Ancient City of Termessos & Archaeological Museum
Duration: 4 hours
Tour Code: AYT-005
Nestled in a stunningly dramatic three-quarter mile plain directly between two steep mountains, lies the ancient city of Termessos. About 19 miles outside of Antalya's city center, Termessos has the amazing claim to fame of being the only city that Alexander the Great could not conquer. In 334 BC, the warriors of Termessos successfully fought off Alexander and his invading Macedonian army. Likewise, the Romans in 70 BC were forced to accept Termessos not as a part of the Empire, but as an independent ally.
Due to its fantastic natural setting, Termessos is one of the most spectacular ruined cities in Turkey. You will enter the ruins only after a winding climb up through the beautiful, forested slopes of the Gulluk Mountains. The ruins of this fierce and courageous city are laid before you, in the form of crumbling temples, defensive walls and watchtowers. Some of the significant sites here include the Bouleterion, a Temple to Artemis, an odeon used for spectator sports, and a Necropolis scattered with ancient tombs. The most amazing sight however, is the theatre, which many consider to be unforgettable. Relatively small and seating only about 4,000, the Termessos theatre is Hellenistic in style and is built into the side of a steep canyon, looking over the precipitous slopes of Gulluk mountain as they plunge towards the coastal plain. Surveying this promontory, you will appreciate the warriors who once lived and toiled so hard to keep this idyllic, besieged city independent and all their own.
Leaving Termessos, you will travel back to Antalya for a visit to the Antalya Archaeological Museum, one of the very best of its kind in the world. The collections on display in this museum include pottery, coins, mosaics, sculptures, costumes, sarcophagi, and artifacts found in the once-inhabited caves of coastal Turkey. The Hall of Emperors is one of the museum's most impressive wings. The displays of classical art housed here are simply magnificent, and include statues of the Greek gods, the Emperors Hadrian and Septimus Serverus. You will also see a stunning mosaic collection from Xanthos. Other exhibits on display include the extraordinary finds from the Karain Caves, which date back to the Old Stone Age, a comprehensive and fascinating ethnographic collection, and pieces from the jawbone of St. Nicholas, who was, strangely enough, not from the North Pole, but from the sunny Turkish Mediterranean beach town of Patara. With such a wide array of sights, findings, and works of art, all described nicely in both English and Turkish, the Archaeological Museum will be sure to make a lasting impression with its numerous treasures. At the completion of your museum tour, you will return to the ship.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2 hours of walking or standing, at times over uneven surface. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and not considered suitable for those with mobility concerns. Comfortable walking shoes, light clothing and a hat are recommended. The order of the sites viewed or visited is subject to change. As the grounds of Termessos are slippery, it is not possible to visit the city during rainy conditions. For this reason, this tour will only operate in good weather.
*Guests who wish to spend more time in the city center can leave the bus at the shuttle bus drop-off point and return to the pier on a shuttle bus.