The ancient city of Termessos has
dramatic situation of any ancient
city in Turkey. Just look
at its theater:
High in a mountain defile 38 km (24
miles, one hour) north of the Mediterranean
coast city of Antalya (map),
the walled city of Termessos defied
the Great in 333 BC.
Now protected within Güllük
Dağı National Park, Termessos
requires at least half a day (4
or 5 hours, preferably in the morning—start
early), and bring a water
bottle and snacks or a picnic
lunch. (Driving to or from Cappadocia via Konya, you can visit Termessos
on your way. More...)
The park opens at 08:30 am in summer.
Last entry to the park is at 17:30
(5:30 pm), but you don't have to leave
park until 19:30 (7:30 pm). In winter,
the park may open at 08:00 am, and
close early if there is bad weather
(heavy rain, fog, snow), but otherwise
the last entry is often 16:30 (4:30
started driving from Kaleiçi, Antalya at
08:35 am, reached the entrance to the
national park at 09:15
am and paid the
Just beyond the park entrance is a
restaurant (open sometimes), café and
snack shop, picnic area, toilets, and
a small "exhibition
room" (museum) of
photos of Termessos's ruins.
here on some days (particularly weekends)
for those who might want to employ
them for a tour of the ruins—not
a bad idea if you have a lively interest
in archeology, as Termessos is an unrestored
site: signs mark the major buildings,
and the principal paths are kept
clear of brush, but you still get a
good Indiana Jones feeling as you poke
around looking at the
fields of tumbled limestone blocks.
From the park entrance, I
drove the 9 km (5.6 miles) up a winding,
switchback road to the archeological
site parking lot, arriving at 09:30
am, an hour after leaving the Tuvana
Hotel in Antalya (map).
At the site parking lot are a few
picnic tables, signs saying "No
and "No Camping", toilets,
a tiny ranger post, a temple
and propylaeum dedicated
to Emperor Hadrian and the goddess
Artemis, an ancient cistern,
and the Northeastern Necropolis,
a hillside of tumbled tombs and sacrophagi,
including a Monumental Tomb (Mezar
Anıtı) and a grand tomb with reliefs
of lions (Aslan Mezarı).
From the parking lot, I walked fairly
slowly along the rough path uphill
toward the city heights.
After 10 minutes I was at the Lower
City Walls. A few more minutes brought
me to the City Gate, and another 10
minutes to the Gymnasium and Baths.
By 10:00 am, after a half-hour hike
from the parking lot, I was at the
Upper City Walls and Drainage
on level ground at the top of the
A few minutes walking on level (but
rough) ground took me to the spectacular
Theater with its vast views and precipitous
site, teetering on the rim of a steep
Major sights at the top include
the Upper Agora, Odeon-Bouleuterion,
with Five Partitions, Colonnaded
the Corinth Temple.
Look up the hillside from the Theater
and the Agora and you'll see a fire
lookout tower (yangın
the very top of the mountain. The path
up to the tower takes you through
Necropolis, a large and impressive
collection of huge stone sarcophagi tumbled
about as though on judgement
necropolis is a 15-minute hike from
the Theater, some of it uphill, the
lookout tower another 10 to 12 minutes.
At the fire lookout tower (which will
probably be unoccupied and locked),
you get a spectacular 360° panorama
of the mountains, forests, valleys,
and the setting of Termessos itself.
From the Theater, I started down
the rocky path to the parking lot (otopark) and
arrived just over 16 minutes later.
My visit to the site, including walking
up the hill as far as the theater,
hours. One hour
would be too little, three might also
fine, four might
be too much.
Seeing Termessos requires
hiking some rough paths, and climbing
over some big stones. It is
not an easy place to walk. Spraining
an ankle or
two is easy to accomplish,
To reach Termessos from Antalya, leave
the city following signs for the Otogar (bus
terminal). When you see signs for Burdur,
follow those instead. The
road to the park, marked by "Termessos"
signs, is off the Burdur-Korkuteli
Visit on a day excursion from Antalya,
or stop for a half day going to or
from Antalya along the Burdur or Korkuteli (D350/E87)
highways on your way to or from Pamukkale and Denizli.
You should consider combining your
visit to Termessos with
one to the
Cave, 19 km (12 miles)
east of the Termessos archeological
site parking lot (map).
The two sites make a good day excursion,
and you can be back in Antalya in time
for a late
lunch and a swim.
Distances & Travel Times
38 km (24 miles) S, 1 hour
Cave: 19 km (12 miles,
35 minutes) from the Termessos
archeological site parking lot