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Termessos - Turkey - Archeological siteHigh in the Taurus mountains, at 34 km northeast of Antalya, lies the ancient Pisidian city of Termessos, one of Turkey's prime attractions. The inhabitants of Termessos were Pisidians, the same warlike tribe of Anatolian origin that also settled Sagalassos in the Lake District during the first millenium BC. They orginally named themselves Solymians after Sollymus, the nearby mountain (today's Güllük Dağ). The Solymians are mentioned in the ancient myth of Bellerophon and Pegasus, when Bellerophon is sent to fight them after having defeated the Chimaera. They made their entrance in actual history when Alexander the Great attacked the city in 333 BC and was repelled. Even the Romans accepted Termessos as an independent city and in 70 BC they signed a treaty of friendship with Termessos.

The city was probably abandoned due to earthquake damage in 243 AD. It has only been surveyed, never been excavated. Termessos is spectacularly located in the Güllük Mountains National Park (Güllük Dağı Milli Parkı). From the car park it is a, sometimes steep, climb of about 9 km and takes at least 2 hours but the scenery makes it all worthwhile. Orientation can be a problem, as signs are sometimes misleading and the remains are scattered around. At my first visit in 2004, I myself missed the famous theater.

At the car park of the Termessos archeological site there is the elegant entrance to the Hadrian-Artemis temple. From the parking lot a rough path, the King's Road, leads upwards to the lower city walls. After a short climb, one reaches the upper city defenses, the ruins of a gymnasium and the theater in its spectacular setting.


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