An ancient legend tells about the founding of Antalya: One day Attalos II summoned his servant and dispersed them on the four winds, saying, “Go and find me a place so beautiful that all the kings and rulers will covet it; go and find me the paradise on earth” For months, the soldiers travelled to lands far and wide , and though they encountered many beautiful places, they could not find a place whose heavenly beauty could satisfy their king. That is, until they arrived in the lands where today’s Antalya is...Confronted with natural beauty is such abundance, they were convinced that is was the paradise that their king has descirebed. They returned to Pergamum expeditiously to tell their king that they had found the paradise. Afterwords , Attalos naturally wanted to see the area for himself and fallowed his soldiers on a journey to the shores of the Mediterranean. Finally, they reached shore where the lushly forested foothills of the Tourus Mountains met the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. The king, seeing the fine yellow sand of the beaches blend with the blue of the sky and the deeper blue of the sea that reflected the green of the virgin forests was instantly spellbound. He immediately ordered that a city be built there, as he was convinced that it was the most beautiful spot in the World. İn his honour the city built was named “Attaleia” ( city/home of Attalos).
Its unique collection of artefacts sheedding light on the entire history of the region renders the Antalya Museum one of the leading museums of the World. It was acknowledged as a specially commended museum by the Council of Europe in 1988 and granted with an award. Antalya Museum contains many distinguished works of art enlightening the history of the whole region. The museum’s chronologyically and thematically ordered exhibition halls display the cultural history of the region in detail. There are numerous masterpieces on display which will attract your interest as they are the finest examples of their period.
The Aspendos Theatre, praised by the famous travellers cited above, amongst others, in one of the most magnificent and well- preserved buildings in the World, and it is the best surviving example of the theatre built by the Romans is Asia and Africa. According to its inscription, it was built during the region of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180) by the architect Zeno, son of Theodoros. The seçene building, stone paved orchestra, and the cavea with a seating capacity of approximately 15-20,000 spectators are the main components of the theatre. The top of cavea was lined with an arched portico. The building is one of the pinnacles of ancient architecture, and it has an excellent plan and superb acoustics. The building has an introverted appearance, an even the slightest tune touched in the orchestra can be heard loud and clear in every part of the cavea, even in the upper galleries. That feature found its way into the legend of the building of the theatre:
Once upon a time the king of the region decided to give his doughter as a bride to the citizen who had done the most benefical deed fort he country. Many asked for the princess’hand in marriage, but only two of them passed the discerning criteria of the king. One of them had built an aqueduct that brought water to the city from far away, and the other had built a magnificent theatre for city. The king first thought to give his doughter’s hand to the man who had built the aqueducts. However, his doughter who most probably fell in love with the other man, asked his father to visit the theatre once more before making up his mind. Father and doughter went together to the theatre, and climbed to the upper gallery. At the same time the architect was pacing the orchestra, oblivious to the presence, hands clasped behind his back and head bowed, while murmuring to himself, “ The doughter of the king must be mine”. Despite his very low voice his words were clearly heard by the king, who was so impressed by the fantastic acoustics of the theatre that have gave the hand of his doughter to the architect. The couple’s marriage ceremony was also held in theatre.
At present the theatre is the venue of the annuel “Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival”. There is not much more that can be said about the Aspendos Theatre. It is a magnificent building unlike anything you have seen before.
Ancient city of Perge is situated within the boundaries of Aksu, a town 17 kilometres east of the Antalya city centre. The city believed to be in existence during the Hittite Period and known as “Parha” became one of the most orderly cities of Anatolia during the Roman Period. The city became famous for its achitecture and marble sculpting, and the statues unearthed during the excavations of the ancient city have rendered the Antalya Museum one of the most important collections of its type in the World.
The basis of the city plan of Perge is two main roads, one extending in an easth-west direction, and the other in a north-south direction. The 15,000-seat theatre is quite well preserved. The two storey elaborately decorated stage building across the cavea was built during the 2and century AD. The artefacts found there are today on permanent display at the “Hall of Perge Theatre” in the Antalya Museum. The excellence of those sculptures reflects the unique style of the Perge ecole of sculpting.
Another pricipal structure of the ancient city of Perge is the stadium was built in the 2nd century BC to the North of the theatre, and the spectators section has a capacity of about 12,000 seats. Other social and cultural buildings reflecting the majesty of the city in Antiquity are the rentangular planned agora, high towers, monumental fountains, bathhouses and column lined streets.