Little-known Ariassos: hiking Roman roads in Antalya

Sometimes you drive past a place of interest without even realizing it. This might have happened to you when passing Ariassos. This ancient site lies hidden in the mountains above Antalya, only 600m away from the main road connecting Antalya to Burdur. Ariassos is the type of site that people seem to have forgotten about. But it is worth a visit, especially if you prefer a combination of hiking and exploring ruins. Check out this post for a tour of this smaller Pisidian city.

Ariassos Has Quite An Impressive View!

Ariassos Has Quite An Impressive View!

Ariassos in history

Ariassos dates back to the Hellenistic period and was founded around the 3rd century BC. The strategically located city was one of the smaller Pisidian cities, but it still minted its own coins during the late Hellenistic period. It continued to do so and also under Augustus’ rule, when it was part of the Roman province of Galatia, until the era of Gallienus and Salonina. Formerly at the junction between the Pisidia – Pamphilia roads, near Çubuk Boğazı, you’ll find Ariassos opposite the village of Dağbeli, at about 50km north of Antalya. Click here to open a map of Pisidia and Pamphilia.

Ariassos first appeared in written sources as one of the thirteen Pisidian cities mentioned by Artemidorus of Ephesus around 100 BC. The city was called Aarassos in these writings, later evolving to Ariassos.

While Ariassos was occupied from the Hellenistic period until the Byzantine period, in the 7th century AD, the majority of the ruins belong to the Imperial period, including the triple-arched gateway, which is one of the most striking landmarks at the site. All inscriptions found at the site also date to that period. But there are also traces of the Hellenistic fortifications and civic buildings such as a bouleuterion and small temple. While there were fragments of Islamic glazed pottery found on site, there is no evidence to suggest significant occupation of the city beyond the 7th century AD.

Bits And Pieces Everywhere

Bits And Pieces Everywhere

The three-arched gateway

Anyone visiting Ariassos will agree that the three-arched gateway is, without a doubt, the most prominent remnant at the site. This Roman arch was built between 220 and 240 AD and is almost completely preserved. It stands at the north-east end of the valley, close to where the current entry of the archaeological site is. There used to be four statues standing on top of it, facing away from the city.

The Three Arched Gateway Sits Between Two Slopes

The Three Arched Gateway Sits Between Two Slopes

Looking Down Towards The Arched Gateway With The Village Of Dağbeli In The Plains Below

Looking Down Towards The Arched Gateway With The Village Of Dağbeli In The Plains Below

The three-arched gateway is over 18m wide, and approximately 6m high. It has two side passages of 2,90m wide and a central passage of 4,30m. Today, it still dominates the landscape, and we do not doubt that this was also the case back in the days when Ariassos was still inhabited. The three-arched gateway is a great starting point for your walk around the site.

The Impressive Arched Gateway

The Impressive Arched Gateway

The Necropolis

There is more than one necropolis on-site, but the most prominent remains are boarding the road that runs from the valley to the Hellenistic civic center. The most spectacular tombs are a double-vaulted temple tomb, the masonry of which largely resembles that of the three-arched gateway. Another dramatic tomb is a rock-cut tomb that overlooks the entire valley.

This Rock Cut Tomb At Ariassos Is Quite Spectacular!

This Rock Cut Tomb Is Quite Spectacular!

Remains Of A Temple Tomb

Remains Of A Temple Tomb

You’ll notice a substantial collection of sarcophagi at the top of the site as well, some of which are relatively well-preserved. In any case, the view alone is worth the trip up to the necropolis.

High Up At Ariassos' Necropolis

High Up At Ariassos’ Necropolis

Part Of A Sarcophagus At Ariassos

Part Of A Sarcophagus

A fascinating hike

Visiting here is so much more than visiting an ancient site. This is a perfect spot to hike, as it is located right on the Pisidian Heritage Trail. This long-distance walking trail of 350km connects many archaeological sites in the region. Here’s an overview of the routes. They all have an archaeological site at their start and finish.

    • Trebenna to Termessos: 38.3km
    • Termessos to Ariassos: 33.7km
    • Döşemeboğazı (ancient road) to Sia: 13.1km
    • Sia to Melli: 25.2km
    • Sia to Kocain Cave to Melli: 30.4km
    • Melli to Pednelissos: 61.6km
    • Pednelissos to Selge: 48km
    • Melli to Kremna: 42.4km
    • Kremna to Sagalassos: 54.1km

Click here to read more about the project, or here to watch an introductory video.

These photos from our walk around Ariassos give you a good impression of what kind of sites to expect along the trail. Do check out our other posts on Termessos, Kremna, and Sagalassos for more Pisidian Heritage Trail departure or end-points.

The View Towards Termessos

The View Towards Termessos

Ariassos Upon Arrival

Ariassos Upon Arrival

In short, this site is more than just a quick road stop. It’s a beautiful place to explore in a relatively unspoiled setting. Walking around this ancient city gives you the chance to explore a part of the old Roman road that used to connect Ariassos to Termessos, and somehow, that is a very satisfying experience. Apart from a shepherd and his goats, we were the only visitors enjoying the silent peacefulness of this forgotten city.

For more practical information on how to prepare your visit, and how to get there, head over to the tabs below.

✔️ Have you been to Ariassos? Then please head over to our Turkey Trip Planner to leave a review. Alternatively, if you plan on visiting, you can add the site to your bucket list.
Exploring The Necropolis At Ariassos

Exploring The Necropolis

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Source: Mitchell, S. (1991). Ariassos 1990. Anatolian Studies, 41, 159-172. doi:10.2307/3642938

Ariassos is a site without any facilities. So make sure you are carrying water and food, and that you have something to protect you from the sun in the hotter season. If you want this to be an interesting visit, you’ll have a tiny bit of climbing to do. Wearing sturdy shoes is the way to go!

At the time of writing, there were no reviews on TripAdvisor about this place. If you’ve been, we would love for you to leave a review in our Turkey Trip Planner! Questions? Feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

There are more interesting sites in the area. Check out the Pisidian Heritage Trail if you like hiking, and exploring sites.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

We still love to use Booking.com when searching for the perfect hotel or vacation rental in Turkey. Unfortunately, the website isn’t accessible from within Turkey without the use of a VPN. If you don’t have a VPN, and you’re already in Turkey, Hotels.com is a good alternative.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Ariassos is easy to reach by car. You’ll find a marker with its exact location at the bottom of this post. The site lies just off the Antalya-Bucak road and is well waymarked.

Click here for some public transport options to Akkoç, the village near Ariassos.

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Ariassos is a site without any facilities. So make sure you are carrying water and food, and that you have something to protect you from the sun in the hotter season. If you want this to be an interesting visit, you’ll have a tiny bit of climbing to do. Wearing sturdy shoes is the way to go!

At the time of writing, there were no reviews on TripAdvisor about this place. If you’ve been, we would love for you to leave a review in our Turkey Trip Planner! Questions? Feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

There are more interesting sites in the area. Check out the Pisidian Heritage Trail if you like hiking, and exploring sites.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

We still love to use Booking.com when searching for the perfect hotel or vacation rental in Turkey. Unfortunately, the website isn’t accessible from within Turkey without the use of a VPN. If you don’t have a VPN, and you’re already in Turkey, Hotels.com is a good alternative.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Ariassos is easy to reach by car. You’ll find a marker with its exact location at the bottom of this post. The site lies just off the Antalya-Bucak road and is well waymarked.

Click here for some public transport options to Akkoç, the village near Ariassos.

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

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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!

LISTS & REVIEWS

Bookmark your favorite places, find other destinations nearby, get directions from your location, and read or leave reviews.

Our Turkey Trip Planner wad designed to do just that. You'll find all our favorite spots in one place, including scenic road stops.

Map of Turkey

Do you like to see things on a map? On our interactive tourist map of Turkey, you'll spot nearby points of interest right away. We've done the heavy lifting for you. Just click on the icons to go to each post.

Enjoy our practical and inspirational map of Turkey!

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Little-known Ariassos: hiking Roman roads in Antalya