Aspendos features the best preserved ancient Roman theater in Turkey, and one of the most fascinating one in the world.
Located on the Pamphylian plain 47 km east of Antalya and 37 km west of Side, Aspendos is 4 km north of the Mediterranean shore on the banks of the Kopru cayi river.
Once called Belkis, Aspendos was orignally founded by the Hittites, but it was actually Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD) who ordered its great theater to be built, and thus making the place a tourist attraction.
Aspendos theatre is still used for performances today, the theater really allows you to imagine what it was like to attend a dramatic performance in Roman times.
The ruined city includes a substantial aqueduct and less impressive remains of an agora, basilica and stadium, and you can wander through the farmers fields to find them, though its the theater everyone really wants to see.
There are no hotels or restaurants right by the theater. It is usually a location of day trips from Antalya.
Aspendos is crowded with tour groups in the middle of the day in summer, so try to avoid the crowds by coming early or late in the day, or off-season.
If you do come in high season, you can enjoy the Aspendos Opera & Ballet Festival from mid-June to mid-August, with performances in the marvelous theater. I am sure you will never such a performance in an ancient theatre.
Aspendos is also a good starting point for the St. Paul Trail leading north up onto the Anatolian plateau by way of dramatic Koprulu Kanyon National Park.