5 hidden archaeological treasures of Turkish Riviera

Summertime has just begun and the holiday season is coming. Every year hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers arrive to the Turkish Riviera, the coastal strip of Mediterranean region of Turkey between Antalya and Alanya. Most of them will spend their leisure time sunbathing, swimming and dancing in numerous nightclubs. Some of these holidaymakers, however, will decide to take a trip to some of the region's most famous archaeological sites. You have most probably already heard of, or even visited, such places as Side, Aspendos or Perge.

The aqueduct in Selinus
The aqueduct in Selinus

Monumental gate and Vespasian monument in Side

The monumental gate, situated next to the theater, led in Roman times to the center of Side. Even today, traffic to the historical part of the town passes this gate. An elegant building, adjacent to this gate and supported by the ramparts of the 4th century AD, was probably erected in honor of Emperor Vespasian.

The current height of the monumental gate is 13.5 meters, but in the ancient times the structure was much higher. The entablature above the gate once supported the statue representing, most probably, a quadriga or a two-wheeled wagon drawn by four horses.

Monumental gate and Vespasian monument in Side
Monumental gate and Vespasian monument in Side

Ortahisar Castle

The fortress, towering above the town of Ortahisar, is one of its biggest tourist attractions. It was opened to the public in 2013 after extensive renovations. While it is less well known than its famous counterpart from Üçhisar, the travellers who make an effort of climbing to the summit will be amply rewarded by the stunning views from the peak. The panorama of the valley of Hallacdere - the fairy chimneys valley, and the majestic, snow-capped volcano Erciyes, looming on the horizon, make the biggest impression on the visitors.

Ortahisar Castle
Ortahisar Castle

Byzantine cistern in Silifke

The Byzantine cistern known as Tekir Ambarı is one of the less-known historical attractions of Silifke. Its currently used name literally means "tabby warehouse." Although finding the cistern is a challenge in itself, the structure has impressive dimensions, and its exploration is highly recommended for history-conscious travelers.

Byzantine cistern in Silifke
Byzantine cistern in Silifke

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