The City of Perge

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The first settlements could be proved to have existed on the table mountain as early as in the 4th millennium B.C. This place is first named Parha in contracts dating back to 1235 B.C. In the seventh century the immigration of Greeks left its mark on this settlement. Various finds proved narrow liens to Cyprus. Alexander the Great annected the settlement and would subdue it under Pergamon hegemony. After its conquest by the Romans in A.D. 73 Perge became the capital of the province Lycia et Pamphylia. The size of the theatre at Perge gives an impressive testimony of its former importance. It was able to accommodate 14,000 persons. Directly adjacent to the theatre is a well-preserved stadium allowing space for 15,000 spectators. The major portion of the city lies inside the mighty entrance gates. In the city centre you can see an agora, a circular temple, palace ruins originating from the imperial era, and the fragments of further buildings. Nowadays, to a large extent, the city is still covered with reed and other plants.

Aspendos

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The first settlements could be proved to have existed on the table mountain as early as in the 4th millennium B.C. This place is first named Parha in contracts dating back to 1235 B.C. In the seventh century the immigration of Greeks left its mark on this settlement. Various finds proved narrow liens to Cyprus. Alexander the Great annected the settlement and would subdue it under Pergamon hegemony. After its conquest by the Romans in A.D. 73 Perge became the capital of the province Lycia et Pamphylia. The size of the theatre at Perge gives an impressive testimony of its former importance. It was able to accommodate 14,000 persons. Directly adjacent to the theatre is a well-preserved stadium allowing space for 15,000 spectators. The major portion of the city lies inside the mighty entrance gates. In the city centre you can see an agora, a circular temple, palace ruins originating from the imperial era, and the fragments of further buildings. Nowadays, to a large extent, the city is still covered with reed and other plants.

Phaselis

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According to Strabo Phaselis – the city with three harbours – had already been used as a merchant port by the Phoenicians. Ancient authors also report that the city was founded in the year 690 B.C., by Greek immigrants from Rhodes.Around 400 B.C., the renowned speechwriter Theodektes was born here and, at the turn of the years 334 to 333 B.C., Alexander the Great would spend the winter on his campaign against the Persians. After the death of Alexander, during the Diadoch wars, Phaselis was subdued to Ptolemaeic rule. In 189 B.C., on Roman order, it falls under the hegemony of Rhodes. In 100 B.C., Phaselis – alike Olympos – was conquered by pirates under the leadership of Zeniketes and, after its liberation, became part of the Roman province Lycia et Pamphylia. Although Phaselis was visited by the Emperor Hadrian even in A.D. 129 its harbour gradually lost its importance due to the permanent expansion of Antalya. In the 12th century, the city was finally abandoned.

Myra/Derme

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Myra is situated in the modern province of Antalya and was an ancient city in Lycia, during the era of Roman and Greek rule. Myra represented the sixth biggest city of the Lycic Federation and became an administrative centre and the seat of a bishop after its separation from the region of Pamphylia (A.D. 401 thru 450).A sight to see is the impressive situation of the ancient Roman theatre on a slope accommodating many rocky burial places we unfortunately can only look upon from below.Truly fascinating are the ruins of the theatre. It is a Roman theatre (cavea – hollow) consisting of rows of seats arranged in a semicircle and gradually ascending, with several accesses: thus, it really represents a panoramic theatre where the audience enjoyed a wide view of the city and its surrounding landscape.Rights to seats were allocated strictly according to political, economic, and social background; the theatre at Myra had room for 12,000 visitors.Typical for Roman theatres is a stage complex consisting of the stagehouse (scaena) and the very stage (pulpitum). The latter was provided with a roof to protect the actors from adverse weather. Impressive was the front: adorned with splendid margins, windows, and niches.

Myra once was situated directly on the sea; yet, the ancient harbour of Andriake is today situated at about 5 kms southwest of Demre: it is silted up. The foundation of the harbour can reliably be dated during the early Hellenistic era; the apostle Paul landed here in the year 59 on his journey to Rome.During the early Byzantine era, Myra reached a peak owing to its docks. Six churches give an impressive testimony of the wealth of the city, as well as the bathing houses and the mentioned theatre. The city, although, was buried in the course of the centuries under the mud of the river Demre; it is only in 1965, and in 1968, that the excavation of ruins began, initiated by the German archaeologist Mr. Jürgen Borchhardt.Myra was the seat of a bishop: from A.D. 300 on, Nikolaus held this office. There are many stories about his person; not every story can be verified. He was born at Patara (Lycia) about 280/86, and he died about 345/351. Nikolaus of Myra is the patron saint of Russia, Croatia, and Serbia, as well as of all merchants, sailors, pupils, and children; his name signifies „Victor(ious one) of the people“. The basilica of Myra had often been enlarged and alterated through the centuries; its contemporary architecture comprising three naves originates in the foundation walls erected in the 8th century; a monastery completed the complex in the 11th century, the monks, then, being charged with the maintenance of this place of pilgrimage.Very carefully preserved have been the Byzantine frescoes on the ceiling and walls, as well as the Roman sarcophagi which had been reused from spoils (from Latin spolium meaning spoils, prey, things taken from an enemy).

Today, Nikolaus of Myra is a well-known personality in many countries, under many names: Sviatoi Nikolai (Russia), Sveti Nikolaj (Slovenia), Sveti Nikola (Croatia and Serbia), Sint Nicolaas, or Sinterklaas (Netherlands and Flanders).Nikolaus has always been one of the most popular catholic saints. In the Russian Orthodox Church, to Nikolaus is dedicated – beside Christ and Mary with her child – the third big icon on the iconostasis of the churches.On the 6th of December, 2007 the Greek Orthodox ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople could celebrate a service according to the Greek Orthodox liturgy in the basilica of Myra – now dedicated to Saint Nikolaus – following the restauration of the church owing to a donation of the Ministry of Education and the Arts.

Olympos

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Olympos was founded as a mountain city on the mountain – today called Musa Dagi – south of its harbour Korykos which, since about A.D. 130, was named after the Emperor Hadrian. Reason for this was the stagnation of the mountain city – now renamed Hadrianopolis -, whereas the harbour was flourishing in the peace of the Roman empire. Mustafa Adak: „Situation of Olympos and Korykos in eastern Lycia“.
Buildings and coins speak for a foundation during the Hellenistic era. As animportant member to the Lycic federation, the city is mentioned at the beginning of the 1st century B.C., yet became – alike the city of Phaselis in its proximity – the victim of pirates who ensconced themselves here under the leadership of a certain Zeniketes. In 77 B.C. Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus inflicted a crushing defeat on these pirates and Zeniketes, not knowing a way out anymore in his fortress on the Olympos, set his house alight, burning himself and his family.Thereafter, the city could no more aquire its former wealth during the Roman era under the Emperor Hadrian although, once again, it took an upward trend.

Nevertheless, Olympos was famous for its cult about Hephaistos, which is to be seen as immediately connected to the nearby „eternal flame, eternal fire“ of Chimaira (Lycia). In the 3rd century Olympos is once more mentioned as the seat of a bishop – yet, in the 15th century the last remaining inhabitants finally abandoned the city.

== Ruines==

Olympos is situated – for a long time in oblivion – on both sides of a little brook where the remains of a bridge can still be seen, originally linking both parts of the city to one another. Today, the ruins of the ancient buildings are dilapidated and to a large extent overgrown, like the small Roman theatre. A former lake is boggy today – situated here are the remains of a temple built in the 2nd century. A remarkable sight is the necropolis comprising numerous graves and inscriptions, yet not displaying any Lycic characeristics.Beside the remains of a Byzantine basilica, remains of a settlement situated on a hill illustrate the impoverishment of the settlement in the course of the Middle Ages. A castle ruin above the beach stands for one of the numerous merchant and military bases of the republic of Genoa and ought to be dated back into the 14th century. Adding to these are some sarcophagi uncovered in the course of the excavations accomplished in the years 2000 thru 2006, unfortunately showing substantial destruction.Beside the ruins, the nearby pebble beach of a length of about 3 kms represents another attraction for the visitors of Olympos

Termessos

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This place is first mentioned historically on the occasion of its unsuccessful siege by Alexander the Great 334/333 B.C., the history of the city supposedly dating back into the 2nd century B.C. Neither Alexander the Great nor any successive besieger was able to conquer this ingeniously fortified city.Termessos reached its peak between the year 100 B.C., and A.D. 200, after Rome had formed an alliance with the pontic king Mithridates. Such narrow liens with Rome did not only yield splendid buildings and welcome liberties to the inhabitants but also some quite remarkable wealth.In the course of the Byzantine reign the city lost its importance more and more and allegedly was abandoned by its inhabitants about the end of the 4th century, following an earthquake.In architecture of the major part of the ruins you can still visit today is to be backdated into the flourishing period under Roman protection.