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Archaeological sites

The western part of Anatolia, the south eastern corner of Turkey,  possesses  many of the most spectacular classical archaeological sites in the Mediterranean, representing the pinnacle of the architectural achievements of the Greco-Roman world. The degree of preservation of many of these sites is unparalleled and provide an unforgetable impression of this period of history.

Selcuk makes an excellent base from which to explore these sites, nearly all being within a couple of hours drive.  The following pages are aimed at giving a taste of what each site has to offer. We still have many to visit and are constantly updating, so not all these accounts have been completed. The best are described  below. If you are looking for a guide book, then you cannot beat ' Ancient Civilisations and Ruins of Turkey' written by Ekrem Urgal, now in it's 10th edition.

Follow the link for each site in the list below. An indication of the estimated time by car from Selcuk is given along with an idea of how long to expect to spend at the site.

All images are copyright: Nick Vaughan
           Coming soon Alinda 120-150minutes
          Coming soon Alabanda 150minutes
Tetrapyion Aphrodisias
What has to be one of the finest sites in this part of Turkey. The stadium alone is worth the visit, being almost totally intact. However, the high point has to be the museum packed with the sculptures excavated from the site.

This a full day excursion to see everything properly and even then you will want to go back again.
Temple of Apollo Claros
A small site, but worth the visit to see the Temple of Apollo and the cella beneath the temple where it's famous oracle presided. One can recapture a sense of the atmosphere of the mysteries surrounding prophecy.

Usually deserted so one can wander around at leisure. Tends to be rather wet underfoot in spring!
Awe inspiring when one sees the scale of the the Didymaion, the temple dedicated to Apollo.
90 minutes.

Can be done with Priene or Miletus in a day, but trying to do all three is not a good idea if you like to linger and explore the sites properly.
Library of Celsius
A short paragraph of introduction cannot even begin to do justice to this site. It is another essential place to visit. The Library of Celsius, the ampitheatre and Odeon, are just a few of the numerous structures that will inspire. The Terraced Houses should not be missed, with frescoes, mosaics and marble lined halls this gives a taste of Roman luxury living rivalling Pompeii.

Try and avoid middle of day when all cruise ship parties arrive but you will need a whole day to even begin to see things properly.
Zeus temple Euromos
There is little to see here besides the impressive Zeus temple ruins but the fine quality workmanship of the Corinthian capitals and mouldings, as well as the neo-classical character it presents, make it worth a stop.

A stop if visiting Labranda.
Coming soon Herakleia 60minutes
Necropolis Hierapolis
This should be part of any itinerary of the major sites.  The extensive 'city of the dead' is one of the most impressive in the world. There is much else to see including the ampitheatre,  the Roman Baths, a colonaded street and monumental gateway and the Martyrrium of St Philip

Better to stay over one night. There is too much to see here. and one cannot come here without also visiting the famous travertine terraces and pools.
Andron A Labranda
A well preserved site situated in mountains that was a sacred to Zeus.
Besides the Temple of Zeus the other structures are the remains of Royal Palaces and houses reserved for Priests. Fabulous views to the south.

You will need several hours to explore this site,  so worth looking at Euromos on the way.
Coming soon
Magnesia 30minutes
 Ampitheatre Miletus
One of the oldest and most important sites in Ionia. It was a coastal city with four harbours now lying in the middle of a plain. It is a  huge site  dominated by the ampitheatre, but there is much else to see including the Agoras,  Temples, Baths and much more
60 minutes

3-4hours is probably insufficient  to get around all of this site but depending on the time of year and temperature that may be as much as one would want to do!
Beuleterion Nysa
Built across a narrow gorge displaying the extraordinary engineering skills of its builders. Much of stadium that straddled the ravine has collapsed, washed away by turbulent waters.  It is now a city in two halves. The ampitheatre is well preserved. The library,  Agora, Bouleuterion and Roman Baths are essential viewing.

You will probably be alone at this site! You will need several hours to explore.
Temple of Athena Priene
One of the oldest and finest Hellenistic cities to be found anywhere, in a beautiful setting.  A stunning site whose atmosphere recaptures the golden age of Greek civilisation. An essential if you plan to see no others!

So much to see. Allow 3hours to look around. Be sure also to visit the houses behind the Temple of Athena and the geometrically arranged streets beyond the Stoa and Agora.
Artemis temple Selcuk
Whilst the Artemis Temple can no longer claim to be one of the Seven Wonders of the world, there is much also to see in the town, especially the Museum, St John's Basilica, the aqueduct (including the the two tiered portion built by Pollio just south of town)
Things to do when you have a spare hour or  so and are having classical site withdrawal during your stay.