Side (mod. Eski Adalia), was an ancient city on the eastern part of the Pamphylian coast about 12 miles east of the mouth of the Eurymedon. It was established in the 7th century B.C. by settlers from Kyme in Aeolia. It is situated on a small north-south peninsula about 1 km long and 400 m across.

Possessing a good harbour in the days of small craft, it was the most important place in Pamphylia and one of the most important trade centers of its time.

It was under the rule of Lydia in the 6th century B.C. It became Persian territory with some internal independence, after 547 B.C. Side started minting coins from the 5th century B.C. while under Persian rule, proving a certain degree of independence.

Alexander occupied it without a fight in 333 B.C, leaving a garrison and introducing the Hellenistic culture. After his death, Side came under the rule of the Ptolemaic pharaohs of Egypt (3th century B.C.) and later the Seleucids of Syria (2nd century B.C.). In 190 B.C. the Rhodian fleet, supported by Rome and Pergamum, defeated that of the Syrian king Antiochus the Great, under the command of the fugitive Hannibal. In the following years of the 2nd century B.C. Side was able to preserve its independence, grew prosperous and became an important cultural center.

In the first century B.C. the Cilician pirates established in Side their chief naval base and a slave-trade center, giving it a bad reputation. The Roman general Pompey defeated the pirates in 67 B.C.

Missing image
Main gate

Emperor Augustus attached Pamphylia to the Roman province of Galatia in 25 B.C. Side began a new prosperous period as a commercial center, lasting till the 3th century A.D. It established itself again as a slade-trading center. Its large commercial fleet was not afraid of acts of piracy. Most of the ruins found today in Side date from this period. Wealthy merchants, such as Modesta, paid for public works, monuments, competitions and games and gladiator fights.

The town began declining from from the 4th century A.D. Defensivze walls could not stop successive invasions from highlanders. During the 5th and 6th century, Side was the seat of the Bishopric of Eastern Pamphylia. The town was burnt through raids by Arab fleets in the 7th century.

An inscription found on the site shows it to have had a considerable Jewish population in early Byzantine times. In the 12th century, Side, again a large city, was abandoned after being sacked. Its population moved to Antalya and Side became known as Old Antalya.

The great ruins, among the most notable in Asia Minor, cover a large promontory, fenced from the mainland by a ditch and wall which has been repaired in medieval times and is singularly perfect.

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Temple of Apollo

Within this is a maze of structures out of which rises the colossal ruin of the theatre, built up on arches like a Roman amphitheatre for lack of a convenient hill-side to be hollowed out in the usual Greek fashion. The auditorium is little less perfect than that of Aspendos and very nearly as large; but the scena wall has collapsed over stage and proscenium in a cataract of loose blocks. Besides the theatres, three temples, an aqueduct and a nymphaeum are noticeable.

The name Side is an Anatolian word meaning pomegranate, the symbol of abundance and fertility.


See also

Philip of Side

External link

History of Side (

de:Side (Pamphylien)


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