Visit Aphrodite at Aphrodisias in Turkey

If you would ask us to describe Aphrodisias in Turkey with only one word, we’d have to pick amazing. Aphrodisias is indeed amazing for a large number of reasons. Here are five reasons why Aphrodisias is amazing and why you need to visit it:

  1. Aphrodisias isn’t overrun by tourists yet. Though visitor numbers are growing, with almost 50.000 people visiting last year, it is still possible to walk around the site in relative quietness. You may encounter a group from time to time, but nothing compared to the crowds at Ephesus, especially if you visit Aphrodisias out of season, as we did.
  2. Aphrodisias is named after Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Now, how amazing is that!
  3. Aphrodisias had a famous sculpture school. Admire the fabulous work of the artists on site.
  4. Aphrodisias is one of the best preserved ancient cities in Anatolia. While it may be world famous for its Tetrapylon, there is so much more to discover.
  5. Aphrodisias has a 262m long stadium that will make your jaw drop. It is relatively intact and utterly spectacular.

Check it out in this tour of Aphrodisias in Turkey.

Tetrapylon Seen From The Back Of Aphrodite's Temple

Tetrapylon Seen From The Back Of Aphrodite’s Temple

History of Aphrodisias

We are not going to bore you to death with a history lesson of Aphrodisias, after all, there are plenty of other websites specialized in that kind of information. It may be good to know though that Aphrodisias wasn’t always the name of this place. Excavations reveal its history goes back to the late Neolithic period. Previous names for Aphrodisias were Lelegonpolis, Megalopolis, Ninoi, Kayra, and Geyre. That last one is still the name of the Turkish village where the UNESCO site of Aphrodisias is located.

Gate Next To The Temple Of Aphrodite

Gate Next To The Temple Of Aphrodite

It is during the Roman period around 2BC that Aphrodisias was named after Aphrodite and kept gaining importance. One of the inscriptions on the theatre’s stage walls mentions a golden Eros statue gifted by Caesar to Aphrodite. It is also during this period that the cities’ sculpture school fame spreads. Byzantine times brought a bishopric center and Christianity to Aphrodisias which was then called Kayra.

Sarcophagi

Sarcophagi

While Aphrodisias had been damaged by earthquakes several times during history, it isn’t until the 7th century that a combination of religious conflicts, invasions from the east, and a devastating earthquake causes the downfall of the city. The first excavations at Aphrodisias date back to 1904, with a systematic approach put in place from 1961 onwards under the supervision of Mr. Kenan Erim, who is now buried next to the Tetrapylon.

Part Of The Tetrapylon With The Temple Of Aphrodite In The Distance

Part Of The Tetrapylon With The Temple Of Aphrodite In The Distance

Tetrapylon

The Tetrapylon is most probably the most famous image of Aphrodisias in Turkey. This majestic gateway connecting the main street and the sacred way greeted pilgrims on their approach to the Temple of Aphrodite. The gate with four times four columns gets its name from the Greek word pylon, which means gateway, and tetra, Greek for the number four.

Tetrapylon From Near The Temple Of Aphrodite

Tetrapylon From Near The Temple Of Aphrodite

Under The Tetrapylon

Under The Tetrapylon

Temple of Aphrodite – Cathedral

The Temple of Aphrodite is at the heart of Aphrodisias. Upon completion, the temple counted eight columns along the front and back and thirteen on the sides. When the Temple of Aphrodite was later converted to a cathedral, only the side columns remained in position, while the ones at the front and back were moved and recycled to extend the colonnades at the side to nineteen on each side. The former temple entrance became an apse, with the cathedral’s entry on the other far end.

Not All Pillars Are Standing Up

Not All Pillars Are Standing Up

Aphrodites Temple From The Cathedral's Entrance

Aphrodite’s Temple From The Cathedral’s Entrance

Stadium

The Stadium at Aphrodisias is incredibly well-preserved and massive. With a 30.000 person seating capacity on 22 rows, it is 262m long and 59m wide. That is even larger than the stadium at Kibyra! The elliptic Stadium was designed to give each spectator an excellent view of the arena.

Massive Stadium

Massive Stadium

Part Of The Stadium

Part Of The Stadium

Bouleuterion – Odeion

The Bouleuterion at Aphrodisias served both as a meeting place for the Senate and as an Odeon or concert hall. This richly decorated building used to have a roof which collapsed after an earthquake and has a seating capacity of approximately 1.700 spread over 12 rows of seats.

Bouleuterion And Stage Area

Bouleuterion And Stage Area

South Agora – Portico of Tiberius

While the South Agora was not accessible due to ongoing restoration works during the time of our visit, we still got a good glimpse of its majestic dimensions from the viewing point above it. We’ll go back as soon as this area reopens to the public. The Agora at Aphrodisias is the area between the Bouleuterion and the Acropolis. The Northern Agora is unexcavated, and apart from one still standing gate, not much more than a field nowadays. The Southern Agora is a long colonnaded piazza decorated with an ornamental frieze of masks and garlands. The pieces of the frieze are now exposed as a wall near to the museum. The Southern Agora has epic dimensions, measuring 215 x 70m and has a grand central water-basin of 170 x 30m.

Southern Agora With Covered Water Basin

Southern Agora With Covered Water Basin

Part Of The Southern Agora And Hadrianus Bath Seen From The Acropolis Hillside

Part Of The Southern Agora And Hadrianus Bath Seen From The Acropolis Hillside

Hadrianic Baths

The Hadrianic Baths were grand. Both the walls, the floors, and even the pools were decorated and lined with marble. Nowadays, large parts of the limestone walls are still standing, and several parts of the marble floors and walls are still intact. They give you a good impression of the former grandeur of this bathing complex that also served as a marble statue museum.

Luxurious Hadrianus Bath Complex

Luxurious Hadrianus Bath Complex

Inside Hadrianus Bath

Inside Hadrianus Bath

Theater

The Theater at Aphrodisias in Turkey has twenty-seven seat rows under the walkway, and still a few rows above, offering a seating capacity of 7.000. It has been remarkably well-preserved and features an impressive ornamented stage architecture. Next to the theater are the theatre baths and shops bordered by a colonnaded street. At the back is the Acropolis, offering stunning views of the surroundings.

Inside The Theater, Near The Stage Area

Inside The Theater, Near The Stage Area

On Top Of The World, Or At Least The Theater

On Top Of The World, Or At Least The Theater

Colonnaded Shopping Street Near The Theater. Look At That Floor!

Colonnaded Shopping Street Near The Theater. Look At That Floor!

Sebasteion

The Sebasteion was a grandiose temple complex consisting of a Corinthian temple and a small avenue with two portico-like buildings on the side. The buildings displayed framed marble reliefs in the upper two levels featuring emperors and heroes on one side and people of the empire on the other. Over 200 reliefs were used, with 80 being recuperated in the excavations. You can admire them at the on-site museum.

The Sebasteion, Quite Something!

The Sebasteion, Quite Something!

Reliefs At The Sebasteion

Reliefs At The Sebasteion

Aphrodisias Museum

Be sure to pop into the Aphrodisias Museum on the site. It presents an impressive collection of artifacts found during excavations. You’ll be surprised by the number of marvelous marble statues, reliefs, and other sculptures on display.

Ouch!

Ouch!

Mask Sculpture At Museum Entrance

Mask Sculpture At Museum Entrance

In between the landmarks at Aphrodisias

We have featured the most important landmarks at Aphrodisias today. Do make sure to look beyond those. Aphrodisias in Turkey is a particularly scenic site in a natural setting. During our autumn visit, squirrels were playing in the golden glow of the falling leaves, adding more spectacle to this impressive ancient site.

Incredible Frieze Wall

Incredible Frieze Wall

Church Remnants Near The Theater

Church Remnants Near The Theater

Map of Aphrodisias in Turkey

No risk of getting lost!  Just follow the paths and you’ll be fine. Use the map below to get a better feel of the layout of the site.

Prepare your visit to Aphrodisias

Aphrodisias is relatively stretched out. Make sure to take your time if you want to get a good impression of this ancient site. The site is very established and well taken care of, with walking paths in good condition and information boards at all major landmarks. If you are not accompanied by a guide, and you like to get more in-depth information, ask for an audio tour at the entrance. Check the weather before you go on our page containing weather statistics for all regions in Turkey as well as the current weather per region. Aphrodisias is open seven days a week from 8 am to 7 pm. Out of season, the museum closes at 5 pm. There is a small entrance fee. Are you thinking of visiting more than Aphrodisias in Turkey? The site is not too far from Pamukkale and Hierapolis or makes a perfect stop on your way from Ephesus to Antalya. Make your itinerary with our interactive map of Turkey. New places to visit are added each week.

Comment on Facebook

All pictures ©. @aegean.images

You may also like these posts:

Kyaneai: Lycian Way detour near Kaş

Kyaneai is a site that appeals to real explorers. The terrain is rough, the infrastructure non-existing, but the number of sarcophagi is beyond comparison.

You may also like these posts:

Kyaneai: Lycian Way detour near Kaş

Kyaneai is a site that appeals to real explorers. The terrain is rough, the infrastructure non-existing, but the number of sarcophagi is beyond comparison.

Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

Work with us

Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

Ask a traveler

Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

We have a closed Facebook group where you can ask all Turkey-related questions. You’ll get solid advice and travel inspiration.

Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

Work with us

Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

Ask a traveler

Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

We have a closed Facebook group where you can ask all Turkey-related questions. You’ll get solid advice and travel inspiration.

JOIN THE TRIBE, FOLLOW US

Visit #Aphrodite at #Aphrodisias in #Turkey - #UNESCO