Titus Tunnel, Samandağ, Turkey

The Titus Tunnel (Titüs Tüneli) is a Roman engineering marvel.

During the reign of Emperor Vespasian (69-79 AD), the Roman governors of Seleucia Pieria (Samandağ), the port city for Antioch ad Orontes (Antakya), decided to divert a river.

They put Roman legionnaires, sailors and prisoners to work cutting a channel along and through the rock for about 1.4 km (nearly a mile).

Titus Tunnel, Samandag, Turkey

Continued under Emperor Titus (79-81), inscriptions tell us it was completed during the reigns of the Antonine emperors decades later.

Today the channel is dry, but still worth a visit. A small parking area and entrance is just inland from the beach at Samandağ. A path ascends along the channel, open to the sky, up and down steps and rocks, to where an arched limestone footbridge crosses.

Above the footbridge, the channel continues into the solid rock. You’ll need a powerful flashlight/torch to continue.

—by Tom Brosnahan

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