Aydın Alabanda Archeological Site
Anatolia has hosted many civilizations throughout its long history. The task of us archaeologists is to convey to you what we have learned about ancient civilizations. The task of us archaeologists is to convey to you what we have learned about ancient civilizations. Today, we are working in Alabanda for this purpose. Anatolia had long ago been divided into geographical regions as it is now. This geography, which we call the Aegean Region today, was separated from each other by regions formed by various cities in the past. Today, the region extending from most of Aydın and Muğla provinces to the western end of Denizli, bordered by Büyük Menderes (Maiandros) River in the north, Dalaman (Indos) Stream in the east, and bounded by the Aegean Sea in the west and south, was called the Caria Region. The city of Alabanda was one of the most important cities in this region. There are different opinions about the founding legend of the city. According to the rumor; after winning a horse race, King Kar gave his son the name Alabandos, which was formed by combining the words “Ala” meaning “horse” and “Banda” “victory” in the Carian language, and he named the city he founded as Alabanda. It is also claimed that Alabanda was founded by Kar, the legendary founder of Karia and that it took its name from Alabandos, the son of Maiandros, who was born from his daughter Kallirroe. According to another view, the city was founded by Alabandos, the son of a Carian hero, Euippos. On the other hand, the Roman scholar Cicero states that it was God Alabandos who gave the city its name. The pictures of the winged horse Pegasos seen on Alabanda coins must be related to the founding legend of the city.
The oldest information about Alabanda goes back to the Hittite Kingdom, which ruled in Anatolia four thousand years ago. Alabanda was known as a large Phrygian city during the Greek campaign organized by the Persians in 480 B.C, which was established on the territory of today's Iran. We know that 200 years later, it was a member of the Association of Carian Cities, and 100 years later, the name of the city was changed to Khrysaor Antiokheia during the war. After the Peace Treaty of Apemeia (188 B.C), Alabanda returned to its original name and came under the rule of Rhodes. Finally, 2100 years ago, Alabanda became a free city and always established good relations with the Roman Empire. During this period, 4 temples were established in the city. During the Christian era, Alabanda was used as an episcopacy center affiliated with the Metropolitan of Aphrodisias. It is stated that Alabanda, which was rich and fond of pleasure and entertainment in the Roman Period, was a place full of girls playing the harp, and its people lived in luxury and abundance.
The first excavations in Alabanda were carried out by Halil Edhem Bey in 1904-1905. The current excavations have been carried out by a team headed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ali Yalçın TAVUKÇU since 2015.
The important architectural structures of the ancient city, which was established on an area of approximately 475 square meters (about 600 football fields), are as follows:
Temple of Apollon Isotimos: The Temple of Apollon Isotimos, built by the Anatolian Architect Menesthes, is an Ionic temple with 8x13 columns. It is carved according to the style of the building decoration element, which we call the frieze, on which Amazonamakhi, that is, the struggles of Amazon women warriors, is embroidered on marble plates, and it is dated to the second half of the 2nd century B.C.
Temple of Artemis: The Doric temple with 6x11 columns must be from the middle of the 4th century BC. It was named the Temple of Artemis in the reports of Halil Edhem Bey in 1905-1906. It is important in terms of Carian architecture.
Agora: One of the important structures of the ancient city of Alabanda is the Agora (Bazaar, Market Place) just south of the Doğanyurt Village road, and it was unearthed in 1904 by Halil Edhem Bey.
Theatre: The fact that the rows of seats exceed a semi-circle indicates that the theater was built in the Hellenistic Period. Having a wall built with irregular workmanship between the orchestra and the rows of seats, the theater was used for the fights of warriors called gladiators, wild animal fights, and water games, formed from captive soldiers and slaves during the Roman Period. It is thought that the Alabanda theatre has a capacity of 6,200 people according to the measurements made on site.
Bouleuterion: Bouleuterion (Parliament Building), one of the most important ruins of Alabanda, draws attention as a rectangular planned structure. It has survived to the present day largely intact with its dimensions of 26x36m. It is thought that the Greek letters on the blocks of the Bouleuterion, where there are curved seats and where the city council is gathered, indicate the master or workshop.
Bathhouse: The bathhouse, which is located in the middle of the city and stands out with its columns, wall ruins, and arches spread only on the ground, suggests that it may have been a Hamam-Gymnasium center (especially a sports school for young men).
Fortification Wall: The total length of the fortifications of Alabanda is 4.5 - 5 km. The fortification walls, which are in harmony with the structure of the land, take the city under protection. These fortification walls were renewed 3 times throughout the history of the city.
Classical Age Chamber Tomb: The presence of five lines, which look like shelves carved into two-story walls, inside the two-roomed building, which was unearthed during the excavations carried out by Halil Edhem Bey in 1904 and 1905, indicates that it was used as a family tomb in the 4th century B.C.
Necropolis: In the Necropolises (Cemetery) on all four sides of the city, the existence of approximately 500 sarcophagi, some of which were embossed, and made of gneiss stone as tall as a human, were found on the surface. It has been determined that some of these tombs were carved into the rock.
Eastern Bathhouse: Numerous pools of the bath located in the northeastern part of the city and the cement water pipe systems circulating the whole building were unearthed. Excavations continue in the building, which appears to be quite large.
Aqueduct: There is an aqueduct on the Kemer Stream to the south of the city. There is a connection between this structure and the İnce Kemer Bridge, which crosses Marsyas 19 km to the south. There is a water channel on these structures, which is used to carry water to the city.
Dionysos Temple: The 52 Doric columns to the east of the theater and the original wall that remains just north of the courtyard were evaluated as the Temple of Dionysos.
Nymphaeum: One of the structures identified in 2015 was the Nymphaeum (Fountain Building) and the water reservoir to the east of the Theater. The Nymphaeum is associated with the system of waterways, known locally as the İnce Kemer, which is known to come from the city of Gerga.
Columbarium: The building, located in the south of the ancient city, covered with a vault and containing 4 sarcophagi and 6 niches, is a Columbarium (Mausoleum). It was understood from the foundation traces that there were other mausoleums on the same slope.
Stadion: Another monumental building located to the west of the ancient city of Alabanda is the Stadion (Stadium). Looking at the landform in this region, the semicircular turning point and the structure, which gives the appearance of a narrow long field, adjoins the fortification walls in the east. Stadiums are structures that are still used in athletics races today.