Tripolis: ancient city with 4 names and fascinating ruins

Tripolis sounds intriguing enough as it is, and at least to us, the name was enough to spark curiosity and to have a closer look at the site. But it seems one name wasn’t enough for this place, which is also known as Neapolis, Apollonia, and Antoniopolis. Whichever name you prefer, this ancient site close to Pamukkale is rather pretty and worth adding to your itinerary if you’re in the area.

Tripolis is an active excavation site; this means archaeologists make discoveries there regularly, making this an interesting place for a revisit from time to time. Check out Tripolis on the Meander in this post.

Agora At Tripolis

Agora At Tripolis

About Tripolis on the Meander

According to the official archaeology project website, Tripolis dates back as far as 4.000 BCE. In the Hellenistic period, The city was at the borders of the Phrygia, Caria, and Lydia regions. However, most of the ruins you’ll see today originate from the Roman and Byzantine periods, the most lustrous time of the city. Most public buildings, including the city gates, streets, baths, stadiums, theaters, and council halls, were built after the 2nd century.

In 2013, a 1.500-year-old church was discovered, and in 2019, excavations revealed a 2nd-century fountain. The city minted its own coins, some of which carried the image of Leto. Today you’ll find Tripolis near Yenicekent and Buldan in the Denizli Province.

Read more about Leto and check out her palm grove in our Patara post.

Inscribed Stone Before Entering The Portico To The Agora

Inscribed Stone Before Entering The Portico To The Agora

A walk around Tripolis

There are two official walking routes to discover this ancient city. The short route takes you past all the excavated and restored landmarks of the site, while the long route gives you an idea of how stretched out the city was and what unexcavated theatres and stadiums look like. You’ll notice that the emphasis in this post lies in the excavated parts of the city simply because unexcavated structures are mostly hidden underground.

Inside The Arched Building At Tripolis

Inside The Arched Building At Tripolis

Just after the parking lot, before you enter the actual site, you walk past the Mosaic House. Unfortunately, while it has been restored, the area is not open to visitors. So at best, you’ll get a glimpse of it from the side. The Mosaic house was built between the late Hellenistic and Late Roman periods. The house has two rooms with mosaic floors, which were there living quarters of the house. They were used throughout the 5th century.

The Mosaic House

The Mosaic House

Just around the corner, the Colonnaded Street awaits. Shops board the street and, on the crossroad with Hierapolis Street, stand the remains of the Nymphaeum. The inner dimensions of the fountain are 2,1 x 5 m, and its remnants undoubtedly leave their mark on this street.

The Orpheus Fountain And Colonnaded Street In Tripolis

The Orpheus Fountain And Colonnaded Street In Tripolis

Behind the Colonnaded Street lies the Agora, which is accessible through 2 different gates. The first gate takes you to the side of the Agora, where the Arched Building and the Vaulted Building can be found. The Vaulted Building is small and hides some interesting, but heavily damaged frescoes. You’re not allowed to enter the building, but you can have a look from the entrance. Evidence suggests this place was also used as a tomb.

The Arched Building is truly magnificent and consists of a sequence of 15 arches, with one side resting on pillars at the center of the building. There were workshops on one side of the building and storage facilities on the other end. The Arched Building or Cryptoportico was constructed in the Late Hellenistic and Early Roman period and experienced a second phase of use during the 4th century.

Detail Of The Supports Of The Arches In The Arched Building

Detail Of The Supports Of The Arches In The Arched Building

The Impressive Arched Building

The Impressive Arched Building

Before you enter the Arched Building, take a look at the impressive cart tracks left in the pavement at the Hierapolis Street gate.

Check Out These Cart Tracks!

Check Out These Cart Tracks!

Next, it is time to admire the Agora at Tripolis. The Agora covers a total of 2.800 m² and measures about 50 x 56 m inside. You’ll find a stepped platform to the north and south sides, and a Stoa on the west side. The Agora was built during the end of the 4th and the early 5th century by rearranging a preexisting Agora from the Augustus period.

A Winter Day In Tripolis

A Winter Day In Tripolis

Columns Standing Proudly At Tripolis Agora

Columns Standing Proudly At Tripolis Agora

The 5-meter wide Portico has a stunning opus sectile floor, mostly made with onyx tiles. An Honorary Column that was destroyed in an earthquake stands at the center of the Agora. The restoration works on the Agora were completed in 2018 and testify to the former glory of Tripolis.

Beautifully Restored Portico At Tripolis' Agora

Beautifully Restored Portico At Tripolis’ Agora

The Expertly Restored Agora At Tripolis

The Expertly Restored Agora At Tripolis

Near to the Agora, archaeologists revealed a 2nd-century fountain during their 2019 excavations. The U-shaped fountain is seven meters wide and 32 meters long and is remarkably well-preserved. You can admire the excavation area from above, near to where the archaeology team has its base.

Overlooking The Excavation Area In Tripolis

Overlooking The Excavation Area In Tripolis

Columns Of All Colors And Sizes

Columns Of All Colors And Sizes

The Theatre in Tripolis lies along the long route, just past the Theatre Baths. It is unexcavated, but walking up to that area gives you an excellent overview of the site and its surroundings. Shepherds are using the Necropolis as a grazing area for their sheep, and further up the hill, the fortress promises even wider views. You walk past the unexcavated Stadium and what remains of the city walls on your way up to the fortress. The best spot to see the Theatre is from the road leading up to the site, though the distinct horseshoe shape is also clear from above.

The Unexcavated Theatre At Tripolis Seen From The Road

The Unexcavated Theatre At Tripolis Seen From The Road

Tripolis' Excavation Area Seen From The Theatre Baths

Tripolis’ Excavation Area Seen From The Theatre Baths

As we’ve mentioned in our introduction, Tripolis is an active excavation site. This holds the promise of more discoveries to come, but it also means not all areas are always accessible. Still, this is a small price to pay, as the ancient city is worth a visit, even if some parts are off-limit. Visiting Tripolis gives you an insight into the methodology of archaeologists and living proof that there is a lot of digging involved if one wants to unearth the glories of forgotten times.

The short walking tour takes less than an hour, and if you’re a real Speedy Gonzales, probably only half an hour. So, even if you’re on a tight schedule, you could squeeze this into your itinerary.

Tripolis In A Nutshell

Tripolis In A Nutshell

More noteworthy places to visit near Tripolis include Buldan, Hierapolis & Pamukkale, Laodicea, or the beautifully painted wooden mosques near Denizli. Check out the tabs below for more practical information about traveling to Tripolis.

✔️ Have you been to Tripolis? Then please head over to our Turkey Trip Planner to leave a review. Alternatively, if you plan on visiting, you can add the ancient site to your bucket list.
Different Kinds Of Marble Were Used At Tripolis Ancient Site

Different Kinds Of Marble Were Used At Tripolis Ancient Site

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Don’t just take it from us, read these reviews on TripAdvisor to find out what other travelers think of Tripolis. Do you still have questions? Feel free to ask. 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! 😉

Also in the area: Pamukkale, Kaklık Cave, Denizli’s Coppersmith Quarter, and much more. The easiest way to find nearby places is by using our Turkey Trip Planner.

You must have guessed it already, we’re independent travelers. Joining groups for excursions or activities isn’t really our cup of tea. But we fully understand that not everyone is keen on exploring Turkey on their own. That’s when Get Your Guide comes in handy. They offer plenty of activities and sightseeing tours that you can pre-book online. For Laodicea, and the Seven Churches of Revelation, check out this tour.

If you’re more into a personalized experience while enjoying the services of a guide, Tours by Locals may be what you’re looking for! We just love them! You get the knowledge and assistance of a local, and the experience of independent traveling. Best of both worlds, really.

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 stayed at Bellamaritimo Hotel in Pamukkale and loved it. The rooms in this budget-friendly hotel are spotless, the breakfast delicious, and if you stay on the upper floor, you’ll get travertine views as a bonus! Watch the balloons take off from your bed. 😉

We ate at Kayaş Restaurant and Bar, which has undergone a complete makeover. (a lot of photos on TripAdvisor are still from the old place) This restaurant now has a boho, laid-back vibe with a twist. The food was great, the prices very reasonable, and the atmosphere was perfect!

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! 😉

Tripolis is easy to reach if you’re self-driving. Click here to read all you need to know about driving in Turkey.

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable, for Laodicea, Denizli is the nearest airport. 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! 😉

Don’t just take it from us, read these reviews on TripAdvisor to find out what other travelers think of Tripolis. Do you still have questions? Feel free to ask. 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! 😉

Also in the area: Pamukkale, Kaklık Cave, Denizli’s Coppersmith Quarter, and much more. The easiest way to find nearby places is by using our Turkey Trip Planner.

You must have guessed it already, we’re independent travelers. Joining groups for excursions or activities isn’t really our cup of tea. But we fully understand that not everyone is keen on exploring Turkey on their own. That’s when Get Your Guide comes in handy. They offer plenty of activities and sightseeing tours that you can pre-book online. For Laodicea, and the Seven Churches of Revelation, check out this tour.

If you’re more into a personalized experience while enjoying the services of a guide, Tours by Locals may be what you’re looking for! We just love them! You get the knowledge and assistance of a local, and the experience of independent traveling. Best of both worlds, really.

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 stayed at Bellamaritimo Hotel in Pamukkale and loved it. The rooms in this budget-friendly hotel are spotless, the breakfast delicious, and if you stay on the upper floor, you’ll get travertine views as a bonus! Watch the balloons take off from your bed. 😉

We ate at Kayaş Restaurant and Bar, which has undergone a complete makeover. (a lot of photos on TripAdvisor are still from the old place) This restaurant now has a boho, laid-back vibe with a twist. The food was great, the prices very reasonable, and the atmosphere was perfect!

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! 😉

Tripolis is easy to reach if you’re self-driving. Click here to read all you need to know about driving in Turkey.

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable, for Laodicea, Denizli is the nearest airport. 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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