Almost A Century Old Engagement: 75th year at Side Excavations

Side, one of the districts of Antalya that stands out not only with its sea and natural beauties but also with its historical texture, fascinates with its ancient history. Its ancient city makes Side, which is described as an open-air museum bearing the traces of ancient civilizations, a center of attraction for those who are into history and the past.




Side excavations, which were initiated in 1947 under the leadership of Dist. Prof. Dr. Arif Mufid Mansel, stepped into their 75th year by 2022. The excavation, conservation and restoration works, initiated during the period of Prof. Dr. Mansel, were assumed and carried on successfully by Prof. Dr. Jale Inan after the death of Mansel in 1974.  




Excavation, documentation, arrangement and restoration works in and around the theater building, one of the most important and greatest structures in the Ancient City of Side, were initiated in 1982 by Dr. Ulku Izmirligil and his team, on behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and continued until 2008. During the period of Dr. Izmirligil, extensive works were carried out especially in the Water Channels in Side. The Ancient City of Side was excavated inch by inch and unearthed by those who stood out not only with their knowledge and experience in the field of archeology but also with their passion for their profession.


In 2009, the mission of introduction of the Ancient City of Side to the modern age was handed over to Prof. Dr. Huseyin Sabri Alanyali. Experienced scientist Prof. Dr. Alanyali undertook successful excavation, conservation and restoration works in this great ancient city, the history of which stretches back to the Hittites, and which added a brand value to Side, on behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Anadolu University until 2018.



The excavations in the Ancient City of Side have been carried out by Prof. Dr. Feristah Alanyali since 2019. The facade restoration of South Stoa was completed in 2021.  Excavations in and around the Bath-Gymnasium complex are still in progress, under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Feristah Alanyali.





The Most Valuable Legacy To Be Bequeathed To Future Generations: Ancient City of Side

The site grade of Koy Ici Mevkii, which was Grade I Archaeological Site, was changed to Urban and Grade III Archaeological Site in 2014. Excavation works in this area were carried out by the Directorate of Side Museum from 2014 to 2020, and have been carried out by Side Excavation Office since 2020.



With the systematic excavations in the Ancient City of Side, various structures, such as the Temple of Serapis, Sanctuary of Aphrodite, Sanctuary of Athena and Apollo, Streets and Stoas, Pretorium, Port Agora, Synagogue and houses were unearthed, restored with due diligence and bequeathed to the future generations.




The excavations have been giving the Ancient City of Side, which consists of numerous structures such as the Temples of Apollon, Athena and Dionysus, Agora, Theater, Street C, Houses, Arc serving as a second city gate, Monument of Vespasianus, Big Bath, Bouleuterion, Wall of Attius Philippus, its essence and identity back over time. Adding a global value not only to Side and Antalya but also to Turkey, the Ancient City of Side is an important and fascinating historical destination that can be visited not only in summer but all year round.


Side, the most beautiful destination where the sunset, beaches with fine sand and tranquil and shallow sea meet, continues to fascinate the vacationers not only for its touristic appeal but also for its historical texture and cultural richness.    


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  • Ralph K. Williams
  • 12-05-2022

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