Important works of Sagalassos Ancient City


Ares, Herakles, Hermes, Zeus, Athena and Poeidon busts in the Lower Agora, Marcus Aurelius Statue, Adrian Statue, Tiberius period gate, City Council built in 100s BC, Doric Fountain, Neon Library and Antonine Fountain.

1. Tiberius Gate

The Tiberius Gate is one of the finest works of Sagalassos. It was built during the reign of Emperor Tiberius (14-37 AD). You can reach the door from the Colonnaded Street with steps. Wheeled vehicles did not operate on this important street. Since most of the city streets have slopes and stairs, not wheeled vehicles such as oxcarts, but mostly pack animals such as donkeys and mules were used.

The symbolic meaning of the gate did not play a role in the defense of the city. It represents the long period of peace that began under the rule of Emperor Augustus. Its friezes on columns with Corinthian capitals are decorated with rich fruit reliefs.

The monumental gate was destroyed in an earthquake that probably occurred around 500 AD. The stones left from the monument door were used for the damage on the steps.

2. Lower Agora

The Lower Agora was the main square of the city, organized during the reign of Emperor Augustus. Although the Lower Agora had a more commercial character compared to the Upper Agora, many honorary monuments and statues were located here. Some of the statue pedestals can still be seen in the square.

3. Temple of Apollo Clarios

Temple of Apollo Clarios, during the reign of Emperor Augustus (27 BC–AD 14), a temple dedicated to the god Apollo Clarios. It was established in the Ionic order on a hill overlooking the Lower Agora, at the end of the Colonnaded Street. Since Apollo was not one of the most important gods of the city at that time, the temple was made small.

Since Emperor Augustus believed that Apollo chose and protected him, the temple of Apollo in Sagalassos was also built to honor Augustus. After the construction of the magnificent temples of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius in the 2nd century AD, it falls into a vengeful role.

It ceased to be used around 400 AD when Christianity replaced the Pagan (polytheistic) belief. In 450 AD, it was converted into a basilica using its stones. It was understood from the excavations that the church, which lost its function over time, was used as a garbage area for a long time, and the column and capital of the temple were brought back to life with the excavations in 2005.

4. Antonine Fountain

Antonine Fountain is the most interesting structure of Sagalassos Ancient City. It was built in front of the terrace wall, in place of another simple fountain that was located in the Augustan period. It is thought to have been built by Titus Flavius ​​Severianus Neon and his wife, a member of the most important dynasty of Sagalassos, which preserved its influence and importance in the city for centuries.

There are many honorary monuments built for Neon in Sagalassos. Seven different colored stones were used in the construction of the monumental Antonine Fountain, the most magnificent of which is decorated with rich ornaments. The water flowed from the 4.5 meter high waterfall in the central niche and filled the pool in front of it.

Located in the upper agora of the city, the most magnificent monumental fountain of Sagalassos that has survived has a history of 1,800 years. Both the ‘water’ theme and the symbols of the cult of Dionysus, the god of wine and pleasure, were used in the decorations of the fountain.

It was believed that people who drank the water of the single-storey fountain, 28 meters long and approximately 9 meters high, with reliefs of the head of Medusa in the middle, beautified. The Greek god of wine and vintage, Dionysos, and the half-goat half-human Satyr statues, which have been on the two sides of the fountain since the first day, are very expensive works made in the city of Aphrodisias in Aydın.

In addition, theatrical masks related to the cult of Dionysus, grapes and intoxicating plants are included as reliefs. The statue bases belonging to Neon’s family, which were brought from other parts of the city to the fountain, which was repaired after 500 AD, are placed inside and on the top of the fountain.

The French traveler P. Lucas, who discovered Sagalassos, wrote in his notes about the beauty of the region and the abundance of delicious water coming from the Western Taurus, “I have never seen a place with so many springs as this place in my life. The waters coming out of the spring immediately form streams and bring abundance everywhere.” he wrote.

Although none of its plans have survived, the excavation team made an extraordinary effort between 1998 and 2010 and brought the fountain back to its feet by bringing together 3,600 large and small pieces. The water of the Antonine Fountain, which has been restored as 400 building blocks, has been flowing again since August 2010. The originals of the replica sculptures exhibited in the fountain are exhibited in the Burdur Museum.

5. Late Hellenistic Fountain

The Late Hellenistic Fountain was built around a small courtyard between 50-25 BC, before the reign of Roman Emperor Augustus. It was built when Sagalassos grew and the city center of the Hellenistic period was not enough and the city walls overflowed.

The water need of the new neighborhood of the city, which is growing towards the east, was met from this fountain. The water network was used actively until the earthquakes that occurred around 500 AD. During this period, an underground water network was also laid in the city. Impressive Doric columns surround the courtyard on three sides.

The fountain, which was found to be destroyed during the excavations, was brought back to life with the works carried out. Since the fountain reached its own water source during the restoration carried out in 1997, it is now an active fountain. Anyone who wishes can have the chance to drink water from this monumental fountain, which is 2,000 years old.

6. Upper Agora

The Upper Agora was used as the political center of the city, a sculpture gallery and a marketplace. The city council building, the Bouleuterion , is therefore located in the Upper Agora.

On the four corners of the Upper Agora, surrounded by stone-paved galleries with columns on three sides, an honorary column of approximately 14 meters was built, each bearing the bronze statues of four important figures of Sagalassos. Since the 1st century AD, statue bases, inscriptions and small monuments made for emperors, governors and local elites have been erected in every corner of the square, turning the agora into a gallery.

However, most of them were toppled in the earthquake that occurred around 500 AD. The people of Sagalassos took care of the square again, burned stone statues and made lime, metal ones were melted and used in other places. Agora loses its political identity and turns into a market place.

The Arch of Claudius , located in the southwest corner of the Upper Agora , is a monumental arch from 37-41 AD. From the inscription of the monument, it is understood that the arch was built by the first family, ‘Darius’ son Kalkles’, who gained Roman citizenship in Sagalassos.

7. Bouleuterion

The Bouleuterion was built just after 100 BC on a natural terrace to the west of the Upper Agora. The city council building is also proof that there is an elected city council (boulè) in Sagalassos. Evidence from the inscriptions that the city had written laws was also found in the city. In the Roman Period, democracy leaves its place to oligarchy.

The limestone Bouleuterion itself is rather plain, with seating for 220 councilors inside. The friezes on the exterior have military-themed reliefs and busts of the war gods Ares and Athena.

The Sagalassos city council building is out of use and abandoned around 400 AD. Its stones are used in the city walls that were newly built in those years around the city. In the city, which has now adopted Christianity, the Archangel Michael Basilica was built on the site of the old parliament courtyard . The place where the old assembly was located is also converted into a churchyard.

The life of the basilica would not be long, it was damaged in the earthquake of 500 AD. Although it is tried to be done again, a plague epidemic intervenes. It was completely destroyed in the second earthquake in 600 AD. The floor of the basilica covered with mosaic and marble tiles was unearthed as a result of excavations.

8. Neon Library

The Neon Library is a library built by the Roman Emperor Titus Flavius ​​Severianus Neon, under his own name, between the years 120-125 AD. Severianus Neon, the main benefactor of Sagalassos, the patron and sponsor of the city’s games (sports and entertainment), had it built for his deceased father.

It was renovated during the reign of Emperor Julianus (361-363 AD). Struggling to restore the dignity of the pagan gods, Julianus had the floor mosaic of the library, seen today, built during this period. The mosaic depicts Achilles leaving for Troy and saying goodbye to his mother, Goddess Thetis.

The depictions of the goddess and demigod son on the mosaic were destroyed at the end of the 4th century AD, after the city was accepted by the Christians. The crevices seen in the library floor are the legacy of the earthquake caused by the fault line passing through the ancient city around 610 AD.

9. Roman Baths

The Roman Bath was built during the reign of Emperor Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD). This bath is the oldest of the Roman-style baths known in Anatolia. In the 2nd century AD, a huge bath complex, which can be seen today, was built on this first bath. During the excavations, some walls belonging to the first bath were also unearthed.

Similar to this type of baths, whose ends are semicircular, parallel to each other, consisting of hot, warm and cold halls, are located in the Ancient City of Pompeii . It is estimated that the Pompeii type bath was built under the influence of the Southern Italian war veterans settled in the city during the reign of Emperor Augustus.

The Marble Hall (Emperor Hall), located in the center of the Sagalassos bath, is a magnificent place with a size of 25 x 18.5 meters. Various ceremonies were held in halls like this one located in the baths of the great ancient cities in Anatolia, and the prizes of the winners in sports events were given. The great cross-shaped hall was later used as a public banquet hall.

In the niches of the hall, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius and possibly Lucius Verus are shown with their wives. Post-Christian sculptures were taken from here and pools for about twenty people were placed in the niches, and the hall was transformed into a warm space.

The statues are placed in another hall of the cold room in the southern dressing area. Sagalassos Roman Bath is dated to 10-30 AD. The colossal statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, exhibited in the Burdur Museum, was found in the south arm of the cold room of the bath.

Unfortunately, some of the gigantic statues that adorned the niches of the bath were burned in the kilns to obtain lime during the abandonment of Sagalassos.

10. Sagalassos Theater

The Sagalassos Theater is quoted by Charles Fellows, one of the early visitors of Sagalassos, in his notes on ‘A Travelogue in Asia Minor in 1839’, with the sentences “On the slope of the rising hill lies the most elegant and beautiful theater I’ve ever seen or heard of…”. However, today it is largely devastated by earthquakes.

After the Pisidia region of Sagalassos was declared the imperial cult center, it was built accordingly, as it required the city to organize celebrations every year for all the Pisidian people. Its construction is thought to have probably begun around AD 120.

While its own population was at most 5 thousand, the Sagalassos theater was built on the site of an older theater located in the same spot, with a capacity of approximately 9 thousand people. The reliefs of gladiators and animal hunts found indicate that gladiator fights were held in addition to the performances in the theater.

11. Necropolis

The necropolis is located at the foot of the mountain slopes where Sagalassos was founded. One of the largest cemeteries in the city, the Western Necropolis is large enough to cover 5 hectares. Cemeteries, mostly consisting of sarcophagi, are spread over and around the limestone rock here. A church from the 5th or 6th century AD is also located here.

The Northern Necropolis, called the Arcosolium, is located here, and the smallest cemetery of the city, rock tombs from the Imperial period are located here. The graves where the ashes of the cremated dead were placed in the vaults of the arched cavities were covered with a cover stone. The flat rock where the rock tombs are located was originally the face of an ancient quarry.

12. Stadium

Stadion was the place where sports games were held for God Apollo Klarios in Roman Period. The awareness of being a Roman was developed in the competitions organized by covering the expenses of the notables of the city. Basilica E1 was built in the middle of the stadium in the 5th or 6th century AD. Today, there is no trace of the stadium, except for a few rows.

The basilica was probably built to commemorate the Christians who were persecuted and killed here during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (AD 303-313). The stones of a temple belonging to Dionysus, who did not know its original location, were used in the construction of the church. The partially standing remains of the Basilica E1 church can be seen.

Sagalassos Ancient City is located in the Kıraç Village of Burdur’s Ağlasun district. The ancient city, which can be easily reached from many big cities by private vehicle, is 40 km from Burdur, 117 km from Antalya , 423 km from İzmir , 461 km from Ankara and 609 km from Istanbul.

You can easily reach the ancient city of Sagalassos by following the Antalya-Burdur road route through Antalya and coming to Ağlasun from Dağarcık junction.

From the Ankara side, it is possible to reach the ancient city by following the Burdur-Ağlasun direction from the Afyonkarahisar-Burdur highway.

You can reach the ancient city of Sagalassos by following the Burdur city center on the İzmir-Aydin-Tavas-Yeşilova route.

Sagalassos Ancient City is one of the most important ancient settlements of Western Anatolia. The ancient city, which has been engraved in photographic memories with the magnificent Antonine Fountain, which is also the subject of mythological narratives, is worth seeing with its magnificent architectural structures and magnificent scenery.

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