The Ancient City of Aspendos That Is Highly-Frequented Every Year

Aspendos is one of the ancient cities that still maintains its splendor and charm. Still reflecting the historical and cultural characteristics of its period and standing out with ancient theater, the Ancient City of Aspendos is one of the most interesting ancient sites for local and foreign tourists. The city was built by the Romans in the 2nd century AD. This ancient city is one of the must-see historical sites that has been best preserved to the present day.



Ancient Theater of Aspendos, an open-air theater, started to be built in 138 and has survived to the present day. The theater building was built by the architect Zenon, the son of Theodoros from Aspendos, and it still houses various concerts today. With the best theater of the Roman period not only in Anatolia but also in the Mediterranean region, Aspendos was built near Koprucay River.



The city of Aspendos came under the domination of Persia in the 6th century BC and Alexander the Great in 333 BC and had its best and most glorious times during the Roman Empire. Aspendos was ruled by Ptolemaios after the death of Alexander and its architectural texture that has survived to the present day comes from the Roman period.




The Greek legend has it that the ancient city of Aspendos, located in Serik district of Antalya, was founded by the Argive colonists. There is a monumental arch, parliament building, basilica, monumental fountain and the ancient theater building in the city.





About the Legend of Aspendos

The legend of the Ancient City of Aspendos is very well-known. The legend has it that the king of Aspendos wants to marry his beautiful daughter, whom he dotes on, but he cannot find a suitable candidate. Then he comes up with an idea and decides to realize it. This idea is to marry his daughter to the person who will do the most beneficial thing for the ancient city of Aspendos and its people. On hearing this, twin brothers set to work. One builds an aqueduct to bring water to the city, while the other builds an ancient theater.


The most important feature of the ancient theater is that even the person sitting at the highest rows of the cavea can hear a coin dropping in the center of the stage. The king first sees the aqueduct and is impressed by its architecture. So he wants to marry his daughter to the architect who has built this aqueduct. But the other brother plays a game to marry the daughter of the king because he does not want to lose her. The acoustics of the theater he has built is perfect.



While the king walks around the highest rows of the cavea, he whispers:  "Marry your daughter to the architect of this place!" Hearing it clearly at the very top, the king is deeply impressed, but cannot make a decision. He believes that both of these successful architects deserve to marry his daughter, and he divides his daughter into two with a sword and gives one half to the brother who has built the aqueduct and the other half to the brother who has built the theatre.



The Ancient Theater of Aspendos, the Pearl of the City

The architectural structure of Aspendos Theater makes it one of the outstanding theaters among Roman theaters. When it comes to the ancient city of Aspendos, the theater is one of the first structures that come to mind. This very-well preserved structure, dedicated to both the emperors of the period and the gods, stands out with its capacity of 20 thousand people. The aqueduct, another important structure of the ancient city, is located near the theater built by the architect Zenon during the reign of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.


The aqueduct in Aspendos is among the best-preserved aqueducts in the ancient cities. The basilica, agora, monumental fountain, arch, parliament building and Hellenistic temple are located on the top of the hill on which the ancient theater rests.



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  • Gladys G. Gonzalez
  • 14-01-2022

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