The ancient city of Phaselis, which is 15 minutes from Kemer and 45 minutes from Antalya, is among my favorite sea holiday destinations. If you want to listen to nature, without the noise of music, among the historical ruins, this place maybe just for you.
The road turning left at the 44th km of Antalya - Kemer Highway reaches Phaselis Ancient City, mostly within the forest area. Phaselis is one of the most impressive archaeological sites of the region with its beach and picnic areas and its historical texture. With the excavations and landscaping works carried out in cooperation with Ankara University and Antalya Museum, navigation has been made quite comfortable. It is said that the city was founded by the colonists of Rhodes on a small peninsula stretching into the Mediterranean (6th century BC). In the legend of the foundation, the colonists' suggestions of corn or dried fish to the local people were answered with the request of fish. Its geographical location indicates that it is a significant port town. It has three harbors, one to the north of the peninsula, the other to the northeast, and the third to the southwest coast. The Roman geographer Strabon mentions a small lake just behind the middle harbor, which is today a reed area. The portrayals of ancient ships on ports, agoras, and city coins emphasize Phaselis's identity as a commercial harbor. The ancient city must have been established to ship the Taurus Mountain timber's covered with forests to the Mediterranean ports.
Sharing the region's historical fate with its main lines, Phaselis is sometimes shown as Lycia and sometimes Pamphylia Region. It lies on the border of both areas. The city's history starts with Persian in the 5th century BC and continues with, Mausolos of the Carian satrap, Lmyra and Pericles. It is one of the most colorful pages of the city's history. In 333 B.C, Alexander the Great stayed in Phaselis during his expedition from Macedonia to India, and the Phaselis people welcomed Alexander with a golden crown. It is said that the city was famous for its lily oil and roses in this period. Phaselis changed hands many times after Alexander, BC. He became a member of the Lycian Union in 167 and issues union-type coins. After being plundered by the neighboring city Olympos and pirates for a while, BC. It enters Roman rule in 433. This period marks the beginning of restructuring and prosperity that will last at least 300 years in the city. Emperor Hadrian visits the city in 129.
A monumental arch with a single arch was erected in the memory of this visit at the main street entrance starting from the south port. Historians mention that during this prosperous period, the city had troubled days due to the malaria epidemic, which may have been brought about by sailors from Rhodes. From time to time, it was due to a bumblebee raid. In the 5th and 6th centuries, the city was under Byzantine rule. It is among the cities that participated in the Kadıköy Council in Phaselis 451. After the Arab raids in the 7th century, a new period of prosperity began in the 8th century. The last period of city walls and structures are the construction activities of this period. After the Seljuk siege in 1158, Phaselis lost importance due to the earthquakes and the increase in Antalya and Alanya ports' functions. They are completely abandoned at the beginning. Remains of mostly Roman and Byzantine periods have survived to the present day, which is lined on both sides of the main street that forms the city's central axis and connects the North-South ports. The road expands between the agora and the theater, creating a small square. The steps in the southeast corner of the square provide access to the theater and acropolis. Phaselis Theater is a typical small-sized Hellenistic Theater built on the slope of the acropolis. It is understood from the ruins that the stage building was added during the Roman period, and the stage building wall in Byzantium was part of the new walls that protected the city.
If you have an extra day in Antalya, we strongly recommend you to visit Phaselis Ancient City.