Ancient city of Side is accepted as one of the most visited and best historical sights in the Antalya region. The site dates back to the 2nd century AD and situated on a very visible place, on the end of the peninsula of Side resort. The historical site is home to several archaeological wonders that attract thousands of tourists every year.
- Side was originally founded in the 7th century BC by Greek settlers, but later became a major Roman city.
- The city was strategically located on a small peninsula and was known for its thriving port, which was used for trade with other Mediterranean nations.
- Some of the most impressive archaeological sites in Side include the Temple of Apollo, the ancient amphitheater, and the agora (marketplace).
- The Temple of Apollo is particularly notable for its stunning architecture and is believed to have been built in the 2nd century AD.
- Side’s ancient amphitheater could seat up to 15,000 spectators and was used for a variety of events, including gladiator fights and theatrical performances.
- In addition to its ancient ruins, Side is also home to a charming old town with narrow streets, traditional Turkish houses, and plenty of shops and restaurants.
- Side was founded in the 7th century BC by Greek colonists from Cyme in Aeolis, Asia Minor.
- The city was later occupied by Persians, Alexander the Great, and Romans, who turned it into a prosperous port city.
- In the 5th century AD, Side was struck by an earthquake that destroyed most of the city’s structures, but it was rebuilt and continued to flourish until the 10th century.
- The city was abandoned in the 12th century and remained deserted until the 20th century when it was rediscovered by archaeologists.
- The most famous landmark in Side is the ancient theater, which was built in the 2nd century AD and could seat up to 15,000 spectators.
- The Temple of Apollo is another popular attraction, built in the 2nd century AD and dedicated to the Greek god of the sun, Apollo.
- The Roman bathhouse, agora, and city walls are also well-preserved and worth visiting.
- The Side Museum showcases artifacts from the city’s history, including ancient coins, statues, and mosaics.
What to See?
The Archaeological site is situated on the Side peninsula just by the coast, and along a very well preserved Old Town. The site include;
- an Agora,
- a Roman Amphitheater,
- a Roman Bathhouse serving as Side Museum with Greco-Roman exhibits,
- a monumental fountain (Nymphaeum),
- Temple of Apollo & Athena.
The Roman Theater is a unique part of the ancient city. It is situated along the narrow part of the peninsula. It has a Roman architecture and refers to the Hellenistic tradition.
The structure has a half moon shape and features good samples of the Roman architecture.
Here, you’ll come up to several cultural events such as music concerts especially during summer months. Most of them are free of charge.
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Roman Bathhouse – Side Museum
The Roman bathhouse is a 2nd century structure. It was was converted into Side Museum in 1959-1961. The Museum exhibits variety of artifacts and findings from the excavations made on the archaeological site.
The Three Beauties Sculpture dating back to 2nd century is a must see piece at the museum. It symbolizes the elegance, beauty and abundance, and represents Hera, Aphrodite and Athena.
Sculptures, torso portraits, relief sarcophagi and ash urns, inscriptions, altars, amphoras, frieze columns, column capitals, pediments, architectural elements and coins are the other items you can admire at the museum.
The Monumental Fountain (the Nymphaeum) is an eye-catching structure situated right at the entrance of the city. It is also accepted as the biggest fountain from ancient times on the Anatolia region.
Here you’ll see the ruins of a fountain with a 3-storey plan. Several sculptures taken from the site are currently displayed at the Side Museum.
The Temple of Apollo and Athena
The Temple of Apollo and Athena is the most visited and the most popular landmark in Side. It dates back to the 2nd century and has been dedicated to the Greek god of light and sun.
Temple of Apollo and Athena rise on the Side coast and attracts its visitors with their glorious columns. They are situated just a few meters from each other.
The biggest and well preserved structure here is the Temple of Apollo with standing marble columns, while there is not much you remnants from the Temple of Athena.
The Temple of Apollo takes its name from the god of light, sun and beauty, that was once the main god of Side. And Athena was one of the guardian gods of Side.
The area is also great place to watch the sunset. Many visit here, sit between the marble arches and watch the sunset in the company of scenic views of the Mediterranean and take photos.
Top-Rated Historic Side Tours from Antalya
Visiting Hours & Admissions
Open every day between 08:30-19:30 (from 01 April to 01 October), 08:30-17:30 (from 01 October to 01 April).
* check prices from muze.gov.tr
How to Get to There?
Ancient city of Side is situated right at the seaside of the resort. About 74 km. from Antalya town center. See the location map.
* Alternatively, you can take the public bus to Side.
Address: Side town center, Side/Antalya
Tel: +90 242 753 15 42