A Jewel Hidden on the Slope of the Taurus Mountains, The Ancient City of Sagalassos

Region: Pisidia

Location: Aglasun,Burdur Province,Turkey

Excavation dates: 1990 – present

Archaeologists: Marc Waelkens, Jeroen Poblome  

Sagalassos was the most important city of Pisidia and  is one of the most preserved ancient settlements. Its location on the road to the Mediterranean  played an important role in the development of trade. It was founded on the slopes of Akdaglar. This ancient city, which is 1700 meters above sea level, gives the atmosphere of a magical city on it. The city is of great interest to see that it has’nt spoilt yet. Sagalassos is typical Luwian name but its meaning is unknown.

As we just mentioned about its altitude, you may think why the settlements of an ancient city was that high.

One of the main reasons must have been for defense,There was abundant  natural water sources,The valleys ,in ancient times closeby to Sagalassos ,were also more fertile than they are today.People found clay for making high quality ceramics and bricks as well as natural stones for metal production.

Their economy was mainly based on farming ,especially grain that they grew . During the imperial times ,olive cultivation for production of olive oil was also important .Another source of income for Sagalassos was production of  the pottery.

What makes Sagalassos unique is that the city, with its high and remote location was basically left alone. So almost all finds of Sagalassos ancient city were protected well.

If you wonder about its history, ıt goes back to the time of  Luwians  and later period of the Hittites who called the place as Salawassa. Then Alexander the Great took the control of this city in 333 BC.Seleucid Empire had also settlements in Sagalassos. Imperial times of the city was at the time of Roman Empire.So today you can see mainly findings from Roman period.

Among the splendid finds are an amazing theatre built by Emperor Hadrian, several fascinating fountains (Nymphaeum), the must-see one being the Antonine Fountain at the upper agora, and a Heroon, remains of Roman Baths, market squares, a bouleuterion (council theatre), and colonnaded streets looking out over the valley far below.

Especially after the  end of 6th century AD population of Sagalassos was devastated by plague epidemic and caused enormous damage to the economy. Again a powerful earthquake at 6th and 7th century AD  happened and destroyed city.

 The ruins of the ancient city were discovered in 1706 by Paul Lucas,a traveller who took a journey through Anatolia . It wasnt until 1824  that English traveller Reverend F.V.J Arundell deciphered the name of Sagalassos in an inscription.

Archaeological researchs at Sagalassos was carried out by The University of Leuven (Belgium) under the direction of Professor Marc Waelkens    from 1990 until 2013 when he retired .Now Professor Dr.  Jeroen Poblome ,has continued the archaeological research since 2014.

Excavations and researchs of Sagalassos were supported with different companies from Belgium and many other countries.And  this ancient city has been  financed by the  Turkish companies  since 2006.

So as you know, travel is a therapy ,If you visit Turkey, you may make your way to Sagalassos.It is in the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and  worthwhile.

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