History and places to visit in Seleukeia
There are many ancient cities in Anatolia, bearing the names of the kings of the Hellenistic Selukos state. Being one of such, Pamphylia’s Seleukeia is located around 20 km. from Manavgat and 90 km. from Antalya. The road is asphalt, with the exclusion of the last section of 10 km. The city was founded in 3. cen-tury B.C. as an acropolis. The place of foundation of the city is the top of a hill surrounded by cliffs in three sides, which could be reached only from the south. The city center and agora are situated to the west of this hill.
During the period when Side was under the control of the pirates and the bandits, Seleukeia became the shelter for many intellectuals, artists and scientists of Side, and they continued their studies of art and science here. The only importance of the city, which had almost no commercial income, was that it was located at a strategic point and it had a good defense system. As this strategic importance disappeared in time, Seleukeia city became small and it eventually turned to ruins.
The section where the city walls have survived to today with the least damage and where they can be viewed best is the most narrow spot of the city’s western section. The wall here has a height of 9 m. Where the city walls extend towards the inner section, a 5m. high gate can be seen.
It is located near the city’s entrance. Agora comprises two full floors and a basement, due to the difference of height in the land. Agora is observed to have two gates on the northern and southern sections. There is a columned courtyard in the middle and the covered places surrounding it. There are several two floored shops on the north-eastern side of the courtyard, two of which have a lento, and one has an arched gate. The windows on the upper floors are in a good condition, and the holes in which the wooden crosstimbers were placed are clearly seen on the walls. The stairway inside the arched place in the center of this row of shops ascends to the upper floors. This floor has also a gate with lento on its northern side, which opens to the outside.
There is a small temple located 20 m. to the north of agora, dedicated to “Apollon”. The temple has a “cella” and a marble podium. The temple’s podium is ascended from the direction of agora by the stairways. Only the bases of the four columns on the front side of the temple have survived through the present day. There are arched niches protected with cages on the interior walls of the temple’s naos.
There is a building with a semi circular plan, probably a bouleuterion, constructed as attached to the Agora building. This building is entered from the side of the agora’s courtyard through a gate with four lentos. This building is supposed to be divided in later periods and to be converted into a series of shops. There is a gate with extended archway in the middle of the places to the north of the courtyard, providing exit towards the direction of Apollon temple. This gate was later closed by laying bricks. There are columned covered places on both sides of the gate. There is an arched niche on each of the two ends of the basement located on the west side of the agora building. It is interesting to see two big pine trees which have grown in the centre of the naos ..(!)
There is a cave on the western slopes of the land, and ruins around this cave. This place is supposed to be a sacred spring. On the slope to the west of the cave are the ruins of a Roman baths. It is possible to see 3 main sections of the baths and the rooms surrounding these. The side wall of the exercise room and the palaestra lean against these ruins. The mosaics on the grounds attract attention. There is a Byzantine basilica to the north west of the baths complex. The ground of the basilica is covered with colored marbles.