Sagalassos

Top choice ruins in Lake District

The sprawling ancient city ruins of Sagalassos, dating from 1200 BC, are set high amid the stark and jagged peaks of Ak Dağ (White Mountain). Rarely troubled by crowds or tour buses, Sagalassos makes a great day trip from Eğirdir or Antalya, and is a place to linger and appreciate. It takes roughly 1½ to four hours to explore. Signage is excellent, with detailed and colourful representations of the various structures. Highlights include a 9000-seat Roman theatre, and the outstanding Antonine Nymphaeum. A map at the entrance details various routes around the site.

Although repeatedly devastated by earthquakes over the centuries, the ancient city was never pillaged, and reconstruction is slowly moving ahead. The Antonine Nymphaeum, a huge fountain complex wrought from seven different kinds of stone, is some 9m high and 28m wide, and ornately decorated. The impressive restoration is a massive structure supported by rows of thick columns (including bright-blue marble ones in the centre), through which huge sheets of water gush into a lengthy receptacle.

Sagalassos sprawls uphill across steep terrain, so wear sturdy shoes. Even on hot and sunny days, the treeless and exposed site is often windy, and clouds can suddenly arrive (bring an extra shirt or sweater). In summer, go early or late to avoid the midday sun.


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