Sagalassos Ancient City is built on steep hills within the borders of Ağlasun district of Burdur . Located on the road connecting Pamphylia and Psidia, Sagalassos was the capital of Psidia in Ancient Greece. Known as the ‘City of Love and Emperors’, Sagalassos is one of the most romantic ancient cities of our country.
The city, which bears the traces of the magnificent monuments of the Roman Empire, is located on Akdağ, one of the branches of the Western Taurus Mountains, at an altitude of 1,750 meters above sea level. With its generous archaeological remains, the Antonine Fountain, the Neon Library and its large agora, it is a unique cultural heritage of the Roman Period.
Sagalassos is a magnificent settlement with the Antonine Fountain, where ancient water has flowed for thousands of years, agoras, Roman baths, Macellum structure, Heroon structure decorated with dancing girls, library and 9 thousand-seat theater.
Many artifacts and monuments were unearthed as a result of excavations and restorations in the city, which was built on the high hills of the Taurus Mountains. The city, which has managed to survive most of its architectural structures, has started to be included in tour routes with the interest in the Lakes Region in recent years.
Sagalassos Ancient City, Burdur
Sagalassos Ancient City , one of Turkey ‘s best preserved ancient cities. It is located 7 km north of the Ağlasun district of Burdur, on the southern skirts of Ağlasun Mountain, which is a part of the Western Taurus Mountains. It was founded by the Pisidians, one of the oldest peoples of the Anatolian geography, which has hosted countless cultures throughout the ages.
Sagalassos, known as Pisidia (Pisidia/Psidia) in ancient times , is surrounded by Phrygia in the north and west, Lycia in the southwest, Pamphylia in the south, Lycaonia in the east, and is a very wide area covering 2.5 km in the east-west direction and 1.5 km in the north-south direction. spread over an area.
The beginning of the Hellenization process of Sagalassos dates back to the Persian domination. It becomes a polis similar to the ancient Greek city-states, much faster than any other city in Pisidia. Although Sagalassos, where Pisidia’s bravest and most warlike people lived, made a great defense against the army of Alexander the Great, who came to the region in 333 BC, it was captured by Alexander as a result of a bloody war.
The city, whose fortunes were opened after Alexander the Great, became the second most important city of the Pisidia region and the Hellenization process accelerated in the region. Sagalassos, which changed hands several times during the Hellenistic period (333-25 BC), became a part of the Roman Empire in 25 BC.
The importance of the city, which has the title of ‘the first Pisidian city, friend and ally of the Romans’, increases day by day and the city experiences its golden age in the 1st century. Roman Emperor Hadrianus (117-138 AD) visits Anatolia, whose name is Asia Minor, at least three times and takes a very important decision that changes the future of Sagalassos.
Unlike the other Pisidian cities, he took the city, which had adopted a Roman identity, from the State of Galatia and added it to the State of Lycia-Pamphylia. The city of Sagalassos becomes the cult center of Pisidia, the new region added to the province. After the city was given the title of ‘first city’ of Psidia State, the political influence of the city increased.
Along with the famous Roman Emperors Nerva, Hadrianus, Septimus Severus, the mighty Empress Salonina also minted coins in the name of the city and honored Sagalassos. The city, which has gained considerable importance and prestige, develops commercially.
Incorporating a fertile plain like Burdur Plain into its borders over time, the city is also connected to the Roman road network after a while. The elites of Sagalassos see and invest in the various opportunities and economic opportunities offered by the peace environment in the city connected to the sea. The city develops well and its population increases.
The city, which draws attention with the richness of its natural water resources, develops rapidly and monuments of enormous size are built. Architectural innovations seen in other parts of the empire are reflected in the silhouette of the city. Water, which is the source of wealth, naturally determines the architecture of the region in a dominant way.
A bath of the same size as the bath in Ephesus , the Neon Library was built a few years after the magnificent Celsus Library of Ephesus. Emperor Marcus Aurelius, whose distance is 5 meters between them, next to the statues of Hadrian; Nike, Asclepius , Nemesis, Dionysus statues adorn the city.
It coincided with the construction of the 84-room Kent Mansion, which is the largest hall in Anatolia with its 1,250 square meter hall spread over nine different terraces, and a theater with a capacity of 9 thousand people. Intense economic development and major architectural initiatives last until the 3rd century.
Sagalassos underwent a major change in the 4th century and accepted Christianity. This results in significant administrative changes. The development of the city, which was interrupted for almost 235 years, starts again in this period. Since the elite of the city is less active in this period compared to the past, the city cannot return to its former bright days.
Two earthquakes of both the 6th and 7th centuries AD cause Sagalassos to weaken gradually. In 541-542 AD, a plague epidemic swept the city. After that, life in the city continues based on agriculture. Despite everything, it manages to survive until the 13th century AD.
12th-13th century on the Iskender Hill in Sagalassos. The last Byzantine castle, which took place in the centuries, is probably destroyed by the Seljuk Turks. Seljuk Turks built structures such as caravanserai and baths on the Ağlasun Plain. Ağlasun, derived from the name Sagalassos, begins to develop in the settlement on the plain.
The city was first discovered by the French traveler Paul Lucas in 1706, but in 1824 an English priest named FVJ Arundell revealed that the ancient ruins were Sagalassos. The first comprehensive study of Sagalassos was made between 1884 and 1886 by a team under the direction of Polish Count Lanckoronski.
The first map of the ancient settlement was completed in the second half of the 19th century. Unfortunately, it is overshadowed by the discoveries in Egypt that marked the period and the excavations that started in the great ancient cities on the sea coast of Turkey at that time. Excavations in the ancient city, where no other work was done until the eighties, were resumed in 1982 by a British team of archaeologists.
In 1986, Marc Waelkens from the University of K. Leuven in Belgium made his first visit to the region and then continued with the excavations with the support of the university he was a member of. A scientific team of Belgian, Turkish and other researchers from the University of Leuven in Belgium has been conducting excavations in Sagalassos since 1990.
In the archaeological excavations, it is determined that the city was used as a ceramic production center for at least a thousand years. Known for the splendor of its fountains, the city is known for its theater at the highest altitude in the world, with a capacity of 9,000 people, and its unique rock tombs.
Due to its geographical location and poor communication with the outer regions and ports, the city has a unique beauty with its terraced city plan, where many of the architectural structures have survived to the present day or all of their original parts can be found.
With the completion of the excavations in the city, which was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2009, it is aimed to bring the city back to its feet with all its majesty and to reflect the spirit of its bright days. Extremely important sculptures and finds unearthed in Sagalassos are exhibited in the Burdur Museum.
Artifacts to See in Sagalassos
The ancient city, whose underground parts of the city were unearthed one by one, due to the corrosive effect of time, attacks from the East and the West, erosion and earthquakes, is slowly waking up from its centuries-long slumber and waking up in all its glory.
Since the Sagalassos Ancient City is spread over a very large area, there are walking route alternatives according to the time you will spend exploring the ancient city. You can choose one of the three routes according to both the time and the buildings and artifacts you want to see.
The shortest walking route in the ancient city is 1.5 km and this route takes about 1 hour. The second route is 2.5 km and can be visited in 2 hours. If you want to see the ancient city in great detail, you can explore the city by completing the third route, which is 4 km long, in about 4 hours.
First you visit the Lower Agora and then the Upper Agora. In all of the routes, the trip follows the caravan route after Odeon and heads west. When you reach the West Necropolis, you can go to the upper parts of the city by turning towards the Doric Temple and Heroon. If you continue on the caravan road to the west, you reach the Stadion.