The ancient city of Anamurium has been here, at the southernmost point of the Anatolian peninsula, since the 4th century BCE.
Today it is perhaps the most striking and atmospheric ancient “ghost town” in Turkey.
Anamurium was a flourishing Roman city from the 1st to 4th centuries AD, and continued a fairly prosperous existence from agriculture, fishing and maritime trade into the Byzantine period (5th and 6th centuries).
An earthquake in 580, and destructive raids by pirates and Arab armies in the 600s, put an end to the city, leaving it a ghost town.
As you wander around the hillside city overlooking the Mediterranean, you’ll see aqueducts, city walls, palaestrae (sports halls), Roman baths, Byzantine churches, houses, and a vast necropolis (cemetery) with some elaborate graves of two stories.
Archeological finds from the site are preserved in the Archeological Museum in the town of Anamur.
To find the Anamurium archeological site, drive west from Anamur and look for signs pointing to the left off the highway, just as the highway begins to climb into the mountains. There’s a small admission fee to the ruins; cool drinks are available at the site, and meals are served in small restaurants along the access road to the ruins.
—by Tom Brosnahan