The road to it is a bit bumpy. And after, you will have to climb a little by foot. But once you’ve arrived, and wander among the remains of the once prosperous Roman city of Syedra, it is worth all the effort. Syedra is situated about 20 kilometres from Alanya centre on a mountain top from where you have a beautiful view of the entire coastline.
On a mountain top about 20 km east of Alanya, among trees and overgrown with grass and plants, you find the ruins of Syedra. Here, this once prosperous Roman city is left to nature and has formed the perfect place for hiking and discovery journeys. One can not help but wondering: why build a city so high up, far away from it’s port, 400 meter down at the sea?
Strolling along the overgrown paths, over ancient stones, we look at the remains that are left of the once extensive city. Some ruins are in better shape than the others, but the whole is impressive. There are Roman baths, a street with colonnades, water springs, a temple and a Byzantine church. There is also a theatre, but not much is left of it.
In 1994, archaeologists are excavating Syedra for the first time. The Directorate of the Alanya museum is supervising the project.
Excavations and historical research has shown that Syedra has been inhabited at least since the 7th century BC until the thirteenth century AD. It was also a fairly large and prosperous city.
Somewhere in the second and third centuries AC, Syedra experienced its heyday. The city had 4,500 residents at that time and needed city walls to protect them. Because at that time, the coast of Alanya was swarming with pirates. The people of Syedra were able to bravely defeat them time and again. This came to the notice of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus. In 194 he sent a letter of praise to the people of Syedra, acclaiming them for their brave resistance against the pirates. The inhabitants were so proud of the letter, they engraved the contents into stone. Which is now on display – along with other artefacts found during excavations – in the museum of Alanya.
But it’s not only the ruins and the related history that make a visit to this site worthwhile. It is also a beautiful, quiet place, surrounded by nature. You can take all kinds of routes and create your own journey of discovery. But no matter from which point you look, you’ll be overwhelmed by all of the magnificent views overlooking the entire coastline of Alanya. And then you know exactly why the founders of the city wanted to build their city right here, on this spot….
This article is published in Hello Alanya Magazine November 2015 and updated on 2 March 2017.
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