Sagalassos, Turkey

Sagalassos the Lost City

Sagalassos is a very large ancient city in the Pisidia region of Turkey. Today it is nearby the province of Burdur close to the Tarsus Mountain. It has a fascinating green landscapes surrounded mountains, 1.400 meters higher from the sea level. First human settlement is dating back to 8000 B.C. In the Hittite literature in the 14th Century B.C. it was mentioned as Salawassa. Phrygian and Lydian effects are visible. In the Persian period, this city was well known for its very good fighters.

At the top of the city there was a neighborhood of potteries. The pottery of Sagalassos was very famous and they were exported. The interesting thing was that during these excavations there were 2000 years old doughs prepared for pottery in the workshops. It is obvious that there was a sudden earthquake and everything remained as it was. 

Alexander the Great occupied Sagalassos and Hellenistic culture was welcomed by the people of Sagalassos.

It is known that this city had less than 10.000 population in the Roman period. In the 4th Century a fortification wall was built around the city in order to defense it. In 518 a big earthquake destroyed the city but soon after all public buildings were rebuilt.

It is known that the city was abandoned in the 7th Century A.D. and because of its location it was forgotten. But this was also good for the condition of the city, since it was not robbed. In the 17th and 18th centuries some European Travelers visited this side. But the main interest and excavations stated in 1985 by an English-Belgium team. Belgium Archaeologists Marc Weakens started in 1991 with series of excavations. He found two agoras in the side. With about 200 workers and archeologists, he excavated the agora. He also discovered a fountain and library. The capacity of the Greek-Roman Theater was about 9.000. In 1997 he discovered a Buleterion (parliament). Archaeologists are trying to shape an 18.000 sqm Archaeological park.

Antoin’s were the most famous and wealthy family in Sagalassos. They got a fountain built in the middle of the city center and it was called Antoin’s fountain which was very big and gorgeous. Even built 1.800 years ago, today this fountain is still active and fed by the same water source. 

In 2008 a statue of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, whose only head is about 1 meter high was found. It seems to be that Sagalossos will be one of the largest ancient cities in Turkey and also in the World. Since it hadn’t been robbed and not excavated and just recently found, lots of finding will be made in the future. In Sagalassos the excavations continue intensively and new finds are brought to the surface every day which make the lost city more attractive.

Please also visit our Sagalassos Tours Page for our private tours


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