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Sagalassos, Burdur, Turkiye

Sagalassos, Burdur, TurkiyeSagalassos is an archaeological site in southwestern Turkey, about 100 kilometers north of Antalya and 30 kilometers from Burdur and Isparta.

The ancient ruins of Sagalassos are 7 kilometers from Ağlasun (as well as being its namesake) in the province of Burdur, on Mount Akdağ, in the Western Taurus mountains range, at an altitude of 1450–1700 meters.

In Roman Imperial times, the town was known as the "first city of Pisidia", a region in the western Taurus mountains, currently known as the Turkish Lakes Region. During the Hellenistic period it was already one of the major Pisidian towns.

The lake district is one of the lesser visited regions in Turkiye for tourism., Even though popular with hikers and outdoor affecionados it receives only a small portion of the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal visitors.

Hiding in the mountains near Burdur, you'll find its major tourist attraction: the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sagalassos.

This dramatically situated Greco-Roman ruin is surrounded by craggy peaks. The exquisite restoration of its famous Antonine Nymphaeum makes it one of the best sites to visit in Turkey for being able to see firsthand the grandeur of ancient Rome.

The surrounding countryside of lakes, forests, and farming fields is packed full of things to do for active travelers, with the small lakeside town of Eğirdir used as a base from where hiking and mountain biking adventures can be easily planned and carried out.

For travelers who prefer a slower pace there are boating tours and road trips around the region's abundant rose and lavender fields, bursting with color during the summer months.

Sagalassos, Burdur, TurkiyeThis urban site was laid out on various terraces at an altitude between 1400 and 1600 meters. After suffering from a major earthquake in the early sixth century CE, the town managed to recover.

But, a combination of epidemics, water shortages, a general lack of security and stability, a failing economy and finally another devastating earthquake around the middle of the seventh century forced the inhabitants to abandon their town and resettle in the valley.

Large-scale excavations started in 1990 under the direction of Marc Waelkens of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. A large number of buildings, monuments and other archaeological remains have been exposed, documenting the monumental aspect of the Hellenistic, Roman and early Byzantine history of this town.

Human settlement in the area goes back to 8000 BCE, before the actual site was occupied. Hittite documents refer to a mountain site of Salawassa in the fourteenth century BCE and the town spread during the Phrygian and Lydian cultures.

Sagalassos was part of the region of Pisidia in the western part of the Taurus Mountains. During the Persian period, Pisidia became known for its warlike factions.

Sagalassos was one of the wealthiest cities in Pisidia when Alexander the Great conquered it in 333 BCE on his way to Persia. It had a population of a few thousand.

The prosperity of Sagalassos fluctuated over the end of the 1st century BC, but slowly it became more successful, particularly because of the fertility of its land and the production of a material called Sagalassos Red Slip Ware, a type of tableware.

Much of this affluence translated into the construction of buildings and monuments, especially during the 2ndcentury AD, under Hadrian, and up to the third century.

Sagalassos, Burdur, TurkiyeAfter Alexander's death, the region became part of the territories of Antigonus Monophthalmus, possibly Lysimachus of Thrace, the Seleucids of Syria and the Attalids of Pergamon. The archeological record indicates that locals rapidly adopted Hellenic culture.

The Roman Empire absorbed Pisidia after the Attalids and it became part of the province of Asia. In 39 BCE it was handed out to Galatian client king Amyntas, but after he was killed in 25 BCE Rome turned Pisidia into the province of Galatia.

Under the Roman Empire, Sagalassos became the important urban center of Pisidia, particularly favoured by the Emperor Hadrian, who named it the "first city" of the province and the center of the imperial cult. Contemporary buildings have a fully Roman character.

Around 400 CE Sagalassos was fortified for defence. An earthquake devastated it in 518 and a plague circa 541–543 halved the local population.

Arab raids threatened the town around 640 and after anoter earthquake destroyed the town in the middle of the seventh century, the site was abandoned.

The populace probably resettled in the valley. Excavations have found only signs of a fortified monastery - possibly a religious community, which was destroyed in the twelfth century. Sagalassos disappeared from the records.

In the following centuries, erosion covered the ruins of Sagalassos. It was not looted to a significant extent, possibly because of its location.

Explorer Paul Lucas, who was traveling in Turkey on a mission for the court of Louis XIV of France, visited the ruins in 1706.

After 1824, when Francis Vyvyan Jago Arundell (1780–1846), the British chaplain at Smyrna and an antiquarian, visited the site and deciphered its name in inscriptions.

Sagalassos, Burdur, TurkiyeWestern travelers began to visit the ruins. Polish historian of art, Count K. Lanckoroński produced the first map of Sagalassos. However, the city did not attract much archaeological attention until 1985, when an Anglo-Belgian team led by Stephen Mitchell began a major survey of the site.

Modern Project Now

From 1990 Sagalassos, now a major tourist site, has become a major excavation project led by Marc Waelkens of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.

Its monumental city center is now exposed and four major restoration projects are (nearly) completed. The project also undertakes an intensive urban and geophysical survey, excavations in the domestic and industrial areas, and an intensive survey of the territory.

The first survey documents a thousand years of occupation - from Alexander the Great to the seventh century—while the latter has established the changing settlement patterns, the vegetation history and farming practices, the landscape formation and climatic changes during the last 10,000 years.

On 9 August 2007, the press reported the discovery of a finely detailed, colossal statue of the Emperor Hadrian, which is thought to have stood 4 to 5meters in height. The statue dates to the early part of Hadrian's reign, and depicts the emperor in military apparel.

It was carved in sections that were fitted together with marble tenons on the site, which was a thermae, a public bath. A major earthquake sometime between the late sixth and early seventh centuries CE brought the vaulting crashing down; the statue was felled, coming apart along the joint of its facture.

The discovery of carved marble toes drilled with dowel holes to fasten them to the hem of a long mantle suggests the possibility of finding a companion sculpture of Sabina, the emperor's consort.

Sagalassos, Burdur, TurkiyeOn 14 August 2008, the head statue of Faustina the Elder, wife of Roman emperor Antoninus Pius (Hadrian's successor and adopted son) was discovered in the same site. On 22 August 2008, another colossal portrait head was found, this time it was of Marcus Aurelius.

A study involving mitochondrial analysis of a Byzantine-era population, whose samples were gathered from excavations in the archaeological site of Sagalassos, found that Sagalassos samples were closest to modern samples from "Turkey, Crimea, Iran and Italy (Campania and Puglia), Cyprus and the Balkans (Bulgaria, Croatia and Greece).

While traveling around the Roman-era ancient city sites of Turkey, onel comes across many nymphaeums (public fountains) but none like the Antonine Nymphaeum at Sagalassos

Unlike all the other nymphaeums, which usually lie in partial ruins, the Antonine Nymphaeum has been fully reconstructed and has been made fully functional.

Fountains of water cascade into its basins, which sit between marble columns and finely detailed statuary - some of which are original and others recreations.

The water of the fountain, where seven different types of stones are used, flows from the 4.5-meter-high waterfall in the central niche and fills the pool with a capacity of 81 m³.

During the excavations in the fountain area, 2 statues of Dionysus were unearthed and these sculptures are exhibited in the Burdur Museum.

These statues are thought to be in niches 1 and 6. When the fountain restoration is finished, the copies of these statues will take their place in the monumental fountain structure. The fountain with the Corinthian braid is planned to flow again after 1800 years this year and fill the pool.

The nymphaeum's restoration, finished in 2010, was one of the most spectacular, and ambitious, restoration projects on a Roman-era site in Turkey, and the structure rates up there with the library in Ephesus as Turkey's most important Roman period buildings.

Sagalassos, Burdur, TurkiyeThe following are important works carried out in the ancient city of Sagalassos:

Busts of Ares, Heracles, Hermes, Zes, Athena and Poeidon in the Lower Agorada
Marcus Aurelius Heykeli
Adrian Heykeli
Gate of the Tiberian Period
City Council Built in the 100s BC
Dorik Fountain
Neon Library
Antonine Fountain

There are three different routes to follow when visiting in the ancient city of Sagalassos and any one of them can be chosen according to your own detailed sightseeing preferences.

The shortest route is about 1.5 kilometers and takes 1 hour. The second route is about 2.5 kilometers and can be traveled in 2 hours. If you want to fully explore the ancient city, you can make the full tour of 4 kilometers in about 4 hours.

You can find the necessary map in the guide brochures section of our website or you can see it at the entrance of the ancient city.

You can visit the ancient city free of charge with your museum card. If you do not have a museum card, the entrance fee is 12 TL.

The ancient city is open every day of the week. You can visit between 15 April – 2 October between 08:30-19:00, between 3 October – 14 April between 08:30-17:30.

Sagalassos, Burdur, TurkiyeSagalassos can be treated as a day trip from Antalya only 119 kilometers to the south, but the surrounding district known as Turkiye's Lake District is a closer rural alternative and is a favorite with hikers, cyclists, and nature lovers.

The main town in the Lake District is the small town of Eğirdir, located in a setting backed by mountain panoramas and nestled on the bank of Lake Eğirdir.

While the main part of Eğirdir fans out along the lakeside, there is a causeway from Eğirdir which leads out onto the lake to the island of Yeşilada, that acts as a quiet suburb of the main town.

The accommodation options, both in the main town and on Yeşilada, are small, locally run, and homely, so they suit independent travelers.

Mountain bike rental is readily available in Eğirdir and there are also various beaches rimming the main towns along Lake Eğirdir's shore, including on the outskirts of Eğirdir itself.



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