Anemurium Ancient City
Anemurium Ancient City is one of the important coastal city located in the Western Rough Cilicia (Cilicia Tracheia/Aspera) in Antiquity. Today, the city, which is within the borders of Ören/Batıkent Neighborhood of Anamur District in Mersin Province, is 10 km away from Anamur district center. The city, which is located on the Eastern Mediterranean sea trade route due to its location, also had provided access to the sea for settlements in the inner regions of Anatolia. For this reason, it had a strategic position and importance, especially during the Roman Empire and Byzantine Period. During this period, Anemurium, the main settlement of the Anamur Plain, became a market and administrative center for the mentioned plain and also a trade center due to its proximity to Cyprus. The remains of the city are approximately 1.5 km southwest of the point where the Sultansuyu Streamlet meets the Mediterranean. The mountainous terrain that borders Anemurium in the west sticks out towards the Mediterranean in the southwest. So much so that, this point is the most southern tip of the Türkiye extending to the Mediterranean and is known as “Anamur Cape”. The area covered by the ancient city starts from around Anamur Cape, the eastern slope of the mountainous land in its north, and the flat area where the slope decreases and extends to the Sultansuyu Streamlet.
It is possible to visit many buildings still standing up to the roof in the city. The ruins of the acropolis (upper city), which was built on a steep and hilly land, are located at the southern end of the ancient city, at a very high promontory protruding towards the sea. There
are many building remains (possibly cisterns, baths, churches, etc.) and Hellenistic and Medieval fortification walls on the acropolis. In the northern part, the Lower City, there are magnificent public buildings on the plain close to the beach. These are odeon, theater, basilica, palaestra, 5 baths, 4 churches, aqueducts and fortification walls. On the slopes of the mountain that borders the city to the west, there is the largest necropolis area of the region, which can see many types of tombs together and covers a large area. There are approximately 350 tombs of different types in the necropolis area, many of which have been preserved up to the roof.
The Anemurium Acropolis is located at the southern end of the ancient city on a steep and hilly terrain with a very high peak protruding towards the sea, today called the “Cape Anamur”. The peak of the acropolis is approximately 149 m high and covers an area of 73.000 m2 of the ancient city. Especially the north and east sides are surrounded by city walls and towers. The city walls were extensively repaired in the Middle Age. In addition, the remains of the fortification wall, which probably dates back to the Hellenistic Period, were found at the eastern end of the fortification wall, which was greatly repaired in the Middle Age. Although the remains in question bear the characteristics of the earliest architectural remains that the ancient city of Anamurium has so far, it also indicates that the settlement chronology of the city may go back to earlier periods.
On the slopes of the mountain that borders the city to the west, there is the Anemurium Necropolis, which contains many types of tombs and covers a very large area, approximately 101.000 m2 from south to north. This is one of the largest and richest necropolises of the Cilicia Region and is among the best preserved examples of Roman Period cemeteries in Anatolia. There are about 350 tombs in the necropolis built between the centuries AD 1st-4th. So much so that, the cemetery area, which was initially in a narrow area, has spread further
north beyond the valley in AD 2nd-3rd centuries. These innovations have also been associated with the enrichment of the city and the increase of the population. Examples of Barrel Vaulted Tomb, Baldachin/Mausoleum Type Tomb, Truncated Conical Type Tomb, Exedra/Aedicule Type Tomb, and Domed Type Tomb are seen among these graves.
The Odeon, is one of the strongest examples in Anatolia and should have also served as Bouleuterion. The building which is 31.00x21.00 m, has four facades and a two-storey arrangement, has a capacity to accommodate 925-1130 people. It consists of a cavea with 15 rows of seats, an orchestra where performances are held, scene, backstage (postscene) and a vaulted gallery downstairs. Unfortunately, the top canopy is completely destroyed. Entrances to the Odeon are provided by four doors on the upper and lower floors. The upper floor entrances are located on the west facade of the building and the audience can easily reach the cavea from here. The ground floor entrances are located at both ends facing east of the vaulted gallery. The floor of both the orchestra and the vaulted gallery is covered with geometric patterned floor mosaics made of blue and white tesserae. Although the mosaics in the vaulted gallery are better preserved, unfortunately, most of the mosaics in the orchestra have disappeared. It is thought that the Odeon was built in the 2nd century AD or the beginning of the 3rd century AD.
The Anemurium Basilica measures 21 x 45 m. The most striking part of the basilica is its south-facing semicircular apse. The apse was built on the fortification wall and stands up to the roof height (8.50 m). The floors of the rooms on both sides of the apse are decorated with mosaics. As a result of the researches carried out in the building, the stylobate part that separates the naves from each other and where the columns sit was determined. Also, on the basis of the structure’s proximity to the Odeon, some ideas were put forward that it could be a
civilian basilica. The basilica was built in the 3rd century AD and the mosaics on its floor were made in the 4th century AD.
Anemurium Theater has a semicircular form and is about 60 m in diameter. The theater is reached by two different stairs to the east. Its semicircular cavea (rows of seats) was built using the gradient of a slope and its direction faces east (towards the sea). Large-sized rectangular limestone blocks were used in the construction of the Analemna (the wall that borders the cavea from the outside), and there are some protected parts of it up to 10 m in height at some points. Apart from this, entrance and exit to the theater is provided with 4 parados at the north and south ends, southwest and northwest. Today, the traces of the seating rows have disappeared completely. Scene has only underpinnings. The theater must have been built in the 3rd century AD, at a time when the city was prosperous.
The Public Bath is the most magnificent and monumental structure preserved up to the roof of the ancient city. This building was built in accordance with the Hall Type Bath facilities group. Having a two-storey arrangement, there are 4 rooms on the first storey and 12 rooms on the second storey. The second floor of the bathhouse is reached by a 30-step staircase in the north facade. The apodyterium (changing room) is reached from the main entrance on the north of the second floor. From here, the long main hall in east-west direction is reached. There are frigidarium (cold room), latrina (toilet) rooms in the north of the main hall, and tepidarium (warmness room) and caldarium (hottest room) rooms in the south. There are floor mosaics with decorative ornaments in the changing and cold rooms. The first construction phase of the Public Bath is thought to be the Roman Late Republic-Early Empire
Period. The floor mosaics that decorate the rooms of the bath must have been made at the end of the 4th century AD or the beginning of the 5th century AD. In addition, the findings revealed that the bath was used outside of its main function in the 7th century AD.
This building, which is in a central position of the city, is the largest bathhouse in the city. The building which has 9 rooms, measures 32 x 37 m and is 9.50 m high. Unfortunately, nearly half of this monumental building was destroyed. The rooms in the north of the building showing the plan features of the Hall Type Bath facilities group are frigidarium (cold room) and the rooms in the south are caldarium (hottest room). The Large Bath, together with the Palaestra, forms a building complex. The connection between these two structures is provided by three rooms placed symmetrically to the east of the bath. The Great Bath probably must have been built in the 3rd century AD.
The Anemurium Palaestra forms a building complex together with the Large Bath. The building consists of a large central courtyard and narrow and long courtyards in the north and south of this courtyard. The floors of the courtyards are covered with mosaics. The locations to the north of Palaestra, on the other hand, provided important information about the city’s late construction period. It is thought that the rooms here served as workshops in various commercial and industrial areas such as lime quarries, pottery and glass art. The Palaestra, built in the 3rd century AD, was used for different functions for a long time after it lost its original function.
It is the closest bath to the coastal part of the city. For this reason, it is named as Harbour Bath. It measures 25 x 32 m and 6 m high. Unfortunately, most of the building has been destroyed. The 3 rooms in the south of the building, 7 of which can be identified, are arranged as an apsis. Since no excavations have been carried out in this building, which is a Roman Bath, there is no definite information about both the function of the rooms and the construction date.
Central (III 5) Bath
The Central Bath, located at the most central point of the ancient city, exhibits the plan characteristics of the “Row Type (Reihentyp) Bath” facilities group, one of the bath types of the Roman Period. The bath is a building complex with a hall with a slate stone floor in the middle and around 10 rooms around this hall. While some of these were the original rooms of the bath, some were added during the later construction and repair phase. In the western and northern parts of the bath, there are rooms that were built after the original function of the bath was finished and thought to be used as atelier/workshop. The Central Bath, built in the 4th century AD, was used until the 6th century AD.
Small (III 15) Bath
The Small Bath, built on a flat area near the beach in the north of the ancient city, consists of 6 different rooms. This bath, which is smaller in size compared to other baths in Anemurium, has the plan features of the “Row Type (Reihentyp) Bath” group. The main rooms of the bath are listed from south to north as apodyterium (changing room), frigidarium (cold room), tepidarium (warmness room), caldarium (hottest room) and praefurnium (furnace). There is a floor mosaic covering an area of approximately 60 m2 in the changing room. In the center of the mosaic, there is a 4-line inscription in Greek with words honoring Mouseos who made this mosaic. According to the researches, the building must have been built in the 5th century AD. However, in the last phase, like many ruins in the city, it was transformed into a building used for commercial/industrial purposes other than its main function, and it was completely abandoned in AD 660.
The Necropolis Church, located in the necropolis area at the north of the ancient city, was built in a basilical plan with three naves and in the east-west direction. As a result of the studies, it was understood that the church had 5 different phases and the floors of many rooms were covered with mosaics. The floor mosaics in question are generally decorated with geometric motifs and there are sections (tabula ansata) on which the names of the benefactors who donated to the church are mentioned. The most striking of these is the mosaic in the bema where a leopard and a capricorn figure standing on both sides of the palm tree are depicted. The depiction on this mosaic, which is exhibited in the Anamur Museum today, has been associated with the “Kingdom of Peace”. As a result of the studies carried out, it is stated that the church was built in the 5th century AD, and it was severely damaged after the great earthquake in 580 AD. Therefore, it is assumed that the building may have lost its church character since this date. However, some data obtained as a result of excavations showed that the church continued to be used as a cemetery after the 7th century AD.
Central (III 10 C) Church
The Central (III 10 C) Church was built at a point that can be regarded as the center of the city, close to the Central Bath and the Treasury Church. The building was built in a basilical plan with three naves and in an east-west direction. Entrance to the church was provided through the doors in the west. There are the narthex in the west, pastophorion (small rooms) rooms on both sides of the apse, and the rooms in the north, apparently added in later periods. There are three rows of columns in the church that separate the middle and side aisles from each other. The side naves of the church coated with square floor tiles. The Central Church must have served the people of Anemurium between the 5th and 6th centuries AD
The church is located in the plain area of the ancient city called the Lower City and measures 27 x 31 m. The building was built in an east-west direction in a basilical plan with three naves. It has the narthex in the west and additional rooms in the south. Entrance to the building was provided by the doors in the west. During the excavations in the south nave, skeletons belong to 25 individuals, were unearthed on the floor mosaics. In addition to the skeletons, approximately 35 valuable objects consisting of gold earrings, gold objects in semicircular form, gold plaques, decoration tools with cross depictions were found in these excavations. The emergence of these valuable objects caused the church to be considered as the place where sacred relics were kept for a period and the structure was called the Treasury Church. The building was built in the second quarter of the 5th century AD and must have been used actively until the beginning of the 7th century AD.
Holy Apostles Church
It is one of the structures built closest to the beach in the city. It measures 41 x 19 m. Unfortunately, the church has been destroyed to a great extent, and only underpinnings have survived to this day. The most important feature that distinguishes this church from other churches in the city is the presence of an atrium (courtyard) in it. Apart from that, it was built in an east-west direction in a basilical plan with its three naves, narthex and pastophorion rooms. The entrance to the church was probably from the west. The floor of the church is covered with mosaics. On the mosaic in the Narthex, it is mentioned that the church was rebuilt or repaired by the beloved friends of the Holy Aposteles. The church must have been built in the first quarter of the 5th century AD.