From Antalya, it is a short drive to visit an ancient town which lies in the Taurus mountains only 30 km from Antalya but at 1.000 metres. At Termessos, nothing was excavated until now and all the stones lie as the earthquakes had thrown them hundreds of years ago. Even more fascinating for us was the immense necropolis, which was met by the same fate.

Upper city wall of Termessos

A natural park surrounds the area of the ancient city
Walking an old main road
Colonnaded road

The first knowledge of the city dates back to 333 BC, when Alexander the Great surrounded the city and failed to conquer it. Later Termessos was an ally of Rome, and was granted independent status by the Roman Senate in 71 BC, according to which its freedom and rights were guaranteed.

Roman theatre at the top of the mountain

The end of Termessos came when its aqueduct was crushed in an earthquake, destroying the water supply to the city. The city was abandoned during the 5th century, which helps to explain its remarkable state of preservation today.

Huge cisterns were once carved into the ground and filled by the aqueduct
The most impressive part for us was the necropolis, where maybe 200 sarcophagi lie between dense vegetation, most of them thrown off their pedestals by the earthquake or opened by grave robbers.

The dead were placed in these sarcophagi along with their clothing, jewellery, and other rich accoutrements. There are inscriptions calling on the fury of the gods to prevent the sarcophagi from being opened and to scare away grave robbers. The inscriptions also state the fines meted out to those who did not conform to these rules.

Sarcophagi scattered over the hillside
Some still stand looking unharmed
But grave robbers did their job even here
Beautiful decoration with inscription
Unfinished sarcophagus 
Temple tombs along the road into town
Temple of Hadrian
A bit chilly up here

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