The ancient city of Elaiussa Sebaste, which is little known in Mersin, lies beneath the town of Ayaş. The city, some of which can be seen today, was built around the 2nd century BC. Excavations in the city have not yet been finalized. A large part of the ancient city, some of which has been uncovered until today, is still under the ground as in many ancient cities.
Elause Sebaste Ancient City, which was born from the establishment of the city of Elaiussa, which means olive grove, and the combination of the cities of Sebasta, which according to Strabo was the name given under the rule of the Romans, was in the form of an island with large bays on both sides. It was also an important port city providing trade between east and west. However, the city started to lose its importance as time went by after its merger with the mountains behind it. The city of Sebaste, which means glorious and happy, was founded by Arkhelaos next to Elaioussa and Elaiussa was an island under Sebaste’s patronage. Afterwards, the two cities merged and continued their lives in this way.
Historical buildings such as the theater, agora and basilica built during the period can be seen from the road. Between 1995 and 1999, excavations were carried out and the theater was opened to the public after the consolidation works. The 23-step theater has a capacity of 2300 spectators. The city does not look like it is under protection. Various houses were built around it. For example, there are houses at the top of the theater area. There is no protection to protect these historical structures
During the excavations of the Byzantine Church, which was built in the agora during the Byzantine period in the 5th century AD, tombs made of marble were found. Along with the skeletons, finds, buckles and bracelets belonging to the deceased are among the things found in the graves. However, all the structures built were destroyed especially due to the earthquake and most of them were destroyed. Apart from the theater, you can only see a few basilicas and agora walls.
The necropolis area behind the city is a must-see. However, most of the necropolis is surrounded by houses and lemon groves. There is even a village where people live in the area where the necropolis tombs are located. Especially in Kızkalesi, an ancient road was built between the ancient city and this city. You can come across many sarcophagi and mausoleums on this road.
Elause Sebaste Ancient City is located between Mersin and Kızkalesi. The city, which is on the Silifke – Mersin road and 4 km from Kızkalesi, is 55 km from Mersin.