Termessos Archaeological Site (Τερμησσός)


Location: 35 km (22 mi) Northwest of Antalya Map


summer 7:30am- 7:30pm daily

winter 7:30am- 4:30pm daily


Termesos, Termesos, Termissos or Telmissos (in ancient Greek Τερμησσός) was a city in Pisidia, famous for its impregnability as a fortress. Located in the Taurus Mountains at the entrance to a valley crossed by the Catarractes River, it was an essential communication hub between Pisidia, Pamphylia and Lycia. The top of the mountain on which the acropolis sat was called Solimo (present-day Mount Güllük). It is, something quite rare at the time, a city located at an altitude of 1050 meters, on a plateau. The road that crossed it passed through a very narrow gorge that could be defended by few men.



Tradition associates it with the hero Bellerophon, who fought against the Solimus. Near Termessus there was a place known as Bellerophon's stockade and a tomb attributed to his son Isander, who died in battle. Another tradition mentions a defeat of the Solimus against Memnon's army.



Its origins are poorly known. Its first inhabitants, the sólimos, were Pisidians who lived from livestock, olive cultivation, but also from banditry, which gave them an execrable reputation.

According to Strabo, in 334 BC. C., Alexander the Great destroyed Termessus, since he wanted to leave the gorges on the way to the region of Milia free. On the other hand, Arrian indicates that Alexander's troops pushed back the Thermiseans, who were protecting the access gorge, to their city, but that seeing that the capture of Termessus could be prolonged for a long time, they first headed against the city of Sagalaso.

In a confrontation in the year 319 BC. C. between troops of the diadoch Antigonus I Monophthalmos against Alcetas of Macedonia. The latter was defeated and retired to Termessus. There the younger Pisidians of the city were in favor of fighting for Alcetas, but the older men, fearing the destruction of their city, were opposed and sent an embassy to Antigonus promising to hand over Alcetas to him. While fighting was taking place far from the city, the elders sent a slave to arrest Alcetas but he committed suicide to avoid falling into the hands of his enemies. When the young men returned from the fighting, they became enraged against their relatives, recovered the body of Alcetas, paid him honors and decided to wage guerrilla war against the territories controlled by Antigonus.

It later came under control of the Ptolemaic dynasty. The city was quickly Hellenized in the 3rd century BC. C., and had, at its peak, several tens of thousands of inhabitants.

In 189 BC C. an army from Termessus had laid siege to the city of Isinda. The Romans came to the aid of the besieged and, after lifting the siege, granted peace to Termessus in exchange for 50 talents of silver.

It became the sovereignty of Rome and issued currency until the time of Emperor Severus. Rome granted him a statute of autonomy known as Lex Antonia de Termessibus in 72 or 68 BC. C. to thank him for his alliance in the war against Mithridates VI (See third Mithridatic war).

The city was prosperous during the Roman period, but its decline began in the 5th century, when an earthquake devastated the city and it was abandoned. In this same century, it was the seat of a bishopric and had the neighboring cities of Jovia and Eudocia under its jurisdiction.


Archaeological remains

Its remains, relatively well preserved, are within the Güllük Dağı National Park, in the place called Karabunar Kiui, 34 km northwest of Antalya, ruins that are located at the foot of the mountain where the fortress was.

Today the monuments of the Hellenistic and Roman era are still visible, such as the theater (4,200 seats), the odeon, the gymnasium, the agora, fortifications, the cistern, six temples among which are one dedicated to Artemis and another probably to Zeus Solimeus and tombs, among which is one believed to be the one erected in honor of Alcetas.

Among the cults that were performed in the city, the cult of the medical Achilles is unique, documented in an epitaph found in a sarcophagus from the Roman imperial period.

In Pisidia there was another city of the same name, known as Lesser Termessos (Termessos he mikra).