Ancient City of Side: Outcomes of 2023 and Goals for 2024

The excavation works are ongoing at full steam ahead in the Ancient City of Side, putting a different complexion on the Ancient City of Side. For our esteemed Barut Blog readers, the Professor Feristah Alanyali, the Excavation Site Director at the Ancient City of Side who has dedicated her efforts and energy fully to Side, told about what was accomplished until 2022, how busy 2023 was and why such a schedule was developed, and what kind of developments are waiting for the visitors in 2024.

Please click this link to watch the interview done by Birgul Akgul, the Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager at Barut Hotels, with the Professor Feristah Alanyali, the Excavation Site Director at the Ancient City of Side, about what has been accomplished in 2023 and what is planned to be accomplished in 2024 in the Ancient City of Side.  

Regarding what has been accomplished in 2023, Professor Feristah Alanyali, the Excavation Site Director at the Ancient City of Side, told: “In 2023, the most noteworthy efforts were made in the Street B. It is a monumental, colonnaded street lined with stoas on both sides. There is a water channel on the left side of the street. In 2023, we have replaced the missing paving stones in this street and made it become a part of a route to be visited. ” 

Feristah Alanyali added that the primary purpose of the works carried out on behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is to create a route to show the visitors the importance of the ancient city and the monumental structures. 

Side is not only about Sea, Sand and Shopping

Another noteworthy purpose of the project is to show that Side is not only about sea, sun and shopping. Therefore, carrying out excavation and repair works in the ancient city were a must. In 2023, a significant number of projects were brought into life. For 2024, it is planned to open the areas that are also on the same axle and where partial or no excavation works took place to visit. 

In addition to reflecting on how to proceed in the structure M, which was started to be worked on with the sponsorship of Barut Hotels, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism provided considerable support to help complete the projects in the structure M in 2022.

Although some of the shops on the main street between the main gate and the theater of the city were unearthed in the 90s, most of them were closed. In 2023, the columns in front of it were put back in place after completion of the conservation and repair works. 

Prof. Dr. Feristah Alanyali stated that in 2024, they are planning to arrange two houses, which were already excavated and repaired, as a Roman house with furniture and a protective roof, with the support of the Ministry and Governorship of Antalya, and to bring the shops in the front to life and assign them a function. The ongoing works aim to exhibit weaved cloth products, olive oil and relevant equipment, leather and metal products, which played an important role in the trade activities of Side since ancient times, in the shops. 

As part of these works, meetings are being held and budget and team planning is being made for conservation and restoration. Stating that she and her team have devoted themselves to work, Feristah Alanyali highlighted the importance they attach to handling the works elaborately and with due diligence. 

Adding that there are streets stretching vertically between the two main streets, Feristah Alanyali stated that it was very important to open these vertical streets for establishing a connection with the visitors and that this street was completely unearthed by April 2023, which was followed by completion of the conservation and repair works. After completion of all the relevant works, the visitors wander these streets lovingly. 

Stating that it is pleasing, Feristah Alanyali added: “Here, we strove to fit a work, which would normally take at least 20 years, into almost one year. It goes without saying that while doing this, we progressed through each stage systematically, in such a way that one stage was a continuation of another, and adhered to a specific plan and project. All the works to be carried out on the route, which take the visitors entering from the city gate to the area of temples, were arranged in such a manner that they would nourish each other and form a purposeful whole when pieced together. All of the works carried out were connected with each other. When these works were pieced together, they constituted integrity. The visitors can feel this big change as they enter the city. 

We also have to express our thanks to the Rectorship of Anadolu University for their support to the works carried out here. We provided our graduates with significant employment opportunities. Anadolu University, a university that has completed the accreditation processes, also helped our graduates in this respect. We continue to change and transform together with our graduates and touch to the Ancient City of Side. Here, graduates of our school are employed. We work together with them to develop projects. That's why the presence of Anadolu University plays a very important role in Side.  “

Approximately 30 columns have been put back in place 

Stating that for the ancient theater and its surrounding, 2023 was an extremely important year, Feristah Alanyali added, “The ancient theater is located on the edge of this colonnaded street, which serves as one of the most important axes of the city and which we refer to as Street C in modern research. However, the columns on the other side of the stoa were put back in place as part of previous works. But a row of columns were missing. We fixed the detached stylobates.”  

About the goals for 2024, Alanyali said: "We put approximately 30 columns back in place. So, the visitors entering the city can feel that they are walking on an ancient street and that the theater is on the edge of this street. The support of our Ministry helped us complete the doors of the galleries of theaters. Currently, 5 of them are completed. These doors are made of cedar wood. All pieces are made of bronze, and they are made as close to the original as possible. We are planning to assign them a function in 2024.” 

She also highlighted that the works targeted for 2024 include arrangement of the entrance and exit of the ancient theater for visitors. The ancient theater is open to visit from 08.00 to 17.00 in winter and from 08.00 to 20.00 in summer.   

Prof. Dr. Feristah Alanyali, the Excavation Site Director at the Ancient City of Side, explained another work targeted for the new year as follows: “There is an extremely wide channel, which is same as those seen in other large monumental streets of Side, in front of the columns of the stoa that was put back in place. As part of the works targeted for 2024, we want to clean the channel, exhibit the street partially from one side, and show visitors that there is a channel on one side of the street, which is lined with stoas on both sides.         

In particular, as part of these works we have been carrying out on behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism since 2022, we intended to form a travel route for the visitors of Side. And we created a ring. If the visitors wish, they can visit the city with a longer or shorter tour. Currently, there are 38 stations established for the longer tour. This is a significant number. Started in 2022, these works primarily aim to ensure that the visitors of Side experience not only the sea, sand and shopping, but also the ancient city."  

Works To Be Completed in 2024

At the end of the interview, Feristah Alanyali told about the projects planned for 2024 in the Ancient City of Side: “We have already developed the schedule for 2024. We have obtained approvals from the relevant authorities. We are initiating the projects of this year without losing time. We have brought 67 projects into life in 2023. We are planning to bring about 50 projects into life in 2024. The biggest work will be carried out in the Emperor's Hall. We have completed the south stoa. Static problems started to arise here. We are going to solve these problems.” 


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  • Danielle S. Wyatt
  • 19-01-2024

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