Aspendos is located 44 kilometers away from the center of Antalya and approximately 4 kilometers away from the Antalya-Alanya highway. The city is famous for its spectacular Roman theater, which is not only the best-preserved theater in Turkey but also in the entire Mediterranean region. Aspendos was founded on two hills and was one of the wealthiest cities in the region during ancient times. Today, visitors can stop by to see the splendid Roman theater, which is well-preserved and hosts various festivals and international activities organized by art associations or the Turkish government.


According to Greek legend, Aspendos was founded by Argive colonists under the leadership of hero Mopsos from Athens after the Trojan War. Although Aspendos did not have a significant political role during the Hittite period, it became a prosperous settlement during the Lycian period. The city was occupied by the Persians in 546 BC, but it continued to maintain its importance and autonomy, as evidenced by its ability to mint its own currency during the Persian rule.

In 467 BC, the statesman and military commander Cimon launched a surprise attack on the Persian navy at the mouth of the river Köprüçay, destroying their fleet of 200 ships. Despite this victory, the city was later seized again by the Persians and used as a base.

In 333 BC, when Alexander the Great conquered Perge, the people of Aspendos sent messengers to him requesting that they be exempted from the heavy taxes that were previously paid to the Persian kings if they surrendered without a fight. Alexander agreed to the request and went to Side, leaving a garrison in the city. After Alexander’s death, Aspendos came under the control of the Ptolemies and the Seleucids, and later fell into the hands of the Pergamum Kingdom in 133 BC. In 79 BC, Cilician Gaius Verres plundered Aspendos, and it later became a Roman town in the province of Asia. Aspendos reached its heyday, along with other Pamphylia cities, in the second and third centuries AD.

When the Roman Empire was divided into two parts, Aspendos was considered a Byzantine town and lost its importance. After Arab raids in the 10th and 11th centuries AD, the Turks began ruling the whole area in the 13th century AD as a Seljuk settlement for nomads, and Aspendos eventually became an Ottoman town in the 14th century AD. When Turkey was refounded in 1923, Aspendos was added to the city of Antalya as a small town.

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When visitors come to Aspendos, they are astounded by the beauty of the Roman theatre. It is the most perfectly functioning Roman theatre ever constructed. The theatre was built on a hillside in accordance with Greek tradition. Nowadays, visitors enter the structure through the door that was built during the Roman period. In reality, the original entry used to be two vaulted paradoses at either end of the stage. The cavea—the spectators’ seat—is semi-circular and divided by a wide diasoma. The theatre has twenty-one rows of seating above and twenty below—with the wealthy seated below and the less-fortunate above—a classification of sorts. Wide steps were built to accommodate the audience’s challenges.
The arched galleries, extending to a length of 59, were constructed at a later date, stretching from one end to the other of the upper cavea. Following protocol, lodges above the entrances on both sides of the cavea were reserved for the imperial family, with the first row assigned to senators, judges, and ambassadors, and the second row for other notables of the city, beginning with the orchestra. The remaining parts of the theatre were used for the general public, while women usually occupied the upper rows beneath the galleries. This theatre had a seating capacity of 20,000 spectators. Undoubtedly, the most impressive element of the theatre is its stage building.
A two-storey stone masonry building, with five doors, provides entrance to the artist beneath the lower floor. The large central door is known as the Porta Regia, with two smaller doors on either side, known as the Hospitales. The small doors at orchestra level open to long corridors, once used to house wild animals. A Dionysus relief, god of wine, is in the middle of the pediment on the colonnaded upper floor, signifying the theater’s founder and patron. The upper part of the stage building is covered with a highly ornamental wooden roof. Aspendos Theater is renowned for its remarkable acoustics.
Even the faintest sound emanating from the center of the orchestra can be clearly heard in the upper galleries of the Aspendos Theater, which was constructed during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius in 165 AD by the architect Zeno Theodoros as noted in an article in the Southern Parados. There were no ticket prices for performances held in the theater, and tragedies sometimes took hours to perform, so there were shops in the upper gallery for spectators.

One of the most important historical buildings in Aspendos is the Roman aqueduct. This remarkable feat of engineering consists of a series of arches that were used to bring water into the city from the northern mountains, located around 5 kilometres away. The arches stand at a height of 15 meters from the water source, and the water is collected in towers that measure 30 meters in height at the end of each arch. Pebbles and charcoal were used to filter the water before it was distributed to the city’s many districts via earthenware pipes. An inscription found in Aspendos indicates that the aqueduct was built by Tiberius Claudius Italicus as a gift to the city in the 2nd century AD.


Aspendos Turkey is truly a sight to behold, and no trip to Turkey would be complete without a visit to this ancient wonder. Tour Maker Turkey offers a variety of tours to Aspendos, providing the opportunity to explore the ancient theater, the aqueducts, and the tombs of the kings. Our experienced tour guides will lead you through the city’s history and its many attractions, giving you an unforgettable experience.

Our tours are tailored to provide a unique and personalized experience, with a focus on local culture and history. We are dedicated to making your Aspendos experience one to remember. On our tours, you can enjoy a variety of activities, including traditional Turkish meals, shopping at the local markets, and learning about the area’s history and culture. You will also have the opportunity to explore the ruins of the ancient theater, the aqueducts, and the tombs of the kings. We also offer an optional tour to the nearby harbor city of Side, where you can enjoy its beautiful beaches, fascinating ruins, and the ruins of the ancient Temple of Apollo.

This optional tour will give you the chance to explore the rich history and culture of this coastal city. At Tour Maker Turkey, we understand that visiting a new destination can be both exciting and intimidating. Our experienced tour guides make sure that your experience is both memorable and safe, and they are always willing to answer any questions that you may have. We strive to ensure that your time in Aspendos is one you will never forget.

So why not come experience the history and culture of this ancient wonder with us? Book your Aspendos Tour with Tour Maker Turkey today and make sure you don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Experience the beauty and history of Aspendos—book your guided tour with Tour Maker Turkey today!