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Hıstory Of Side

Hıstory Of Side

18 Kasım 2022 19:14
Hıstory Of Side



Side, ancient Pamphylia’s largest port, is situated on a small peninsula extending north-south into the sea.

Strabo and Arrianos both record that Side was settled from Kyme, city in Aeolia, a region of western Anatolia. Most probably, this colonization occurred in the seventh century B.C.. According to Arrianos, when settlers from Kyme came to Side, they could not understand the dialect. After a short while, the influence of this indigenous tongue was so great that the newcomers forgot their native Greek and started using the language of Side. Excavations have revealed several inscriptions written in this language. The inscriptions, dating from the third and second centuries B.C., remain undeciphered, but testify that the local language was still use several centuries after colonization. Another object found in Side excavations, a basalt column base from the seventh century B.C. and attributable to the Neo Hittites, provides other evidence of the site’s early history. The word “side” is Anatolian in origin and means pomegranate.

Next to no information exists concerning Side under Lydian and Persian sovereignty. Nevertheless, the fact that Side minted its own coins during the fifth century B.C. while under Persian dominion, shows that it still possessed a great measure of independence.

In 333 A.D., despite its strong land and sea walls, Side surrendered to Alexander the Great without a fight. For a long period following the death of Alexander, Side came under the dominion of the Ptolemaic and Seleucid Empires, and in 190 B.C. witnessed a great naval battle. This encounter took place between the fleet of Rhodes, acting with the support of Rome and Pergamum, and the fleet of Antiochos III, the king of Syria, under the command of the famous Carthaginian Hannibal. Side took the side of Hannibal, but the Rhodian forces carried the day.

In the second century B.C. Side was able to stave off the forces of the Attaleids of Pergamum and preserve its independence, becoming a wealthy commercial, intellectual, and entertainment centre. Side’s importance in the Eastern Mediterranean as an educational and cultural centre can be gauged by the fact that Antiochos VII, who ascended the throne of Syria in 138 B.C., was sent to Side in his youth to receive its education. In the first century B.C. misfortune overtook Side in the form of Cilician pirates, who seized the city and turned it into a naval base and slave market. The people of Side seem to have tolerated the pirates because of the highly profitable nature of this commerce, which, however, gave the city a bad name in the region. Stratonicus, a man famous for his retorts and witticisms, answered the question, “Who are the worst, most treacherous people?” saying, “In Pamphylia the people of Phaselis, but in the whole world the people of Side”. The famous Roman general Pompey ended the reign of the pirates in 67 B.C. and Side, by erecting monuments and statues in his honour, tried to erase its bad name.

Under Roman rule, Side prospered during a second golden age, especially in the second and third centuries when it became a metropolis ,seat of the provincial governor and his administrative staff. Due to its large harbour. Side in this era enjoyed commercial relations throughout the Mediterranean particularly with Egypt. Imported goods left Side for central Anatolia by road. Side’s importance as a commercial centre can be ascertained by the hundreds of shops occupying not only the main streets, but also the narrowest of side streets and alleys. At the same time it continued as an important slave trading centre. Documents from the Imperial Roman period found in Egypt report that these slaves were sent to Side mainly from Africa. It is also known that Side possessed a large commercial fleet which did not pass up opportunities to commit piracy. Maritime commerce was the origin of the wealth of many merchants. These wealthy men did not work solely to increase their fortunes, but also provided for activities benefiting the people of the city, donating large sums to organize competitions and games, as well as to beautify the city and create social and religious organizations. One inscription found above a late period gate reports that two people, whose names cannot be made out, had a deipnisterion or soup kitchen erected for the use of government employees and the council of elders. A woman named Modesta organized gladiatorial events; Tuesianos, another inhabitant of Side, organized a feast to celebrate the return of the seamen to Side; and a husband and wife pair of philanthropists provided for the repairs of Side” water system out of their own pockets. A great proportion of the buildings and monuments still standing at Side date to this magnificent epoch.

Side’s last years of plenty occurred in the fifth and sixth centuries A:D. when it served as the seat of the Bishopric of Eastern Pamphylia. At this time there was much construction, and the city expanded beyond the extant city walls. Starting in the middle of the seventh century, destructive raids by Arab fleets on the southern coast of Anatolia transformed it into a war zone. Side was naturally, affected, and excavations have uncovered ashy burnt layers showing that the city was entirely burnt by Arabs. According to the twelfth century Arab geographer Idrisi, Side was at one time a large and populous city, but after being sacked it was abandoned by its inhabitants, who moved to Antalya, two days’ journey away; as a result, according to Idrisi, Side became known as Old Antalya.

In order to protect itself from threats coming by land or sea, Side was surrounded on all four sides by high walls. The sea walls have been much altered over the centuries due to repair and rebuilding and have most much of their original appearance; they have even collapsed in several places. By contrast, the land walls and their towers are almost whole, due to their having been carefully constructed of conglomerate stone. The city is entered through two gates in the eastern fortification wall. The large main gate was built during the Hellenistic period. It is flanked by two towers and gives onto a horseshoe-shaped courtyard. After passing through the courtyard and a square room, one enters the city. As is the case in Perge, the gate and courtyard complex were ornamented with many storeys of columns in the second century A.D. and transformed into a ceremonial place of honour. The second largest city gate, also belonging to the Hellenisitic period, lies on the north-east of the city; behind its square towers lies a courtyard that is also square in form.

The main street starts from this north-eastern gate and stretches all the way to the peninsula’s western tip in an almost completely straight line. Along this street lay the city’s principal official buildings and its squares. Excavations have revealed a perfectly planned sewer system. This system, covered with vaults, lay under the main street as well as the smaller streets. Outside the city wall and opposite the main gate lies the nymphaeum, a monumental fountain consisting of a richly ornamented facade with three niches and with a fountain in front. Piped-in water used to flow from spouts in the middle of these niches.

The agora, the city’s centre of commercial and cultural activity, lay along an arcaded street. It can be entered today from immediately opposite the museum. This square space was surrounded on all four sides by porticoes. Rows of stores can still be observed running behind the north-east and north-west porticoes. An interesting vaulted building lies in the agora’s south-west corner adjacent to the theatre, this served as the city’s latrium or public toilets and is the most highly ornamented and best preserved example in Anatolia. Sewers carried away the waste from this establishment, which had a 24-toilet capacity, while in front of the building ran a channel carrying only purified water.

In the middle of the agora lay a circular temple dedicated to Tyche (Fortune). All that is left today is the podium of this structure, but originally twelve columns ran around its exterior and the temple was topped by a pyramidal roof. This agora was linked to a second, state agora by a street running along its southern edge. This agora, too, was square in plan and was enclosed by porticoes of lonic columns. It is believed that the high platform in the middle of the agora was used for the display and sale of slaves. Behind the eastern portico lay a large ornamented three-chambered building which, due to its architectural peculiarities, is thought to have been either an imperial palace or a library. From extant remains it can be ascertained that the building was originally two storeys and richly adorned with statues. Aside from a statue of Nemesis, which has been left in place to recall the original decorative style, all the statues found during excavation have been removed to the Side Museum.

The agora bathhouse, today used as the museum, is a five-room Byzantine structure dating to the fifth century A.D. It is entered through two arched doorways. The first room, possessing a small cold water pool, was the frigidarium. From here one passes to a stone-domed sweating room or lokonicum. The third and largest of the structure’s rooms is the hot room or caldarium. The bath’s heating system ran beneath the marble flooring. From the caldarium one can enter the two-room tepidarium or washing area through a narrow door. In front of the bath was a palaestra with a porticoed courtyard where men could excercise before bathing.

Next to the triumphal arch, which at a late date was used a city gate, lies a beautiful monument, partially restored in recent years. This monument consists of a niche between two aedicules and, according to an inscription found in the architrave, was built in 74 A.D. in memory of the Emperor Vespasion and his son Titus. During the construction of the late period city wall in the fourth century A.D., this monument was brought here from elsewhere in the city and turned into a fountain.


The theatre is the only extant example of its plan and construction type to be fount in Anatolia. It was erected in the second century A.D. on Hellenistic foundations. Because Side is virtually flat, the theatre’s upper banks had to be built into the only natural rise available, which is not very steep, while the lower banks of seats overlay an arched substructure. Twenty nine seating levels can be counted below the 3.30 metre-wide diazoma, which divides the cavea in two. In the upper section only twenty two of the original twenty nine rows survive. Thus, this was Pamphylia’s largest theatre and had a seating capacity of 16-17.000 people. In the outside gallery of the lower section, staircases rose to the diazoma. From interior galleries, staircases ascended to the theatre’s upper section. The galleries’ two ends probably contained paradoses, enabling them to be used as entrances for theatre staff and actors.

The orchestra was slightly larger than a semicircle, and at a late date it was surrounded by a nigh thick wall that rendered inoperative the lowest banks of seats. This wall was covered with waterproof pink plaster which allowed the orchestra to be filled from time to time with water for reenactments of naval battles and other sports; it no doubt also served as a pit for displays of wild animal combat. These displays usually pitted predatory animals against one another or against gladiators. Sometimes even unarmed people-criminals, slaves, and prisoners-were set against wild animals, and their helpless struggle was followed with rude glee.

A stage building rose off a wide podium behind the orchestra. It consisted of a two-storey facade 63 metres in length. On the podium, five narrow doors linked the orchestra ornamented with coloumns, niches and statues, and its lower storey contained five alrge openings allowing for the actors, and its entrance. Between these openings, just as in the theatre at Perge, were marble friezes illustrating Dionysiac themes. The stage building’s reliefs have been transported to the agora for the duration of the restoration work which has newly begun is this area.

During the troubles of the fourth century A.D., a new fortification wall was built, and this wall took advantage of the high back wall of the stage building. During the fifth and sixth centuries A.D., the theatre was used as an open-air church, and the parados sections were decorated with floor mosaics and transformed into small chapels. The most varied and beautiful temples in all of Pamphylia are to be found in Side. Two stupendous temples rose on the peninsula’s southern point, right next to each other, the sea and the harbour. These temples were built in the second half of the second century A.D.. Consisting entirely of marble, they are of the peripteros type and employ the Corinthian order. The short sides have six columns each, the long sides



When you turn South at the 75 th km. of Antalya – Alanya main road a nice avenue winding through hotels and hauses for about 3 km will lead you to Side, the furthest city in the east of historical Pamphylia. Situated on a peninsula about 1000 m long and 400 m. wide, it fulfilled its duty as a commercial port.Naturally, Side used to be one of the most important trade centers in the antiquity and now it is one of the most popular holiday resort in Turkey.

According to Strabon the ancient geographer, side was first established in the 7 th cen. B.C. as a trade colony of the Aegean city Kyme near İzmir But the merchants took up the local language, Side tan the name “Side” meant pomegranate, the fruit symbolizing abundance and fertility.
Like the other Pamphylian cities in general, Side was ruled by Lydia in the sixth cent. B.C. and Persia after 547 B.C. The coins minted in here prove that Side had at least an internal independence.

Alexander the Great conquered Side in the first year of the great campaign on Asia in 334 B.C. and was introduced to Hellenistic culture. After his death the empire was shared by generals. The Southern Turkey, including Side changed hands quite often , especially between the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt ( 3 rd cent B.C ) and the Seleucid dynasty of Syria ( 2 nd cent B.C ) after the apameia peace agreement between the Romans and thedefeated Syrian kingdom, but Pergama could not gain a complete control over Side. King Attalos of Pergama founded a new city, Attaleia ( Antalya ) as a commercial rival to Side and others on the South coast. At the turn of century Side was a slave-trade center in the hends of Pirates. It was only the Romans who stopped piracy on the eastern Mediterranean and let the southern Anatolian cities in ( Cilicia, Pamphylia and Lycia ) prosper again in peace and safety 78 B.C.

Pamphylia was attached to the provice of Galatia by emperor Augustus in 25 B.C. when all the provinces in the Roman empire were re-organised. Side lived its second birth and wealthy period until 3 rt cend. A.D as a Pamphylian city that was placed sometimes in Galatia, sometimes in Lycia. Especially its active role in the slave trade enabled this semiindependent city to gain wealth and most of the structures in ruins at present were built during this period of time. Side felt the necessity of repairing the defensive walls in the second half of 3 rd cend. A.D because of the successive attacks by the highlanders from the north. Furthermore, they built an inner wall right through the city in 4 th cent A.D. Unfortunately these precautions were not enough to secure those great days again and Side started declining.


One day, Accordinkes to the Anatolion Mythology, The God Taurus takes her youngest daughter Side, who had been The Goddes of nature and abundance, to the valley of the Rıver Manauwa (Manavgat) for picking up flowers and making wreaths with the Nymphes (water-fairies) While picking up flowers and dancing with the Nymphes, Side, suddenly sees a tree with thin branches having shiny leaves and colourful flowers and breaks off a branch, to take it to her little daugther. As she breaks the branch off it starts bleeding. Accually, Side realizes that the tree is not a real one it is a Nymphe who has escaped from some wicked human beings and taken the shape of a tree. She is so sorry and so scared that she wants to go away, but she can’t. She is stuck and she feels that her feet are bried in ground. Then her body changes into a from of a tree. The Nymphes are sad and they start crying. The Nymphes are sad and they start crying. The fresh roots of Side are watered with the of Nymphes. Side says that it was her fault and ask the Nymphes to take a message to her little daugher The message is as follows; From now on I’ll be the symbol of nature, life and abundance with my blood-red rich fruit, I ask you to take my daughter here from time to time, to play in my shade. And warn her not to pick flowers and never damage trees on earth; because any of those trees could be a Goddes. This is why the peninsula of Side full of pomegranate trees.

THE CITY WALLS : The walls of Antique Side surrounds the city all around the peninsula. The length of the walls with the inner ones is about 6 km. The width of the walls on the sea-side is nearly 3 m.some points. The height reaches 10 m. When the walls on theland-side in the North-East are taken into consireadion, and on the walls there are 13 semi-circular and rectangular towers for watching and defence.

THE GREAT GATE OF THE CITY : The main entrance, The GREAT GATE, was built in the North-East. The oldest entrance of the Antique City, now in ruins, had been restored many times. The last form of the Gate was given in Roman times. It was built as two storeys on an arched base. For defending the gate there were two towers on each side where the soldiers were on guard. These towers are about 10m high.

THE EASTERN GATE : The secont Great Gate of the City was built in the East. The Gate was buried in sand for many years. It has lately been cleaned up and is being exhibited. It had been built with conglomerat type of block-stones. You can walk to the Square of protocol passing two circle-arched corridors behind the door on which there are two rectangular watch and defence towers. The base of The Square which is 50m wide had been decorated with mosaics during Byzantium times.

WATER ARCHES : In Antique times the water needed in Side was brought from the river Manavgat by means of water-arches which were built between the village Sevinç of today and Side. The length of the waterway is 30 km and the height reachs 25 m at some points. Some parts of the waterway was carved in rocks.

THE GRAND MONUMENTAL FOUNTAIN : The Grand Monumental Fountain was built nearby The Castellum Aqua, which could be seen at the end of the waterwayon the arches that brought water to the city from the River Manavgat. It stands opposite the Great Entrance Gate in the North West of the city. The fountain seems to have two storeys todey; but it is supposed to have been built in three storeys with the dimensions 5 m height and 35 m width.

KOLONNEL STREET: The street that starts at the door protocol which was built in between the Great Entrance Gate takes you to the Square of Agora in the south direction is 250 m long with coloumns on both sides. It was given the name “Kolonnel Street”.

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HOUSES: The ruins of the Antique Houses on both sides of the Kolonnel Street in general, were built as diateas (living-rooms), lined-up around the big inner hall named Atrium, There was usually a fountain in the middle of the inner hall, and all the floors of the rooms were decorated with mosaics.

AGORA : The Big Agora of the city takes place in front of the theatre which was built at the end of The Kolonnel Street. It has the dimensions 92×92 m (outher) and 65×65 m (inner). Entrance to the Agora is supposed to be through the monumental gate in the west. The Agora is surrounded by granite columns and was called Portiko. You can reach the Portiko, which is 4 m wide, walking up two stairs. There are dekorated marble blocks on 100 Chorint and lon headed clumns. In the middle of the Agora you can notice the ruins of a temple (as it could be found in all Antique Cities) with 12 lon and chorint headed columns surrounding it and it had belonged to The Goddess of luck and commerce called Fortuna. People from different social classes could have discussions in the Agoras and orient the crowds and set them in motion. The Agora in Side was connected to the stage building of the theatre by means of a passage and both places were used for slave trading, in B.C 100.
THE MONUMENTAL LIBRARY AND THE STATE AGORA : You can reach the square State Agora after a short walk about 50 meters along a story road in the East direction from the Commercial Agora. The Portika of the Agora is surrounded by double columns on all sides and was used for offical purposes and protocols and around it there were official buildings.

THE PALACE OF THE BISHOP AND ITS BASILICA : The Palace and the Basilica seen in the complex of a building takes place near by the Eastern Gate. In the middle of the courtyard between the Palaceand the Basilica there is the martyrion and you can enter the complex of the building from the western side. The rooms of the complex have many sections and they have arches made of bricks. In the middle of the complex there is a square planned place with three sections for sitting. The Schabel of the Bishop that can still be seen in front of the platform obsis has the characteristics of Byzantian construction. The Great Basilica of the Bishop in the Eastern part of the complex was probably built in A.D. 600 and had a trancept plan. The obsis of the Basilica in the Eastern direction has a spherical plan inside and a triangular one from outside.

THE FOUNTAIN OF VESPASIANUS : The front side of the one-arched (15 m high and 7 m wide) fountain was covered with Marble. It was situated between the museum of today and the Western end of the Agora near the Theatre. This fountain with one tap attracts with its marble frescos.

THE FOUNTAIN WITH THREE POOLS : Opposite the Fountain of Vespasianus there stands the Fountain with three Pools on one side of the Agora Bath facing the street with coloumns. The fountain was probably built in A.D. 300 m. On the front side of the fountain there were Korenth headed collumns and today you can only see the three pools covered with marble.

THEATRE : Theatres were important places for the activities of groups of people in Antique times. Struggle with the nature was also the most significant thing in those days. People started showing their feelings towards the events they faced and the productions that came out as s result of their struggle with the nature by symbolizing them with festivals. At the very beginning, human-begins who had disclosed their feelings by celebrating such events by singing and dancing, lately. And the first dramas came out of those celebrations. Carving rows of seats in slopes in Antique Cities and making circular areas in the middle in B.C. 500 were the first steps taken in the architecture of Theatres. Highly tolerated actors could even make fun of The gods and the Emperors in their plays. The players could also start a discussion with the andiences after the dramas in which they criticise the things related with their country. When the plays were approved a great applause could be heard and when they were disapproved the andiences would protest by hitting the stone of the marble seats with their sandals. In the two epigraphies which were discovered in excavations it was written that Modesta, who was one of the richest man of Side, had financed fights between Gladiators. The two epigraphies are being displayed in the Museum of Side. During the raids of Arabs in the 8 th Century the theatre was burned down and destroyed and later on the building of the stage collapsed on the place of the orchestra because of an eartquake. The excavations and the explorations in the theatre are still going on.

THE TEMPLE OF MEN : In the north of the Great Harbour Bath there is the Temple of Men. The temple was built in the name of the Anatolian Moon God, Men and it had a semi-circular podium. It is supposed that the Temple was built in B.C. 500 and was restored twice; first in the times of Alexander the Great and then in the Byzantian period.

THE TEMPLE OF BACUS : The ruins of the Temple of Bacus today was situated in the North end of The Square just in front of the Entrance of the Theatre of Side. Only the stairs and the marble podium of the temple can be seen today.The temple was constructed in the name of The God of wine and entertainment, Bacus. In front of the entrance there were four columns made of red granite with Korenth heads. And you can walk up to the front area going up 7 marble stairs with five half columns on each side. The plan was a Pouseudoperipteros one. It was discovered that the temple was built near a small Theatre before the construction of the Great Thestre of Side in B.C. 300.

THE GREAT HARBOUR BATH : The Bath complex with four big Halls parallel to each other and three rooms built next to them was constructed in the South of the Side Theatre just behind the Harbour Walls. The Bath, which was found out to be built in A.D. 300 and had several restorations in different times, had a rectangular shape 60 m., long and 40 m. wide. In later years two GYMS. were added to tje complex. You can enter the Bath trough the changing-room in the North named Apoditerum.

THE TEMPLE OF APOLLON : The two temples which were built next to each other within a Peripteros plan were situated in the Southern end of the peninsula Side. The one in the East belonged to Apollon and the one in the west to Athena. During the period of Paxromana, the Goddess of Anatolia, Kybele and The God of Moon, Men were purified and sanctified with The Head Gods of Side, Apollon and Athena and this was why the people of Side built those two splendid temples. The temple which was built for the God Apollon, who had been sanctified as The God of light, beauty and art had a rectangular plan with the dimensions of 17×30 m. On top of it there are columns with Korenth heads. 8,90 m. high and a row of 6×11. The cloumns around the temple had bases with holes in the middle on stylobat : and this shows us that there were pieces of iron underneath on which the columns were situated.

THE TEMPLE OF ATHENA : This temple was built next to the Temple of Apollon in the form of a peripheros plan with the dimensions 20×35 m. It is a little bigger than the Temple of Apollon and has columns similar to it. The block on the columns attracts attention with its decorative reliefs.

THE HARBOUR OF SİDE : That the harbour was at the south of the peninsula was very important for Side which was a maritine business center. The harbour was surrounded by a breakwater made of konglemerat stones.

THE HARBOUR BATH : During the period of Paxromana, with the growth of trade Bath was built behind The Harbour in order to cover the need.

THE SİDE MUSEUM : With little restorations in the recent years The Side Museum wasfounded on the complex of the Bath which was built in the period of Romans. You enter the museum through the door in the East direction. Then you go into the stony courtyard which is known as the second tepidorium of the Bath.when you cross the courtyard you enter a big garden. Around the courtyard and in the garden you can see tombs, columns, busts, inscriptions, statues, pedestals and reciefs which were excavated from the city Antique Side, The garden of the museum is actually the courtyard is the Gym. The most important monument in the marble floored courtyard is the serial of friese which has the mythological tales of Poseidon, The God of Seas on the Northern Wall. In these stories the relation of The Gods and The Goddesses with the nature is being described. In the passages between the setions of the Bath there are coloured faiences.

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