Sagalassos is an active archaeological site in southwest Turkey which contains mostly Hellenistic and Ancient Roman historic ruins, some of them very well-preserved. In particular, the (working!) Fountain of Antoninler at Sagalassos still has its pretty façade. There are also the remains of a 9,000 seat theatre, a council hall (bouleuterion), a library, rock carved tombs, temples, and baths.
History of Sagalasso
Part of the Phrygian kingdom from the 9th century BC and then part of the Lydian kingdom, Sagalassos became more urbanized under the Persian Empire from 546 BC, becoming a focal point in the region of Pisidia over the course of two centuries.
In 334 BC, Alexander the Great arrived in the region and attacked Sagalassos, eventually succeeding in destroying it, although its citizens did put up a good fight. Over the coming centuries, the Pisidia region – including Sagalassos – changed hands several times, finally coming under Roman rule in 129 BC.
The prosperity of Sagalassos fluctuated over the end of the 1st century BC, but slowly it became more successful, particularly because of the fertility of its land and the production of a material called Sagalassos Red Slip Ware, a type of tableware. Much of this affluence translated into the construction of buildings and monuments, especially during the 2nd century AD, under Hadrian, and up to the third century.
Sagalassos began to fall into decline in around 500 AD and this was accelerated by a devastating earthquake in 590 AD. Although abandoned for a long period of time, the area was further inhabited from the 10th century AD.
Today, Sagalassos is a hidden gem of a tourist attraction, with the remains of the amphitheatre, market squares, colonnaded streets, and a spectacular working fountain being particular highlights. The site takes around 3 hours to tour since the area is so vast.
Getting to Sagalassos
From the city of Burdur, Sagalassos is a 45 minute drive via Antalya Burdur Yolu/D330/D650 and Burdur Ağlasun Yolu.