Antalya Syedra Archeological Site

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The ancient city of Syedra is located in a mountainous area rising just to the west of the small coastal plain at the mouth of the stream Sedre about 20 km. south-east of the Alanya district of Antalya province. The city developed in two areas. The first one is on the peak and high slopes (upper city) of Asar Tepe reaching an altitude of about 400 m. above sea level. The second area is the south-south-western slope, facing the Mediterranean and descending down to the coastline (Lower City). Thanks to its critical location on the coastal routes, it would have interacted closely with the cities of the fertile Pamphylian plain to the west and the strategic cities of Cilicia Tracheia to its east. As Syedra is located on an important isthmus with a big harbor and thanks to its important location for the coastal connection between the East Mediterranean and Anatolia, Syedra must have inevitably established maritime relations with Cyprus above all, Egypt and other East Mediterranean civilizations. Nevertheless, this coastal region was on an active maritime route already in the Bronze Age, and finds of the Bronze Age have been attested offshore at Syedra, just like at other nearby ancient cities. However, neither the archaeological nor historical information on its early past before the Hellenistic period for Syedra or other cities in the region is satisfactory. As the city is located on the border between Pamphylia and Cilicia, it was counted as part of one or the other, or even of Isauria. However, both its settlement model and epigraphic evidence reflect more of the character of Rough Cilicia. Although this administrative situation is open to debate, an analysis of its technical and cultural aspects indicate stronger connections with the coastal cities of western Rough Cilicia such as Iotape, Selinus, Antiochia ad Cragum and Anemurium.

The city started to mint its own coins as ‘Syedreon’ in the reign of Tiberius and continued until the reign of Gallienus (AD 253-268). The plan and technical featuresof structures discernible today show that Syedra had its zenith from the 2nd to the 4th centuries AD. In addition to its architectural remains, epigraphic evidence of the same period seems to verify this opinion. Studies on the capacities of cisterns suggest that 4,000 to 5,000 people may have lived at Syedra during this period. Inscriptions attested indicate that Syedra sided with the Emperor Septimius Severus during his struggle with Pescennius Niger in AD 194. The character of baths, tombs and other structures indicate extensive construction in the latter half of the 3rd century AD. This would be an outcome of intensive military activities in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire during this period. Some funerary inscriptions from various cities in Rough Cilicia indicate that veterans were settled in the region. It is inferred that these people were instrumental in the development of the region. Numerous honorary inscriptions found in the Colonnaded Street of Syedra are among the indicators of wealth in the late 2nd to early 3rd centuries AD. In the provincial lists of 314- 324, it is cited as part of Isauria. With the arrangements of AD. 370 Isauria was shrunk in size, and Syedra was made part of Pamphylia; in the Byzantine period it is cited as a bishopric under the Pamphylian metropolitan. Like the other cities mentioned, Syedra also stands out with its high number of religious buildings from the Byzantine period. With the Arab raids starting in the 7th century, the region passed to the Umayyad and Abbasid Empires and back to Byzantine hegemony in the 10th century. In the narratives and notes of travelers exploring the history and epigraphy of the area in the late 19th century, Syedra is frequently mentioned. The visit of R. Heberdey and A. Wilhelm in 1891-92 is considered to be the first research on the city and its environs. Then J. Keil and A. Wilhelm visited the city in 1914. In 1960s the epigraphic surveys by G. E. Bean and T. Mitford are of importance. About the same time E. Rosenbaum, G. Huber and S. Onurkan surveyed the area and published its main buildings and water supply system in 1967. In the 1990s surveys increased, and the epigraphic studies by F. Hild and H. Hellenkemper were followed that of M. H. Sayar. About the same years G. Huber worked on the documentation of its architectural elements. All the above-mentioned work concentrated on the visible remains in 1994 cleaning and landscaping work was initiated by the Alanya Museum Directorate, which lasted until 1999. This work covered some excavations at the temple, colonnaded street, acropolis church, Kaynak cave and harbor area.

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Antalya Syedra Archeological Site Seki Mahallesi, Asar Mevkii 07400 ALANYA
alanyamuzesi@ktb.gov.tr
+90 (242) 513-1228
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