Aspendos or Aspendus (Pamphylian: ΕΣΤϜΕΔΥΣ; Attic: Ἄσπενδος) was an ancient Greco-Roman city in Antalya province of Turkey. The site is located 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) northeast of central Serik.

Ἄσπενδος (in Ancient Greek)
Aspendos Amphitheatre
The Roman theatre in Aspendos has been preserved remarkably well.[1]
Aspendos is located in Turkey
Shown within Turkey
Alternative nameAspendus
LocationSerik, Antalya Province, Turkey
Coordinates36°56′20″N 31°10′20″E / 36.93889°N 31.17222°ECoordinates: 36°56′20″N 31°10′20″E / 36.93889°N 31.17222°E


Aspendos theatre from gallery
Aspendos theatre from the upper gallery

Aspendos was an ancient city in Pamphylia, Asia Minor, located about 40 km east of the modern city of Antalya, Turkey. It was situated on the Eurymedon River about 16 km inland from the Mediterranean Sea; it shared a border with, and was hostile to, Side.[2]

Some scholars associate the city's name with "Azatiwadaya". The known city of that name was founded by Azatiwada of Quwê on his eastern frontier, at Karatepe.[3] According to later tradition, Aspendos was founded rather earlier by Greeks who may have come from Argos.

The wide range of its coinage throughout the ancient world indicates that, in the 5th century BC, Aspendos had become the most important city in Pamphylia. At that time, according to Thucydides, the Eurymedon River was navigable as far as Aspendos,[4] and the city derived great wealth from a trade in salt, oil and wool.

Aspendos did not play an important role in antiquity as a political force. Its political history during the colonisation period corresponded to the currents of the Pamphylian region. Within this trend, after the colonial period, it remained for a time under Lycian hegemony. In 546 BC it came under Persian domination. The fact that the city continued to mint coins in its own name, however, indicates that it had a great deal of freedom even under the Persians.

Circa 465 BC Cimon led an Athenian navy against a Persian navy in the Battle of the Eurymedon, and destroyed it. Aspendos then became a member of the Delian League.[5]

Aqueduct of Aspendos 01
Aqueduct of Aspendos

The Persians captured the city again in 411 BC and used it as a base. In 389 BC Thrasybulus of Athens, in an effort to regain some of the prestige that city had lost in the Peloponnesian Wars, anchored off the coast of Aspendos in an effort to secure its surrender. Hoping to avoid a new war, the people of Aspendos collected money among themselves and gave it to the commander, entreating him to retreat without causing any damage. Even though he took the money, he had his men trample all the crops in the fields. Enraged, the Aspendians stabbed and killed Thrasybulus in his tent.

When Alexander the Great marched into Aspendos in 333 BC after capturing Perge, the citizens sent envoys asking him not to garrison soldiers there. He agreed, provided he would be given the taxes and horses that they had formerly paid as tribute to the Persian king. After reaching this agreement Alexander went to Side, leaving a garrison there on the city's surrender. Going back through Sillyon, he learned that the Aspendians had failed to ratify the agreement their envoys had proposed and were preparing to defend themselves. Alexander marched to the city immediately. When they saw Alexander returning with his troops, the Aspendians, who had retreated to their acropolis, again sent envoys to sue for peace. This time, however, they had to agree to very harsh terms; a Macedonian garrison would remain in the city and 100 gold talents as well as 4,000 horses would be given in tax annually.

In 190 BC the city surrendered to the Romans, and the corrupt magistrate Verres later pillaged its artistic treasures.[4][6] It was ranked by Philostratus the third city of Pamphylia, and in Byzantine times seems to have been known as Primopolis. Toward the end of the Roman period the city began a decline that continued throughout Byzantine times, although in medieval times it was evidently still a strong place.[4]

Diogenes Laërtius writes that there was a native of Aspendos called Demetrius who was a pupil of Apollonius of Soli.[7] In addition, he mention the Diodorus of Aspendus.[8]

Greek and Roman structures

Aspendos Basilica Antalya Turkey
The Basilica

Aspendos is known for having the best-preserved theatre of antiquity. With a diameter of 96 metres (315 ft), it provided seating for 12,000.[9] It was built in 155[9] by the Greek architect Zenon, a native of the city. It was periodically repaired by the Seljuqs, who used it as a caravanserai, and in the 13th century the stage building was converted into a palace by the Seljuqs of Rum.[10]

In order to keep with Hellenistic traditions, a small part of the theatre was built so that it leaned against the hill where the Citadel (Acropolis) stood, while the remainder was built on vaulted arches. The high stage, whose supporting columns are still in place,[4] served to seemingly isolate the audience from the rest of the world. The 'scaenae frons' or backdrop, has remained intact. The 8.1 metre (27 ft) sloping reflective wooden ceiling over the stage has been lost over time. Post holes for 58 masts are found in the upper level of the theatre. These masts supported a velarium or awning that could be pulled over the audience to provide shade.[9]

The Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival offers an annual season of productions in the theatre in the spring and early summer.

Nearby stand the remains of a basilica, agora, nymphaeum and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) of a Roman aqueduct. The Roman Eurymedon Bridge, reconstructed in the 13th century, is also in the vicinity.


Pamphylia Aspendos Stater, Olympic Games scene
Silver Stater from Aspendos dated 370-333 BC, featuring scenes from Olympic sports. City/Region: Pamphylia, Aspendos; Denomination: AR Stater; Composition: Silver Date: 370-333 BC; Obverse: Olympic games-type scene: two wrestlers grappling, the letters delta and alpha between their legs; Reverse: ΕΣΤΕΔΙΙΥΣ , Olympic games-type scene: Slinger, wearing short chiton, discharging sling to right, triskeles on right with feet clockwise; Size: 23.6mm, 10.851g; Reference: SNG Cop 233; SNG France 87

Aspendos was one of the earliest cities to mint coins. It began issuing coinage around 500 BC, first staters and later drachmas; "the slinger on the obverse represents the soldiery for which Aspendus was famous in antiquity,"[11] the reverse frequently depicts a triskelion. The legend appears on early coins as the abbreviation ΕΣ or ΕΣΤϜΕ; later coinage has ΕΣΤϜΕΔΙΙΥΣ, the adjective from the city's local (Pamphylian) name Estwedus. The city's numismatic history extends from archaic Greek to late Roman times.[12]


The Christian bishopric of Aspendus was a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Side, the capital of the Roman province of Pamphylia Prima, to which Aspendus belonged. Of its bishops, the names of four are recorded in extant documents: Domnus was at the First Council of Nicaea in 425, Tribonianus at the Council of Ephesus in 431, Timotheus at the 448 synod held by Flavian of Constantinople, which condemned Eutyches, and at the Robber Council of Ephesus held the same year, and Leo at the Second Council of Nicaea in 787.[13][14]

No longer a residential bishopric, Aspendus is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[15]

Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival

The theatre hosts the annual Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival organized by Turkish State Opera and Ballet since 1994, with international participation of opera and ballet companies and an audience of about 10,000.

Dalida held her last concert there on 28 April 1987.


  1. ^ Andreae, Bernard (1977). The Art of Rome. New York: H. N. Abrams. p. 567. ISBN 0-8109-0626-0. The Roman theater survives virtually intact... scarcely another surviving theater gives a better impression of just how the Roman theater - a solid single unified structure - differed from the Greek theater, which was made up of separate structures juxtaposed but each isolated and complete in itself.
  2. ^ Barbara Burrell, Neokoroi: Greek Cities and Roman Emperors (Brill, 2004: ISBN 90-04-12578-7), p. 189.
  3. ^ Ilya Yakubovich (2015). "Phoenician and Luwian in Early Iron Age Cilicia". Anatolian Studies. 65: 35–53. doi:10.1017/s0066154615000010., 50 from C. Brixhe (1976). Le dialecte grec de Pamphylie: documents et grammaire. Paris: Maisonneuve. pp. 80, 193.
  4. ^ a b c d Hogarth, David George (1911). "Aspendus" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 766–767.
  5. ^ Holidays to Turkey info Archived 2012-01-11 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Cicero. In Verrem II. pp. 1. Chapter 53.
  9. ^ a b c Roth, Leland M. (1993). Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History and Meaning (First ed.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press. ISBN 0-06-430158-3.
  10. ^ Scott Redford, "The Seljuqs of Rum and the Antique," Muqarnas, Vol. 10, Essays in Honor of Oleg Grabar. (1993), p. 151.
  11. ^ A Catalogue of the Greek Coins in the British Museum (British Museum. Dept. of Coins and Medals, 1897), p. lxxii.
  12. ^ Asia Minor Coins - Greek and Roman coins of Aspendos
  13. ^ Michel Lequien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, Paris 1740, Vol. I, coll. 1001-1002
  14. ^ Pius Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae, Leipzig 1931, p. 450
  15. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 840

External links

43rd Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival

The 43rd Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival (Turkish: 43. Antalya Altın Portakal Film Festivali) was held from September 16 to 23 2006 in Antalya, Turkey. The venue for the award ceremony on September 23, 2007 was moved from the open air amphitheater Aspendos to a smaller one at the Glass Pyramid Sabancı Congress and Exhibition Center in the downtown of Antalya due to bad weather conditions. It was run in conjunction with the 2nd International Eurasia Film Festival.

Antalya Cultural Center

The Antalya Cultural Center (Turkish: Antalya Kültür Merkezi) is a multi-purpose convention complex located in Antalya, Turkey. Inaugurated in 1996, it is owned by the Antalya Culture and Art Foundation (AKSAV). The complex with a total covered area of 9,000 m² consists of two halls and two foyers for exhibition purposes. Home of the State Opera and Ballet, the State Theater and the State Symphony Orchestra in Antalya, the center hosts various cultural and art events, also Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival.

Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival

The Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival (in Turkish: Aspendos Uluslararası Opera ve Bale Festivali) has been organized by the Turkish State Opera and Ballet directorate since 1994 with international participation by opera and ballet companies from several different countries. The festival is held annually each June and July in the two-thousand-year-old ancient Roman Aspendos Theatre of Aspendos, near Antalya, Turkey. The theatre is noted as one of the best preserved antique theatres in the world, with many original features of the building remaining intact.


Belek is a township with own municipality in Serik district in Turkey's Antalya Province. The local population varies between 750 and 10,000 in low and high season, respectively.Belek is one of the centers of Turkey's tourism industry and is as such home to more than thirty four-star and five-star hotels and many other accommodation, services and entertainment facilities.

The town and the surrounding area are famous for their spas and mineral waters received from seven springs.

Belek is a developing golf center. In 2012 it hosted the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final and in 2013 it hosted the Turkish Airlines Open. Belek also the location of Antalya Open, the only professional tennis tournament currently held in Turkey.

The Kurşunlu Waterfall is a place in Belek. There are over 100 bird species living by this natural wonder. The hidden cave at the back of the waterfall is a popular place for visiting. Near Belek there is the Hellenistic city of Perge, which is rated second after Ephesus and the great amphitheater of Aspendos that still today can hold over 15.000 spectators.

The ancient Aspendos amphitheatre holds 20,000 people, is over 2000 years old, and still hosts open-air classical ballet and opera festivals today. The Roman ruins at Perge are some of the best preserved archaeological sites in Turkey. Side is one of the best known classical sites in Turkey.

Diodorus of Aspendus

Diodorus of Aspendus (Greek: Διόδωρος ὁ Ἀσπένδιος) was a Pythagorean philosopher, who lived in the 4th century BC, and was an acquaintance of Stratonicus the musician. He was the student or companion of the Pythagorean philosopher Aresas.

Diodorus is said to have adopted a Cynic way of life, "letting his beard grow, and carrying a stick and a wallet."

Eurymedon Bridge (Aspendos)

The Eurymedon Bridge was a late Roman bridge over the river Eurymedon (modern Köprüçay), near Aspendos, in Pamphylia in southern Anatolia. The foundations and other stone blocks (spolia) of the Roman structure were used by the Seljuqs to build a replacement bridge in the 13th century, the Köprüpazar Köprüsü, which stands to this day. This bridge is characterized by a significant displacement along its mid-line, noticeable by looking at its ancient piers.

Eurymedon Bridge (Selge)

The Eurymedon Bridge (Turkish: Oluk Köprü) is a Roman bridge over the river Eurymedon (modern Köprüçay) near Selge in Pisidia in southern Turkey. It is part of the road winding up from the coastal region Pamphylia to the Pisidian hinterland. Located 5 km north of the village Beşkonak in a sparsely settled area, the bridge crosses the Eurymedon high above the valley bottom.The excellently preserved structure is 14 m long and 3.5 m wide (with a roadway of 2.5 m). The clear span of its single arch is c. 7 m, the thickness of its voussoirs, which were set without the use of mortar, 60 cm. The building technique and the sturdy stonework point to a construction date in the 2nd century AD, a time when Selge was flourishing.42 km downstream at Aspendos, the Eurymedon is crossed by another extant old bridge.

Kravga Bridge

Kravga (or Gravga) Bridge is a historical bridge in Mersin Province, Turkey

Köprüçay River

Köprüçay, ancient Eurymedon (Ancient Greek: Εὐρυμέδων) is a river that is situated in Antalya Province, Turkey, and empties into the Mediterranean.

At its mouth, in the 460s BC (the actual date is highly disputed), the Athenian general Cimon defeated a large Persian force of ships and men moving westwards (Battle of the Eurymedon). The two land and sea battles lasted one day and included Cimon's capture or destruction of the entire Phoenician fleet of 200 triremes.

In 190 BC, a Roman fleet led by Lucius Aemilius Regillus defeated the Seleucid fleet of Antiochus III the Great, led by Hannibal, near the river.

Strabo records a lake he called Caprias near its mouth although the area is today a salt marsh. The Seljuk-era Eurymedon Bridge, which rests on Roman foundations, crosses the river at Aspendos. Further upstream, half-way on the road to ancient Selge, another Roman bridge spans the Eurymedon valley.

List of ancient Greek theatres

This is a list of ancient Greek theatres by location.

List of opera festivals

This is an inclusive list of opera festivals and summer opera seasons, and music festivals which have opera productions. This list may have some overlap with list of early music festivals. Opera is part of the Western classical music tradition, and has long been performed for audiences on a large-scale format. It started in Italy at the end of the 16th century and soon spread through the rest of Europe. In the 18th century, Italian opera continued to dominate most of Europe (except France), attracting foreign composers such as Handel. Opera seria was the most prestigious form of Italian opera, until Gluck reacted against its artificiality with his "reform" operas in the 1760s. Today the most renowned figure of late 18th century opera is Mozart, and his music is at times the featured attraction of opera and early music festivals.

Miss Globe International

Miss Globe is a global beauty pageant group that holds annual events. Currently, Miss Globe is produced simultaneously by three various organizations claiming to be the official organizers. The Miss Globe was first known to public in 1988. In 2010, the pageant was split into three organizations. Miss Globe International, based in Turkey, is produced annually (currently inactive event) by RCA Global Entertainment Co. and organized by Rasim Aydın. Miss Globe based in Albania is yearly produced by another organization, Deliart Association and produced by Petri Bozo. In 2016, a third organizer, Miss Globe Group Inc. based in Ontario, Canada also started to organize an annual Miss Globe pageant headed by Albert Xhaferri and Dickson Ng.Currently, the Miss Globe pageant based in Albania is the recognized successor among organizations of pageant enthusiasts around the world, such as Missosology, Global Beauties, Pageanthology and The


Pamphylia (Ancient Greek: Παμφυλία, Pamphylía, modern pronunciation Pamfylía ) was a former region in the south of Asia Minor, between Lycia and Cilicia, extending from the Mediterranean to Mount Taurus (modern-day Antalya province, Turkey). It was bounded on the north by Pisidia and was therefore a country of small extent, having a coast-line of only about 120 km (75 miles) with a breadth of about 50 km (30 miles). Under the Roman administration the term Pamphylia was extended so as to include Pisidia and the whole tract up to the frontiers of Phrygia and Lycaonia, and in this wider sense it is employed by Ptolemy.

Pamphylian Greek

Pamphylian is a little-attested and isolated dialect of Ancient Greek that was spoken in Pamphylia, on the southern coast of Asia Minor. Its origins and relation to other Greek dialects are uncertain. A number of scholars have distinguished in Pamphylian dialect important isoglosses with Arcadocypriot which allow them to be studied together. Pamphylia means "land of all phyles (tribes)". The Achaeans may have settled the region under the leadership of Amphilochus, Calchas, and Mopsus. However, other cities in Pamphylia were established by different Greek tribes: Aspendos was a colony of Argos, Side was a colony of Aeolian Cyme, Sillyon was a colony of an unknown Greek mother city, and Perga was a colony established by a wave of Greeks from northern Anatolia. The isolation of the dialect took place even before the appearance of the Greek article. Pamphylian is the only dialect that does not use articles other than Mycenean Greek and poetic language.


Serik is a town and district in Antalya Province of Turkey, 38 km (24 mi) east of the city of Antalya, along the Mediterranean coast.

Tamer Peker

Tamer Peker (born 1970 in Istanbul) is a Turkish operatic baritone.

He started as a violinist at the music department of Gazi University in Turkey in 1990. Later he studied singing under Ihsan Ekber and Yalcin Davra. He passed the exam at Antalya State Opera and Ballet and started his career as opera singer there in 1998. He continued his singing education with Luciano Mentefusco. The artist still sings at Antalya State Opera.Performances

Giuseppe Verdi's La traviata as Alfredo Germont at Antalya State Opera, Ankara State Opera and at the Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival

Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana as Alfio, Antalya State Opera

Ruggero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci as Tonio at Antalya State Opera and Opera & Ballet Festival

Giuseppe Verdi's Nabucco as Nabucco at Izmir State Opera and Aspendos International Opera & Ballet Festival

Richard Wagner's The Flying Dutchman as The Dutchman at Izmir State Opera

Georges Bizet's Carmen as Escamillo at Antalya State Opera and Aspendos International Opera & Ballet Festival

Hugo Cole's Asses' Ears as Midas at Antalya State Opera

Baritone in Carmina Burana at Antalya State Opera and Aspendos International Opera & Ballet Festival

Beethoven's 9th Symphony, baritone, at Antalya State Opera

Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly as Sharpless at Antalya State Opera

Tosca as Scarpia at Antalya State Opera

Rusalka as Vodnik at Antalya State Opera

Iolanta as Robert at Antalya State OperaIn 2003, Peker performed with İstanbul State Opera in concert at Kizkulesi and 2010 in a concert in Bulgaria.

Turkish State Opera and Ballet

The State Opera and Ballet (Turkish: Devlet Opera ve Balesi) is the national directorate of opera and ballet companies of Turkey, with venues in Ankara, İstanbul, İzmir, Mersin, Antalya and Samsun. The directorate is bound to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. As of January 2018, Murat Karahan is the General Director.

Zeytintaşı Cave

Zeytintaşı Cave (Turkish: Zeytintaşı Mağarası) is a show cave in Antalya Province, southwestern Turkey. It is a registered natural monument of the country.

The cave is located at Akbaş village in Serik district of Antalya Province. It is at an elevation of 225 m (738 ft) above main sea level on the slope of a hill. Its distance to Serik town is 16 km (9.9 mi) and to Antalya city is 54 km (34 mi). Tourist attraction Aspendos is 10 km (6.2 mi) far from the cave.The cave is enclosed in impermeable limestone formation of Jurassic-Cretaceous period. It was formed on a distinct fault line in northwest-southeast direction. The cave has two interconnected levels with a depth of 14 m (46 ft). The lower gallery is 97 m (318 ft) long and the upper gallery is 136 m (446 ft) long. It features still active stalactites, stalagmites and columns. as well as soda straws of 3 cm (1.2 in) thickness and 70 cm (28 in) length. There are pools between columns.The cave was discovered by the Turkish Highway Administration during preliminary works for road construction in 1997. The upper gallery was opened to public visit as a show cave in 2002. The soda straws inside the cave make it a rare example. Zeytintaşı Cave with its surrounding area of 45.895 ha (113.41 acres) was registered a natural monument on June 27, 2013.

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