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An imposing and historical masterpiece to the east of Antalya, the ruins of the ancient city of Aspendos are an awe inspiring sight. Famous for its fabled ancient amphitheatre, aqueducts and magical history, the ruins themselves are a stunning visual for the history of the city of Aspendos which can be traced as far back as 1000 BC. In the fifth century BC, the city had established itself as an important hub for trade and industries making it an integral part of the ancient kingdom. Located on the banks of the river Koprucay, the city was once directly accessible by the sea and mighty ships would sail the waters to reach the harbor of Aspendos. However, with the recession in the water levels of the river, Aspendos is now many kilometers inline from the sea today.

While the city lies in ruins today, a painstaking amount of restoration and conservation has helped to cement Aspendos on the international tourist map. People travel from all over the world to witness the 2nd century amphitheatre in particular, one of the best preserved outside Rome and a truly incredible sight that evokes vivid images of a time long ago. The imposing structure is 315 feet tall, built in a colosseum style and was conceptualized by local architect Xenon back in 185 AD under the patronage of Marcus Aurelius. Originally, this theatre was built in the memory of late Roman emperors and the Roman Gods above them. The theatre at Aspendos is also famous for its flawless acoustic system that can magnify the speaker's voice in all corners and every year, the International Opera is held in the Aspendos theatre to highlight art with a spellbinding backdrop.

Today, some parts of the city's walls and three citadel gates are still visible while, you can also spot remnants of the Agora, the Basilica, the aqueducts, the Necropolis, the marble streets and archways that had once defined the lifestyle of the place they inhabited. To the north of the Agora, one can also see the Bouleuterion, a second century structure which has somehow managed to stand the test of time. In the southern part of the city, you can also still find ruins of the luxurious Turkish baths that whisper stories of the grandeur which once made Aspendos appear so overwhelming.

Towards the north of Agora, an enchanting archway leads up the north of the hill which is known as the marble archway an this ancient path extends to a small square in the city. The ruins of the Necropolis and the Nymphaion are two other major attractions in Aspendos, which are worthwhile and infused with a rich history like most monuments in the area.

The ruins of Aspendos are spellbinding from the sheer scale itself and as a traveler wanders across the steps at the ruins, one cannot help but marvel at the elegance of these structures and the amazing detail of the carvings that lay strewn about in the city. As you look up at the splendor of Aspendos, a little humility creeps in while you recall the illustrious history of the Byzantine Empire which flourished in such beautiful surroundings.
Altamash Mir
Altamash Mir
Health Care Consultant & Blogger based out of Chicago, IL.

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