kaesarea Kibyra.

Kaesarea Kibyra features rare examples of Roman and Byzantine architecture, including a 9,000-seat stadium and a functional odeon, which houses an orchestra section covered by a unique Medusa mosaic. In 2016, the site was included in the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list, and it boasts historic remnants such as agoras, a main street, a large theater with a capacity of 9,000 people, and underground chamber tombs.

One of the most magnificent structures in Kibyra is the stadium, which is considered one of the top five stadiums of its kind with a 200-meter track and a seating capacity of 12,000 people. Originally intended for sporting events, the arena was later modified to host gladiator battles.

Another notable structure in Kaesarea Kibyra is the ancient theater, which can accommodate 7-8,000 spectators. Its vertical design and proximity to the stage make it a remarkable example of ancient theater design. The original seating arrangement remains fully intact and can be viewed today.

In the ancient city of Kibyra, there is a remarkable structure known as the Odeon. It was used as a concert hall for musical and theatrical performances and could hold up to 3,500 spectators, making it the largest known odeon in the world.

One of the unique features of the Kibyra Odeon is the Mosaic of Medusa. The mosaic, made of marble and dating back to the 1st century, depicts the mythical creature Medusa. The middle of the odeon has been decorated with Medusa's multi-colored head using a technique called "Opus Sectile". It is believed that staring at the Medusa's head could turn anyone to stone.

Another important building in Kibyra is the bath, which is thought to have a history of at least 1800 years. It is the third-largest building in the city after the stadium and odeon, with a total area of 5,400 square meters and a main structure covering 2,600 square meters. The heating system was designed to heat the marbles from the bottom, making it the largest Anatolian bath in terms of area covered.