The site of Aspendos, in antiquity probably the most important city in Pamphylia and now notable particularly for its splendidly preserved theater, lies some 50km/30mi east of Antalya and 15km/9mi from the coast. It is situated near the village of Belkis in the alluvial plain of the River Köprüirmagi (ancient Eurymedeon), which is navigable in the lower reaches.Aspendos was founded by the Greeks - according to tradition by the legendary Mopsos about 1000 B.C. As with other neighboring towns such as Perge and Side, it enjoyed its most prosperous period under the Romans and as with those cities, its eventual decline was due to the silting up of its harbor and the centralizing policy of the Byzantine Empire.
The outstanding feature of Aspendos is the theater in the lower town, the best preserved and one of the largest in Asia Minor. Built in the A.D. second century by Crespinus Arruntianus and Auspicatus Titianus, the theater has seating for an audience of between 15,000 and 20,000. It has been restored and is now used for music and drama festivals. The semi-circular auditorium, divided into two sections by a broad passage half-way up, has 20 tiers of seating with 10 staircases in the lower half and 19 tiers with 21 staircases in the upper part. Round the top runs a barrel-vaulted colonnade. At either end of the stage are vaulted passages giving access to the orchestra. The two-story stage wall was articulated by slender double columns with Ionic capitals on the lower order and Corinthian capitals on the upper one. The double column flanking the central entrance to the stage had a common broken pediment. The stage itself had a wooden roof suspended by ropes and the auditorium too was probably covered by an awning.
Immediately above the lower town of Aspendos rises the 40m/131ft acropolis hill. Beyond the remains of a small temple and the agora stands the nymphaeum (fountain shrine), once a monumental structure articulated by double columns but now represented only by a wall 32m/105ft long with 10 niches for statues. Adjoining this on the north are the foundations of another building, probably the bouleuterion or council chamber.
To the north of the acropolis hill in Aspendos can be seen remains of an ancient aqueduct and two linked water towers.
Map - Aspendos
Map of Antalya Attractions