Side, Turkey

Side (pronounced see-deh,Greek: Σίδη) is an ancient Greek city  on the southern Mediterranean coast of Turkey. It is approximately 15kms east of Antalya (one of Turkey`s largest cities) and is located on a small peninsula only 800m in length. In this pretty town, modern architecture, chic shops and late night bars stand in juxtaposition with the ruins of an ancient city. 

Flanked by two stretches of golden beach, surrounded by the sparkling waters of Mediterranean on both sides and bestowed with the endless archeological wonders - Side has aptly prospered as one of the most popular resorts for holidaymakers from across the globe.

The town’s West Beach is closer to hotels, has calm water and fine sand, offers watersports, and is (not surprisingly) popular. If you’re craving a more relaxed day, though, head in the opposite direction. The East Beach is a bit rockier, but it’s less crowded.

Strabo and Arrian both record that Side was founded by Greek settlers from Cyme in Aeolis, a region of western Anatolia. This most likely occurred in the 7th century BC. Its tutelary deity was Athena, whose head adorned its coinage.

Dating from the tenth century B.C., its coinage bore the head of Athena (Minerva), the patroness of the city, with a legend. Its people, a piratical horde, quickly forgot their own language to adopt that of the aborigines.
Ancient Greek coin of Athena, from Side

Possessing a good harbour for small-craft boats, Side's natural geography made it one of the most important places in Pamphylia and one of the most important trade centres in the region. According to Arrian, when settlers from Cyme came to Side, they could not understand the dialect. After a short while, the influence of this indigenous tongue was so great that the newcomers forgot their native Greek and started using the language of Side. Excavations have revealed several inscriptions written in this language. The inscriptions, dating from the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, remain undeciphered, but testify that the local language was still in use several centuries after colonisation. Another object found in the excavations at Side, a basalt column base from the 7th century BC and attributable to the Neo-Hittites, provides further evidence of the site's early history. The name Side may be Anatolian in origin, meaning pomegranate.

Next to no information exists concerning Side under Lydian and Persian sovereignty.

Alexander the Great occupied Side without a struggle in 333 BC. Alexander left only a single garrison behind to occupy the city. This occupation, in turn, introduced the people of Side to Hellenistic culture, which flourished from the 4th to the 1st century BC. After Alexander's death, Side fell under the control of one of Alexander's generals, Ptolemy I Soter, who declared himself king of Egypt in 305 BC. The Ptolemaic dynasty controlled Side until it was captured by the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century BC. Yet, despite these occupations, Side managed to preserve some autonomy, grew prosperous, and became an important cultural centre.

In 190 BC a fleet from the Greek island city-state of Rhodes, supported by Rome and Pergamum, defeated the Seleucid King Antiochus the Great's fleet, which was under the command of the fugitive Carthaginian general Hannibal. The defeat of Hannibal and Antiochus the Great meant that Side freed itself from the overlord-ship of the Seleucid Empire. The Treaty of Apamea (188 BC) forced Antiochus to abandon all European territories and to cede all of Asia Minor north of the Taurus Mountains to Pergamum. However, the dominion of Pergamum only reached de facto as far as Perga, leaving Eastern Pamphylia in a state of uncertain freedom. This led Attalus II Philadelphus to construct a new harbour in the city of Attalia (the present Antalya), although Side already possessed an important harbour of its own. Between 188 and 36 BC Side minted its own money, tetradrachms showing Nike and a laurel wreath (the sign of victory).
Ancient Greek coin of Side. Circa 205-100 BC. AR Tetradrachm (28mm, 16.46 g, 12h). Pa–, magistrate. Helmeted head of Athena right / Nike advancing left, holding wreath; to left, pomegranate above monogram.

In the 1st century BC, Side reached a peak when the Cilician pirates established their chief naval base and a centre for their slave-trade.

The consul Servilius Vatia defeated these brigands in 78 BC and later the Roman general Pompey in 67 BC, bringing Side under the control of Rome and beginning its second period of ascendancy, when it established and maintained a good working relationship with the Roman Empire.

Emperor Augustus reformed the state administration and placed Pamphylia and Side in the Roman province of Galatia in 25 BC, after the short reign of Amyntas of Galatia between 36 and 25 BC. Side began another prosperous period as a commercial centre in Asia Minor through its trade in olive oil. Its population grew to 60,000 inhabitants. This period would last well into the 3rd century AD. Side also established itself as a slave-trading centre in the Mediterranean. Its large commercial fleet engaged in acts of piracy, while wealthy merchants paid for such tributes as public works, monuments, and competitions as well as the games and gladiator fights. Most of the extant ruins at Side date from this period of prosperity.

Side was the home of Eustathius of Antioch, of the philosopher Troilus, of the fifth-century ecclesiastical writer Philip; of the famous lawyer Tribonian.

Side began a steady decline from the 4th century on. Even defensive walls could not stop successive invasions of highlanders from the Taurus Mountains. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Side experienced a revival, and became the seat of the Bishopric of Eastern Pamphylia. Arab fleets, nevertheless, raided and burned Side during the 7th century, contributing to its decline. The combination of earthquakes, Christian zealots and Arab raids, left the site abandoned by the 10th century, its citizens having emigrated to nearby Antalya.

In the 12th century, Side temporarily established itself once more as a large city. An inscription found on the site of the former ancient city shows a considerable Jewish population in early Byzantine times. However, Side was abandoned again after being sacked. Its population moved to Antalya, and Side became known as Eski Adalia 'Old Antalya' and was buried.
Ancient Greek coin of Side. Circa 360-333 BC. AR Stater (21mm, 10.65 g, 12h). Athena Parthenos standing left, holding Nike, shield, and spear; pomegranate to left, Pamphylian letters to right / Apollo standing left, holding branch and sacrificing out of phiale over altar to left; c/m to left: wolf(?) at bay right, crescent and cube above, bird below, all within incuse rectangle.

As capital of the Roman province of Pamphylia Prima, Side was ecclesiastically the metropolitan see. The earliest known bishop was Epidaurus, presiding at the Synod of Ancyra, 314. Others are John, fourth century; Eustathius, 381; Amphilochius, 426-458, who played an important part in the history of the time; Conon, 536; Peter, 553; John, 680-692; Mark, 879; Theodore, 1027-1028; Anthimus, present at the synod held at Constantinople in 1054; John, then counsellor to the Emperor Michael VII Ducas, presided at a council on the worship of images, 1082; Theodosius and his successor Nicetas, twelfth century. John, present at a synod at Constantinople in 1156. The Notitiae Episcopatuum continued to mention Side as a metropolis of Pamphylia until the thirteenth century. It does not appear in the "Notitia" of Andronicus III. From other documents we learn that in 1315 and for some time previous to that, Sidon had bishops of its own — the Bishop of Sinope was called to the position, but was unable to leave his own diocese; this call was repeated in 1338 and 1345. In 1397 the diocese was united with that of Attalia; in 1400 the Metropolitan of Perge and Attalia was at the same time the administrator of Side.

No longer a residential see, Side is today included in the Catholic Church's list of titular sees.

In 1895 Turkish Muslim refugees from Crete moved to the ruined town and called it Selimiye. Today, Side has become a popular holiday destination and experiences a new revival.

It was a popular spot for watching the solar eclipse of March 29, 2006.

The great ruins are among the most notable in Asia Minor. They cover a large promontory where a wall and a moat separate it from the mainland. During medieval times, the wall and moat were repaired and the promontory houses a wealth of structures.

There are colossal ruins of a theatre complex, the largest of Pamphylia, built much like a Roman amphitheatre that relies on arches to support the sheer verticals. The Roman style was adopted because Side lacked a convenient hillside that could be hollowed out in the usual Greek fashion more typical of Asia Minor. The theatre is less preserved than the theatre at Aspendos, but it is almost as large, seating 15,000–20,000 people. With time and the shifting of the earth, the scena wall has collapsed over the stage and the proscenium is in a cataract of loose blocks. It was converted into an open-air sanctuary with two chapels during Byzantine times (5th or 6th century).

The well-preserved city walls provide an entrance to the site through the Hellenistic main gate (Megale Pyle) of the ancient city, although this gate from the 2nd century BC is badly damaged. Next comes the colonnaded street, whose marble columns are no longer extant; all that remains are a few broken stubs near the old Roman baths. The street leads to the a public bath, restored as a museum displaying statues and sarcophagi from the Roman period. Next is the square agora with the remains of the round Tyche and Fortuna temple (2nd century BC), a periptery with twelve columns, in the middle. In later times it was used as a trading centre where pirates sold slaves. The remains of the theatre, which was used for gladiator fights and later as a church, and the monumental gate date back to the 2nd century. The early Roman Temple of Dionysus is near the theatre. The fountain gracing the entrance is restored. At the left side are the remains of a Byzantine Basilica. A public bath has also been restored.

The remaining ruins of Side include three temples, an aqueduct, and a nymphaeum. Side's nymphaeum – a grotto with a natural water supply dedicated to the nymphs – was an artificial grotto or fountain building of elaborate design.

There is also a virtually unknown, but expansive site, up in the Taurus foothills, several miles inland, known locally as Seleucia. Virtually unknown to the outside world and not represented on the internet at all, it is the Roman garrison, built by Marc Anthony, to support the city of Side. It covers at least a couple of square miles and is almost completely unexcavated, apart from two weeks in 1975, when the Turkish government funded two weeks of excavations. The site was, apparently, finally abandoned in the 7th century, when an earthquake caused the spring which fed the site with water to dry up completely. Many of the buildings are in remarkably good shape, particularly since, due to the lack of available stone, a significant quantity of the sites stonework contains egg and gravel based concrete blocks.

Turkish archaeologists have been excavating Side since 1947 and intermittently continue to do so.


Apollo Temple
Apollo Temple is situated next to the ancient harbor. The Temple has 6 Corinth Style columns on its front and back sitting on a 16x30m. stylobate, and 11 columns in the same style on each side. Each column is 8.90 m. high. The architrave ( horizontal stone blocks which are placed on the columns, which connect these columns to one another and which bear the rows of frieze, eave etc and the roof placed on itself. ) located on the columns is decorated with plant designs and Medusa heads.
This Temple is bearing Peripteros Style and also it is a monument belonging to 2nd century AD.

The temple of Athena

The remains of the temple of Athena - Greek goddess of wisdom, art and strategic war - are much more modest than the temple of Apollo are. In ancient times Athena was often chosen as a patron of cities, as was also the case in Side.

Again, this building was a peripteros of the Corinthian order, and its stylobate had the dimensions of 18 meters (59 feet) by 35 meters (115 feet), which means that in its heyday the temple of Athene exceeded the one dedicated to Apollo. Along its longer sides there once stood 13 columns, and along the shorter sides - 6 columns.

The appearance of the building during its prosperity can be reconstructed on the basis of the coins minted in Side. They showed Athena holding in her hands a model of the temple. Both the temple of Athena and the temple of Apollo were erected in the second half of the 2nd century AD.

Side City Walls
The section separating the peninsula from the main land was erected in 2nd century BC during the Hellenistic period, among the walls of the ancient city of Side which have survived through the present day. 
The walls on the side of the peninsula facing the sea were somehow demolished and than they were modified, constructed or repaired all over again during the Roman and Byzantine periods. Today, among those the walls on the southern edge have been buried under the sands. 
On the neck section of peninsula the walls which imply that the city became smaller for a while, date back to 4th century AD. 

The way in which the Hellenistic walls were constructed is very interesting. The inner side of these walls decorated cornice among the patterns of their outer surfaces and have three floors and each floor was built slightly towards the front as compared to the floor on which it seats, and as a result 2 paths were obtained on the walls for the soldiers. On the upper floor a simple balustrade wall is found while there are crenel holes on the walls in the central floor. In this way from both floors the possibility to fire attackers were provided.
The rooms used as depot etc at some points and the lower floors of the walls include only a bearing wall at some other points. At several points in these defense system strengthened with towers ( the total number of the towers are 13, some having a semi-circular and some others having a rectangular plan ), it is interesting that the paths of walkers which extended al along the walls ceased at the points corresponding to the rear section of the towers. It is possible that in these sections there were wooden bridges to provide for the passage.

Main gate and other gates
From the point of view of the military art the main gate of Side city is interesting. The gate is a system formed by semi-circular courtyard and two guarding towers, having 2 sections opening outside and inside of the city. Also in the other cities of the Pamphylia region ( like Perge, Sillyon ) the same gate model was used.
A monumental entrance with 2 arches was added to the gate in the form of two layers, presumably during the period of Pax Romana ( Roman Peace ). Both layers are made of the column groups formed by overlapping two Korinth style columns.
The reason for this addition was the decreasing the gate’s military importance. Inside the semi-circular courtyard is decorated with the statues placed inside these niches and also with niches separated by two layers of columns.
On city walls of Side other gates were also found, which were buried under the sands, bur the formation plan of these are different from the main gate. Among these different gates the friezes decorating the south eastern gate are very interesting. With big difficulty the south eastern gate was taken out of the sands. The spoils taken from the enemies like helmet, sword and shield are described on these friezes and these are exhibited in Side Museum.
Also this gate has a protocol entrance with two arches. These provide entry to the protocol courtyard, during the Byzantine reign the ground of which was covered with mosaics.

City fountain (Nymphaeum)
This big monumental fountain of Side is situated opposite the main gate and outside the citadel. With its current status, because the marble coating it has lost its original magnificence, embossed designs and statues on it are absent and the top floor of this three floored building has been ruined.
It is original length was 35 m and height was 15 m. 
The city is supposed to be constructed during the reign of Antonius Oius in around 150 BC , in the same period as the aqueducts of the city. The water to this Nymphaeum was brought from the aqueduct through a large water pipe. 
There was three floored high front side, the wings which extended towards the front on the sides and a wide pool with three sections surrounded by these. 
The front side of the fountain was decorated with three large overlapped niches, each having three water gutters. 
The arched niches were separated from one another by Corinth style columns. Inside the niches there were statues. Between the layers carried by the columns and also on the top sections there were decorated entablatures. 
Today, many statues and reliefs belonging to Side nymphaeum are kept in Side Museum.


Columned streets and quarters
In Side there are 2 columned streets which start from the main gate, one advancing southwards and the other heading towards the south west, that is the city center. The 250 m long and 20 m wide street extending southwards is today covered with asphalt.
The columned streets have perfect underground drainage systems.

The building with sacred fountain
It is understood that this monument with fountain or monumental fountain located on the columned street extending from the main gate towards the city center belong tı the 5th or 6th century AD.

Houses with Peristyl
These houses are understood to be used also in the later Roman periods but built in the 2nd century BC. 
It is thought that in front of the house on the street the three rooms were shops and that they belonged probably to the owner of the house. 
Both the rooms and atrium host colored marble coverings. Clay water pipes in the coverings reveal the fact that there were water and bathroom in both houses.

Commercial agora and The Temple of Tykhe
The temple of Tyche in Side 

Commercial agora have the sizes of 90X95m and was built 2nd century AD. Only the foundations of this building which is made of a courtyard with the sizes 60X65m, the shops behind these and the stoats around this courtyard have survived through the present day. The building has a propylon (monumental gate in ancient architecture, located at the entrance of a building or a group of buildings. There are columns on its sides facing both the interior and the exterior ) facing the street. Shops doors overlooking the streets open to street and those of the shops overlooking the courtyard open to the courtyard.
There are nine shops some of which have doors opening to the stage building of the theater on the side leaning against the theater building. During its active times agora was the place hosting all kinds off cultural and commercial activities of the city. The trade of the slaves were also known to be conducted here during the periods when Side was also involved in privacy. It was revealed that circular plan building having 12 Korinth style columns which is situated in Agora courtyard and whose picture is seen on the Side coins, was erected in the name of the god of good fortune Tykhe.
The building’s roof had the shape of a pyramid with 12 sides. On its dome shaped cailing there were the symbols of the Zodiac signs ( symbols of the star groups ).
Latrina structure ( toilet ) suitable for 24 people is also located at the north western corner of agora. Latrine is in the form of a semi-circular hall with marble covered walls. Owing to its interesting plan and formation, the toilet, which has survived through our day without substantial damage, is among the places worth visiting around Side.

Theater is the most magnificent building of Side and dates back to 2nd century AD. Its back was built in a way to face the Mediterranean Sea.
Side was founded is plain and it was necessary to perform a large construction work.
On a hill of low altitude only the lower half of the cavea could be placed. The cavea with a seating capacity of 16.000 persons had a diameter of 120 m. This structure has 2 floors.
The lower floor includes a semi circular gallery and it is covered with an extended archway placed on wide columns connected with wide arches. Some of the openings between these wide columns open to either a shop or an inner gallery or other covered places used for other purposes. 
The walking path dividing the cavea into two, there were passages leading from these inner galleries directly to 3,5 m wide diazoma. The spectators entered through these gates to a diazoma and at the lower section of the theater reserved for them descended to take their seats.
From the diazoma it was not possible to reach the upper seating section of cavea. At the upper part the spectators had to first ascend the internal stairways connecting the lower galleries to the other galleries. Respectively Cavea’s upper and lower section have 29 and 22 rows of seats. Since it also hosted the shows performed with wild animals and gladiators in Roman period in addition to theater shows, meetings and festivities, the orchestra of the structure was surrounded with a 1,85 m. high wall in order to protect the spectators. 
In the period of Christianity the theater was also used as open theater. For this purpose to the head of cavea two small chapels were added.
The stage building of theater had three floors ( 21m ) with its side turned towards the spectators being made of granite and marble and being decorated with overlapped column pairs and the niches between these, also the statues placed inside these niches. The upper row of columns is in Korinth style, while the lower roe of columns exhibits Ion sytle. On the smooth surfaces between the floors there are friezes. 
By five gates it is possible to ascend from the stage building to the orchestra. On the doors of some of the rooms on the lower floor the presence of iron railings leads to the opinion that these were the cages of animals or gladiators. There are passages leading from commercial agora to the lower floor. On the upper floor rooms were dedicated to the use of the artists. 
The theater building was made an important element of this defense system and the gates opening from the stage section to the agora was closed by laying bricks in the period when the area occupied by the city was decreased and the intermediate city walls were built for this purpose.

Agora Baths (Side Museum)
This building has been restored and it is being used as Side Museum today determined to be erected in 5th century AD. The entrance was provided from the section with two gates in the original form of the structure althogh this baths museum is entered from a section of torn down walls. Necessary hot water was provided by a furnace in the baths. The building was heated by passing the hat air below within the walls and below the ground.
Sections of bath:
• Frigidarium ( cold section ) : There is cold water pool descended by stairways, in the adjacent section with a circular plan. It is possible to view here also the section in which the water was provided from the aqueduct to the building of baths.
• Sudatorium ( Hottest section – place of perspiring – sauna ) 
• Calderium ( Hot bathing section ) : There are hot water pools in caldarium. 
• Tepidarium ( Tepid section )
• Apodyterium ( Dressing room )
• Palaestra ( The courtyard which hosted the open air activities like sports etc.)

All these sections are used as the exhibition sections of Side museum and this museum contains three halls, one of which is a garden and being uncovered. The paleastra of the baths structure is used as the garden in which Side Museum exhibits some stone monuments today. 
In Side Museum the majority of the monuments exhibited are stone made monuments of the local origin. The most interesting among these are as follows:

In uncovered hall
The oldest monument the base of the basalt column which belongs to the period of Late Hittite kingdoms exhibited in the museum. It was brought here in time for the commercial reasons and does not belong to the region. 8-9. century BC.
On the south eastern gate the friezes bearing the descriptions of war spoils taken from the enemies. Among these descriptions are the swords, armors etc...

Hall 1
Women statues dressed in a fashion called Side Type located inside the four niches in this section.

Hall 2 and 3
The statue of the merchants’ protective god Hermes described with a money bag in his hand and a Hermes head, Nike statues, Hygeia statue, Herakles statues.. 
Sarcophaguses with Eros ( God of love ) a composition comprised of the statues of the three mythological Kharits called as three beauties, relifs depicting The birth of Aphrodite and Punishing of Ixion, discobal, sphinxes, Ares, Asclepios, Athena, Apollon statues and head of Apollon, various men and women heads.
Furthermore coins, a bronze arm belonging to the city of Side, inscriptions and amphoras are the most interesting pieces of collection of Side museum exhibited in the covered section. 
The majority of the monuments of sculpture in Side museum are the copies made in the Roman period ( 2nd century AD ) looking at the original monuments of Hellen sculptors. And also the sculptors of Side created successfull original monuments to form their trend in art. Among these original monuments there are heads of men and women which reflect the psychological states and characters of the persons.

Monumental Gate
One of the columned streets starting at the main gate of the city advances towards the city center and reaches the monumental gate and this gate is 13m high today, after passing in front of the baths. On the lento of this monumental gate there was probably a quadriga statue. 
During the period when the city area was made smaller due to the defense requirements this monumental gate was made narrower by laying bricks inside of it (4th century) and served as the main entrance gate of the city.

Vespasianus monumental fountain
In front of it there is a pool. It is a fascinating monument with a round niche in its front side and two projecting parts on its both sides, each having two full and two half Korinth style columns. The arch of the central niche has an opening of 7m and is 15m high. Both inside the central niche there were statues and the columned sections on the sides.

The fountain with three pools
It is opposite the Vespasianus fountain and around the monumental gate. There is a columned street between the baths and fountain. 
It is 3rd century monument.
Only some statues and marble pools the remains of the korinth style column heading which once were decorating its surface have survived through the present day.

Dionysus Temple
It is situated between the road and the theatre and at the point where the harbour street starts after the entry through the monumental gate to the city.
It is comprised of a cella built with the sizes of 7*17m on a podium and the semi columns placed as attached to this temple. 

There are four columns in its entrance section with headings in Corinth style made of red granite. It is a monument belonging to the 3rd century BC.

Harbor Street
Harbor street is the columned street connecting the monumental gate to the harbor and there are temples around it. There must be shady roofs ( stoat ) placed on the columns according to the classical style and the shops must be present behind these stoats. 
It is understood that there were advancing westwards and two more columned roads intersecting the harbor street. These two are currently under the village buildings.

Theater’s Basilica
It is located at the part of this street close to the theater and to the west of the harbor street. Partially it is undamaged. This Byzantine building dates back to the 5th century AD. Having three sections and an abscissa the monument has a plan resembling a square.

Harbor Baths
This building was erected in 2nd century AD situated right next to the harbor filled with sands and was undergone many repair works. The harbor baths were built to allow the sailors coming back on the land to clean and to rest in the ancient cities.
These baths heated from the ground and the walls. At the entrance is Apodyterium ( dressing room ). A passage hall provides entry from here to four rooms with wide domes and these domes placed side by side. It is possible to advance from each one of these rooms to another one. It is also possible to enter from the dressing room to a hall through a door and another door provides entry from this hall in to hot section ( Caldarium ), the widest hall of the building hosting marble pools. This hall opens other two successive large halls. These are first tepid section ( Tepiderium ) and cold section ( Frigidarium ).


"The Ancient Library". Retrieved 2006-11-19.
"Side - History of the City". Retrieved 2006-11-19.
Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1912, s.v. 'Sidon'
Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 971
"Aspendos - Perge - Side". Retrieved 2006-11-19.
Πισιδίας, Ιερά Μητρόπολις. «Ιερά Μητρόπολις Πισιδίας - ΣΙΔΗ (Side)». 
In 1895 Turkish people from Crete moved to the ruined town and called it Selimiye.
Side Travel Guide
Turkish Riviera - Side

Δεν υπάρχουν σχόλια:

Δημοσίευση σχολίου

Popular Posts Of The Week



... ---------------------------------------------------------------------------