Friday, July 24, 2015

The Ancient City of Sagalassos - City in the Clouds

Antalya City Blog visited The ancient city of Sagalassos and took great photos for you. You can read our recommendations before you visit Sagalassos.

Sagalassos is one of the best-preserved ancient cities in Turkey. Only 7km from Ağlasun, it has been excavated since 1990 by archaeologists from the University of Leuven, Belgium. Local people from Ağlasun have worked on the archaeological excavations and restorations since they began. The beautiful site and its restored monuments are perfect examples of their hard work and talent.

The ancient city of Sagalassos Entry Fee 10 TL per person.

Today at Sagalassos visitors can see an impressive ancient city square (agora) with a restored and functioning  monumental fountain, gateway arches and 13m high honorary columns. The site features a huge Roman bath complex, library, urban mansion with more than 80-rooms, and theatre with seating for up to 9000 people, as well as other monuments from the city’s 1000-year history. Excavated finds -some unique and famous- can be seen at the Burdur Museum.

Conquered by Alexander the Great in 333 BC, Sagalassos flourished after joining the Roman Empire in 25 BC. The city was an export center for pottery and agricultural products throughout antiquity. Named the Metropolis of Pisidia, Sagalassos underwent a period of unprecedented building activity that began during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD) and endowed the city with the monuments visitors see today.

The city declined after earthquakes and a plague in the 600s. Sagalassos survives today in Ağlasun, whose name is derived from the ancient city. Ağlasun was established in the 13th century under the Selçuk dynasty, when a caravansaray and hamam were built near the current town square. It was a thriving center in the 16th century, when it hosted a regional market.

In 1706, Paul Lucas, traveling in southwest Turkey on a mission for the court of Louis XIV, came upon the mountaintop ruins of Sagalassos. The first Westerner to see the site, Lucas wrote that he seemed to be confronted with remains of several cities inhabited by fairies. Later, during the mid-nineteenth century, William Hamilton described it as the best preserved ancient city he had ever seen. Toward the end of that century, Sagalassos and its theater became famous among students of classical antiquity. Yet large scale excavations along the west coast at sites like Ephesos and Pergamon, attracted all the attention. Gradually Sagalassos was forgotten...until a British-Belgian team led by Stephen Mitchell started surveying the site in 1985.

Since 1990, Sagalassos has become a large-scale, interdisciplinary excavation of the Catholic University of Leuven, directed by Marc Waelkens. We are now exposing the monumental city center and have completed, or nearly completed, four major restoration projects there. We've also undertaken an intensive urban and geophysical survey, excavations in the domestic and industrial areas, and an intensive survey of its vast territory. Whereas the former document a thousand years of occupation, from Alexander the Great to the seventh century, 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.

How to Get There

How to Reach Ağlasun

With Your Own Transportation

Ağlasun is easy to reach with your own vehicle. Roads are good but drivers should carry tire chains between October and April in case of snow.

From Antalya City Center (115 km, 1:15): take Highway D650 towards Burdur for 83km, and then turn east toward Ağlasun on Highway D685.

From Lara or Eastern Antalya: take Highway D685 towards Isparta. After 96km, a clearly marked turnoff directs you to Ağlasun (130km, 1:30).

From Burdur (35 km, 0:45): take Highway D650 south towards Antalya until you see the left-hand turnoff for Ağlasun.

From Isparta (40 km, 0:45): take Highway D685 south towards Antalya and take the right-hand turnoff for Ağlasun.

By Public Transportation

Regular minibuses go to Ağlasun from nearby Antalya, Burdur, and Isparta. Look for the minibuses that say ‘Ağlasun/Sagalassos’.

From the Antalya Otogar: go to the İlçe Terminali (Provincial Terminal), across the outdoor breezeway from the main hall. The Ağlasun Coop buses leave at 11:00, 15:30, and 17:45. The coop doesn’t have an office, so look for the minibuses outside. You can also take the Bucak Coop minibuses to the town of Bucak (10/day, 1:30), and then from Bucak to Ağlasun (10/day, 0:45).

From Burdur: Ağlasun Coop minibuses leave from the otogar (10/day, 00:50)

From Isparta: minibuses for Ağlasun leave from the Köy Garajı (Village Terminal) 15 times per day (0:50). Note: the Köy Garajı is not at the main Otogar; take a service bus or a taxi between the two.

Enjoy the adventure! 

How to Reach Sagalassos from Ağlasun

If you arrive in Ağlasun by car or taxi, a scenic and winding road going up the mountain will guide you to the ancient city. Entrance to the archaeological site is about 7km north of the town centre.

If you arrive in Ağlasun by minibus, you can ask at the office of the minibus cooperation about the possibility of taking another one up to the site.

Usually a taxi is also available and can be found parked near the monumental plane tree in the town centre.

Another alternative to get to Sagalassos from Ağlasun is to go by foot. We recommend you take the route described in the booklet Exploring Ağlasun rather than taking the asphalt road to the site.

Note: All photos  belongs to the Antalya City Blog.  Benefited from the governor's office for information.


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