The Roman city of Selge is set high in the mountains above a dramatic gorge cut by the Köprüçay (Bridge Creek) (map).
The Turkish village of Altınkaya has grown up amid the scant ruins of the Roman theater, city walls, agora temple of Zeus, and of a Byzantine church.
If you take a day excursion to Bridge Canyon National Park (Köprülü Kanyon Milli Park), you may want to go another 12 km (7.5 miles) to Selge to enjoy its beautiful mountain setting, the Roman ruins, and perhaps a hike into the hills.
Although Selge was a relatively prosperous city under the Romans, it has always had a problem obtaining water. The ciy’s excellent Roman engineers solved the problem for a time, but the scarcity of water and the necessity of bringing it to the city over long distances limited Selge’s growth.
The modern village of Altınkaya has the same problem.
Even so, Selge’s Roman ruins are worth seeing. The theater seating is in fairly good condition, all things considered. After nearly 2000 years of use, the skene(stage wall) was destroyed by lightning less than a century ago. (It’s that pile of rubble behind the stage.)
Car is the best way to get to Selge. Plan a day excursion from Antalya, Belek, Side or even Alanya, and plan to spend some time in Bridge Canyon National Park as well. You might even want to go river rafting there.
If you take one of the infrequent minibus dolmuses from Serik on the Antalya–Alanya highway, you may have to stay overnight. Villagers will offer you space to roll out your sleeping bag, and may be able to cook you simple meals.
Distances & Travel Times
Aspendos: 56 km (35 miles) S, 1.5 hours
Belek: 69 km (43 miles) S, 1.75 hours
Bridge Canyon Nat’l Park (Köprülü Kanyon): 12 km (7.5 miles) SE, 25 minutes
Alanya: 140 km (87 miles) SE, 2.25 hours
Antalya: 108 km (67 miles) SW, 1.75 hours
Side: 81 km (50 miles) S, 1.5 hours
—by Tom Brosnaha