The ancient city of Termessos, which is one of the highest above sea level among the ancient cities in Turkey, is a very important city with its glorious past that did not even give Alexander the Great a passage, but it is a city that has not yet been taken care of.
The name Termessos comes from one of the oldest languages of Anatolia, Luwian, where the word Terme means Mountain-Passage and Assa means High Fortress.
Termessos, located in the southwestern part of the Psidian region called Milyas, which includes today’s Burdur, Isparta, Afyon and the west of Konya, was founded by the Solyms, the descendants of the Luwians, one of the oldest peoples of Anatolia.
Alexander the Great, who wanted to besiege the city in 333 BC, could not overcome the strong defense of Termessos. Termessos, which was the only city in Anatolia that Alexander the Great could not capture during his Asian campaign, kept good relations with Rome, the heir of the Pergamon Kingdom, after Alexander the Great died, and the city started to develop well with a treaty they signed.
The city, which was severely damaged by earthquakes in the 5th and 9th centuries AD, could not be repaired again, and the people living in the city had to migrate to other Pamphylia and Lycia cities.
If you are going to visit Termessos, located at the top of Güllük Mountain, you should definitely bring water with you. There are no facilities in the city, so you may be in a difficult situation in that heat.
You also need to have good trekking shoes. Otherwise, you may have difficulty getting out of the stony paths or you may tear your shoes/slippers. I saw an abandoned and torn sandal on the road.
Also, it would be in your favor if you dress as closed as possible, because you are going to a place with many insects, ticks and snakes. If you are curious about the map of the ancient city of Termessos, you can find it here.
As you drive up, you may come across some ruins of the city. The remains of the towers and walls of the city, the entrance gate of the city are among the ruins you will see on the way.
The last point of the city is used as a water tank and a soldier’s grave. Most of the city has been badly damaged by earthquakes and most of it is in ruins. However, at the same point you can come across a standing Hadrian’s Gate.
Starting from the signboard, you have to go 600 meters up the king’s road through the greenery. On the way up, you will see a drainage system and tunnels were built to dispose of the water from the melting of heavy rain and snow without contaminating the city. If you continue, you can take pleasant photos in the wonderful view of Termessos.
The area with the view is the colonnaded street of the city. The colonnaded street, which is the promenade of the city, is lined with shops on the sides, but today they are all in ruins.
When you continue past the Colonnaded Street and the Stoa of Attalos, built during the reign of King Attalos II of Pergamon, we come across the ancient theater, which is still standing.
Built in the Hellenistic period, the 5 thousand-seat ancient theater is the most intact structure of the ancient city of Termessos. The ancient theater, leaning against the slope of the mountain like every Hellenistic period theater, fought well against earthquakes.
Where is Termessos National Park and how to get there?
Termessos Ancient City, which stopped Alexander the Great, has been declared as Termessos National Park and Protected Area due to the diversity of its fauna.
To reach Termessos Ancient City, which is 37 km away from Antalya, follow the Termessos signs you will see on the main road when you are on the Antalya – Denizli road on E87. After making the payment at the toll booth, you have to cover 9 km more of bumpy and winding roads.
Although no excavations have been carried out yet, Termessos Ancient City is in a very good condition compared to other ancient cities, and it seems that a very good city will emerge if excavations are started.