Psidia Antiokheia Site Ruins Museum (Yalvaç county – Isparta city – Turkey)
Antiokheia is a Pisidia city established on the productive land lying along the southern slopes of Sultan Mountains at approximately 1 km north of Yalvaç District of Isparta Province.
Antiokehia is a Seleukos colony just as Apolloia, but its date of establishment is not known precisely. This city has been established by Seleukos the 1st or his son Antiokhos. At a date between the years 39 and 36 BC, Antiokheia has gone under the control of Amyntas and has been included in Galatia state just as all other cities of the region upon his being killed in 25 BC.
Antiokheia has become a Roman colony with the name Colonia Caesarea in 25 BC or some time later. The city, as proved by many Latin inscriptions, has protected this status for more than two hundred years.
The inscriptions arranged for the emperor and his legates evidence that Latin has been used as the official language until 295 AD. But the protocols of decurios (state senator) after that date are mostly written in Greek. Latin expressions are seen on coins until the end of the time of Claudius II (268 – 270 AD). After that, Latin has left its place to Greek. In the inscriptions and the vows devoted to God Men, it is seen that Latin is used very rare in comparison to Greek.
In accordance with the estimations of I.A. Richmond and R.G. Collingwood, the population in the city centre was about 7500 – 10.000. B. Levick claims that there were more than 3.000 retired soldiers. But, we can say that a population of 30 -40 thousand lived in the large borders of Antiokheia.
Antiokheia has been the metropolis of enlarged Pisidia state that was established just at the end of the 3rd century AD. As understood from the church records, the city has preserved its importance in the Byzantine period. The known earliest coins of the city are dated to the end of the 1st century BC. There are not many minted coins in the first 150 years of the colony period. As well as the coins before the colony period, they are mostly related with God Men. The expression “colonia” exist on the coins. Coin minting has continued until Cladius II. We understand that the economical situation of the city reached the top point thanks to this coin minting.
In 713 AD, the city, which has been subject to the invasion of Arabs, has been destroyed. The ruin traces and findings obtained as the result of the excavations evidence this event in history. It is possible to follow the history of the city until the 13th century. But it is seen that starting from the second half of this century, a part of the public immigrated to Yalvaç, which has productive lands, and another part has moved to other states.
Definition of the City
Antiokheia is 1236 m high from the sea level, on a branch of Sultan Mountains, on a hill seeing the Anthios Valley lying in northern- southern direction. The eastern, southern and northern slopes of this hill having a height of 120 m are very steep, therefore the city could be reached easily only from the western side.
The surface of the acropolis is not flat and there are some hills, in other words seven hills in eastern – western, northern and southern directions. Most of the buildings are located on the slopes of these hills and in small valleys.
It is interesting that grid city plan is skillfully applied in Antiokheia making use of the natural condition of the land. The archaic city has a small number of buildings that could survive. These are generally in the form of base ruins.
In the city walls, axis from south to north and from east to west be drawn and planning has been carried out in accordance with these axes. The street going from south to north is called Decumanus Maximus and the main street going from east to west is called Cardo Maximus. We see that they are narrow, but straight streets opening to the main streets in the city plan.
The two main avenues of the city were in the east of the city and in the focus. First of these was the avenue in front of Augustus Temple, which was given the same name, and the second is the Tiberius avenue, which is in the west of the first avenue. Between these two avenues, the propylon placed longitudinally is located. Another third avenue is in front of the nymphaeum.
In the north of the city, the Roman bath – palaestra and nymphaeum are located. On the slopes of the hill in the east, Augustus Temple and avenue, propylon, Tiberius Avenue is located and in the west of Tiberius Avenue, the street with columns is located. In the northwest of the street with columns there is the bouleuterion, and in the southwest of it, there is a theatre. The small church is in the north of the theatre. The houses are scattered around the city centre and suitable parts of the land. The ruins of one of the most ancient churches of Anatolia (St. Paul) in the west of the city have reached today. Since no large excavations have been made in Antiokheia, we do not have sufficient information relating to the other building ruins.
The northwestern city walls are at the base level and the southwestern and southern city walls are partially strong. The western door, which is the main door of the city combines with city walls on two sides. The second door of the city is in the south. The northern door, which is narrower, is connected with the bath. The water arches are in the north of the city.
Antiokheia is established on a high hill and is surrounded with a completely oval city wall. The length of the city walls, which are partially strong today and whose base ruins can be seen, is 2.920 m. With the parts that can not be seen, the entire length of the city walls reaches 3.000 m. The area surrounded by the city walls is 47 hectares.
When attention is paid to the city walls, it is seen that the city wall thickness reaches an average of 1.50 m at locations having a high land slope and of 4.75 – 5.50 m at other locations.
It is understood from the ruins reached today that the first city walls constructed in the Hellenistic Period have been enlarged in Roman and Byzantine periods.
The most magnificent door of the city was located in the west of the city. It is in the form of a three – opening passage having two side pylons and two mid pylons. The body dimensions of the legs carrying the vaults are 3.20 x 2.36 m and the bases of the legs are limited with moldings and constructed simply and smoothly. It is understood that there were plasters ornamented with plant motifs on both sides of the legs having 4 m openings. The focus of the front side was constituted by two reliefs of parts carrying flags and standards, which were on their knees towards each other in the triangular spandrels on both sides of the arch in the middle and on plasters. Furthermore, there were Nikes carrying girlands on the plasters.
The inscription “Gaius Lulius Asper Con. 212″ is placed on the wide side of the staged architrave of the western door looking outside the city with bronze relief letters. On the fritz on the architrave, Triton, Amazon Shield (both ends in the form of eagle head), armor and various gun reliefs are placed.
The second fritz on this is ornamented with plant motifs. The monumental door must have been constructed in 212 BC as understood from both its structural form and the inscription on it.
It is constructed in the south of the city at the most suitable location for access to Anthios Valley. A very small amount of architectural ruins have reached today, which is understood to have a single entrance.
It is approximately 70 m far from the northwestern corner of the city wall and looks towards the northern direction. Only base ruins of the single – passage door can be seen. No ornamental elements could be seen on the door, which we estimate to be constructed with the city walls. It is absolute that secondary doors with small dimensions used for entrance, except these doors.
The temple was constructed in the holy area at the highest location of the city after the death of Emperor Augustus. The base of the building is formed by cutting the natural rock. The temple that was on a podium having a height of 2.50 m was reached with a 12 – step stair. The cellar formed by carving the internal part of the natural rock forming the temple podium had the dimensions 5.65 x 7.90 m and a depth of 2 m, and probably it was a place where vowing goods were preserved.
Behind the temple, there was a gallery having two floors formed by carving in the natural rock in the form of a semi circle. In the lower floor, columns in Dor arrangement and in the upper floor columns in Ionian arrangement are used. In front of the temple, there is an avenue having the dimensions 63 x 85 m, which is called with the name of the emperor. The base traces of the galleries having columns with 5 m widths, which are located on the northern and southern sides of the avenue, can be seen today. The findings obtained both from the inscriptions and from the ornamental workmanship show that the construction activities continued long period from the Tiberius Period until the Cladius Period.
It is constructed at the intersection point of Augustus Avenue and Tiberius Avenue.The propylon having three vaults, constructed in the form of a victory arch, has been constructed in the honor of Emperor Augustus and was ornamented with sculptures and reliefs symbolizing the victories won by him on the sea and land.
The monumental entrance door was reached with a 12 – step stair from Tiberius Avenue. The passage vaults rest on four legs, two of which are on the sides and two of which are in the middle. The dimensions of the legs on two sides are 2.25 x 3 m and the dimensions of the legs in the middle are 2.50 x 3 m. The base openings of the legs were 3.50 m on the sides, but reached 4.50 m in the mid part. The bases of the legs were limited with moldings and there were four columns with Korinth heads in front of the vault legs and there were architrave and fritz on them.
In the triangular spandrels on both sides of the arch in the middle, two Pisidian prisoners, one clothed, other naked, whose hands are tied on the back and who are on their knees are depicted as high reliefs on plasters. The space in front of the reliefs is filled with a torch and a garland. In the arch spaces on the sides, winged Eros and Nike reliefs carrying girland are located.It is understood that the inscription (IMP CAES AVGVSTO PONTIFEX MAX TRIBUNICA POTESTATE XII CON.) was written on the central part of the staged architrave with bronze relief letters. A two – trithon group is located on the centre of each under – arch way of the fritz continuing on the architrave and legs. Furthermore, on the plasters located on the column heads ornamented with various animal reliefs, war ships, shields, god depictions such as Poseidon and Demetre are located.
It is estimated that giant clothed man and woman sculptures were placed on the base over the fringe set including various moldings and reliefs. These sculptures are being exhibited today.
The testament of Augustus “Res Gestae Divi Augusti”, which he wrote before his death, gives the summary of the works he has performed during his life. A copy of this text in Latin was placed in this building. Many inscription parts have been found during the excavation.
It is the most reasonable to date the monumental entrance door to the mid of the 1st century BC in stylistic point of view, since the inscription on the architrave supports this idea.
Tiberius Avenue, located at the eastern end of the street with columns was surrounded by the monumental stairs of propylon in the east; and by the galleries with columns in the north and south.
The main entrance of this place, whose base ruins we see today, was in the western direction and opened to the street with columns. This avenue, where the social life of the city continued, has seen the strike of the soldiers in 16 AD. The Roman soldiers desiring the improvement of life conditions have destroyed a part of the water arches and repaired the water arch themselves after obtaining their wills.
Street with Columns
The street with columns, constituting the spine of the city in Antiokheia, starts at 75 m north of the crossroads where the two main streets intersect and from the east of the second main street and continues until Tiberius avenue. The main street having a pavement has a width of almost 11 m and a length of 69 m. There are portics having depths of 5.50 m in the south and 5.60 m in the north on the left and right of the street and base ruins of 5 m have been determined where the shops were located behind these portics.
The presence of sculpture bases on the street with columns shows that the street was ornamented with sculptures in the archaic period. Furthermore, the water ways made of stone and earthenware pipes transferring the spring waters under the shops on both sides, other than the canal passing through the mid of the street and to which waste water was disposed, draw attention. The stylistic and structural features of the street with columns makes us think that it belongs to the mid of the 1st century AD, which are the development phases of the empire.
The theatre, constructed on the slopes of a hill near the city centre, is at a location that sees the whole city. It is a building that has been subject to the greatest damage among the ruins in the ruin places. Antiokheia theatre is seen to consist of three main sections, as every archaic theatre.
1- Sitting rows arranged in the form of a semi circle for the audience (cavea)
2- An area in the form of a semi circle (orchestra)
3- Stage building where the plays are shown (scene).
Sitting Stages of the Theatre
The front side of the building has a length of approximately 105 m in the northwestern direction.The round perimetre at the back has an average length of 185m. The sitting stages in the northern direction had been placed on natural land slope by carving the slope of the hill, but the sitting stages in the south (in order to make the land compliant with the shape of the theatre) had been placed on an infrastructure consisting of vaults and arches (substruction). On the other hand, the main street of the city in east – west direction (Cardo Maximus) passing through a vaulted tunnel, which is a case that we do not see in other theatres, is very interesting. The length of this closed tunnel is 56 m and its width is 8m. It was enlarged in the Roman Period and the main street has remained under the theatre.
In accordance with the ruins that are existent today, we estimate that the theatre had a capacity of 5000 persons and it is thought that the theatre has been divided with a circular strap (diasoma) and that there existed six intermediate stairs, four of which were in the middle and two of which were on the sides, between the stairs assigned for the audiences for sitting consisting of 26 steps.
Orchestra: It has the shape of almost a semicircle. It has a diametre of 35 m. In accordance with the current condition of the sitting rows, it is 1.10 m below and it is seen that stone is laid on the ground.
Stage Building (Scene): from the base ruins, it is determined that it had a projection towards the front side from the main theatre and that it had 12 x 55 m dimensions and a rectangular plan. The base structure, which is covered with a thick rubble layer today, has been subject to a great damage. But from the architectural parts obtained, it is understood that the front architecture was ornamented and covered with relieved fritzes.
The ruins that can be seen today must belong to the beginning of the 4th century AD.
It is in the northwestern corner of the city. The building is constructed in compliance with the shape of the land and therefore it has irregular rectangular plan.
It is seen that the building consists of two parts one of which is palaestra and the other is the bath. Palaestra is in front of the closed bath building. The surface area of the mid courtyard, whose three sides are estimated to be surrounded with porches, is 20 x 33 m but it increases to 37 x 29 m with porches. Since sufficient architectural parts could not be obtained except the stone laid base, we do not have enough information relating to the upper structure architecture. As the result of the researches we have carried out, it has been understood that the closed bath part building was connected to the palaestra as a whole and consisted of three parts as in the case of other bath structures of the period.
1- Frigidarium (cold part)
2- Tepidarium (mild part)
3- Caldarium (hot part)
Except these, it is absolute that dressing places (apodeiterium), service parts, water facilities, boiler room and warehouses constituted the other parts. From the existing ruins of the building, it can be said that it belongs to the ends of the 1st century AD or the beginning of the 2nd century AD.
It is located at the skirts of Sultan Mountain, in the west of the acropolis. The length of the stadium is 190 m and its width is 30m. The building has a plan in the form of a “horse shoe”. The city stadium has been constructed in the Hellenistic Period and repaired in the 2nd century AD.
The stadium has played an important role since the archaic periods in the life of Antiokheia people. Here, various games, especially athletics, wrestling and boxing took place here. The gladiator and wild animal games were also popular in the Roman world in the 3rd – 4th centuries AD. These games took place in the theatres and stadiums later.
St. Paul Church
It is the first and biggest church of Antiokheia and is next to the city wall, approximately 200 m southern of the Roman Bath.
The dimensions of the building, showing a basilical structure are 70 x 26 m. The abscissa orienting towards east and projecting beyond the location has a semicircular shape and has three nephs, one neph being in the middle and the other two narrow nephs being at the sides. The mid neph has the dimensions of 43.10 x 11.90 m and the side nephs have the dimensions of 43 x 4.93 m. The internal part of the building is divided into three parts having different sizes and the main part is separated from the narrow parts on the sides with thirteen columns on each side, hence these parts are supported with columns.
In the west of the church, there is a rectangular nartex having six columns in front of it, which is placed longitudinally. The length of the nartex is 8.90 m, and its width is 21 x 76 m. From this part, passage to mid neph is provided with a large door while passage to side nephs is provided with narrower doors.
As the result of the researches carried out, it has been understood that the mosaic covering the entire base of the church consisted of various colors and various motifs. Furthermore, this mosaic base is designed by F.J. Woodbridge. It is seen that five colors and three main motifs have been used in the base panels and in addition to them, geometrical and plant motifs have been used. Another feature drawing attention in the mosaics is the placement of four visible Greek inscriptions at the centre of the main place with mosaic. These inscriptions include the names and vows of the persons who have had the mosaic consisting of smaller terraces built and the assigned priests.
Optimus, whose name is mentioned in one of those inscriptions is one of the Orthodox leaders and has been the bishop in Antiokheia between the years 375 – 381 AD.
As known, St. Paul has given its first sermon with Barnabas in the Synagogue located under this church in order to spread Christianity. The church, which is devoted to St. Paul for this reason, is of great importance. On the other hand, we see the first church built on the synagogue, where St. Paul has given a sermon in order to spread the new religion, only in Antiokheia in Anatolia.
The church, which is located at the centre of the city and 35 m west of the street with columns, has a plan that is shaped as a Latin cross. The building having an east – west direction, consists of a large neph in the middle, two nephs on the sides and a nartex.
The building has the dimensions of 43 x 25.50 m externally. The distance between the two side walls of the main location of the building that is 23 m long, is 15.50 m and these dimensions show us that the main place is tried to be kept as large as possible.The abscissa is located in the eastern end of the mid neph.
Nartex consists of a thin, long, rectangular place having dimensions of 6.50 x 23.50 m, which has been left with the extension of the neph walls towards both sides. From the base ruins on two sides of the semicircle abscissa of the church, we understand that it had pastophorion rooms. Hence, we see that the building is limited with a regular wall with these rooms, in other words the walls had a regular side. The three martyrs of this church (Neon, Nikon and Heliodorus) are mentioned on a seal found during the excavations. Furthermore, from the other side of this seal, it is understood that the priest who worked in this church for the first time had the name Basus. In terms of structure, plan and material, this church may have been constructed in the 5th century AD.
The monumental fountain is at the northern end of the south – North Street. The base ruins can be seen today. It is understood that the nymphaeum has been constructed in two parts, one of which is the face wall ornamented probably with column architecture on which the fountains are located and the other being the tank where the water is collected.
Behind the nymphaeum, the base ruins of the water tank having dimensions of 10 x 27 m are seen. The water collected in the tank was distributed to the city via pipes made of cooked earth, stone and lead. It has been determined as the result of the studies carried out that there were four fountains at certain locations in the city. It is understood from the ruins that the fountains behind the western door and Tiberius Avenue had a monumental structure.
As the result of the excavations, presence of a developed water system in Antiokheia has been brought into light. Nymphaeum may be constructed towards the end of the 1st century.
One of the most important structures of the city architecture is the water arches. The water need which increased in the Roman Period with the development and enlargement of the city, was met with the water way having an approximate length of 10 km lying along the northern direction of the city being taken from the spring, which is called “water well” today.
The water arches coming to the residence place complying with the topographic structure of the land end in the nymphaeum and met the water need of almost 2/3 of the city. The ruins belonging to the water arches are strong at some locations and draw attention with their careful and strong structures that astonish the persons seeing them.
The height of the strong arches differs between 5 – 7 m and the existing length is 250 m. The arch legs have 2.10 m dimensions and four metre height and are constructed with block stones without using any mortar. The openings between the two legs on which the arches rest differ between 4.70 – 3.80 m.
Since the upper structure of the water arches is completely destroyed, the structure of the canals through which water flew (canalis) is not known completely. But from the architectural parts obtained, it is understood that the water groove section was a circle having a diametre of 30 cm.
Based on some significant samples from various regions the dating of the water way goes back towards the end of the 1st century AD, when the water transfer systems became widespread in Roman states. In connection with the historical development of the city, it may be said to be constructed at the end of the 1st century AD.
Men Holy Area
It is established on a hill called as “Gemen Korusu” at 5 km to the district. Transportation is provided with vehicles. In the holy area, the history of the temple constructed in the name of “Moon God Men” goes back to the 4th century BC. There are 2 churches, stadium and houses out of this temple.
The Moon God Men is an old Anatolian God which is worshipped since the 3rd thousand BC. Men, which is a sky god is also the god of health and soothsaying.
Antiokheia is one of the most important centres of Men culture. The presence of a temple devoted to God Men here is very natural. Men holy area has been established on Karakuyu Hill that is 5 km southeastern of the city, before the establishment of Antiokheia.
The temple is located in an area with 43 x 72 m dimensions that is not exactly rectangular and that is surrounded with temenos walls. The width of the temple, which has 6 x 11 columns and which is a peripteros in Ionian style, is 7.95 m externally and the inner dimensions of the cella is 6.45 x 7.85 m. Crepidoma has 9 steps and the step depth is 35 cm while height is 25 cm. the base walls of the temple and some parts of the cella wall are strong. It is not known how opistodomos, that has almost equal size with the cella, is ended. Probably there were four columns with 75 cm diametre in front of the pronaos that is located in the west.
The worship reliefs on the external walls of the holy area resemble each other too much and have been made on a single sample. In almost all of them, the depiction of naiscos with acroter having two pillars is seen. There are one or more new moon motifs and bull heads on every relief. From the ones with inscriptions, it is understood that the number of new moons showed the number of worshipping persons.
In the infrastructure of the temple and in the temenos wall, local gray – coloured limestone is used and it is seen that marble has been used in the superstructure, which could not be reached today. The temple is dated to the beginning of the 3rd century BC. But this holy area has lived it’s most lively period in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD and is estimated to be destroyed in 400 AD with the spread of Christianity.
It is an island 25 km to Yalvaç, in Gaziri Location in Hoyran Lake and the lake shore is accessed via an asphalt road. Except the city walls surrounding the island, there is a temple built in the name of Artemis and other building ruins on the island.
Address: Hükümet Cad. No. 4 Yalvaç county / Isparta / Turkey
Phone: +90 246 441 50 59
Fax: +90 246 411 49 37
This informations was taken from Republic Of Turkey Ministry Of Culture And Tourism and arrangement by Travel in Anatolia