Explore The Turquoise Coast
Arykanda’s setting – a steep, south-facing hillside overlooking the main valley between the Akdağ and Bey mountain ranges – is breathtaking, comparable to Delphi in Greece. A pronounced ravine and power pylons divide the site roughly in half. Beside the parking area is a complex structure dubbed “Naltepesi”; entered by a right-angled stairway, its function is not yet completely understood, but you can make out a small bath-house and presumed shops. North of the parking area sprawls a large basilica with extensive mosaic flooring under tin-roof shelters posed over each aisle, and a semicircular row of benches (probably a synthronon) in the outer apse; there’s a more colourful mosaic just below featuring two birds. Another, smaller basilica just inside suggests eighth-century destruction and more modest rebuilding. But the most impressive sight, looming on the east, is the ten-metre-high facade of the main baths, with numerous windows on two levels, and apsidal halls at each end – the westerly one with a still-intact plunge pool, the easterly one with stacked hypocausts.
Other constructions worth seeking out include a small temple or tomb above the baths complex (one of three “monumental tombs” on the site plan), adapted for Christian worship; there are more Roman or Byzantine mosaics in the tombs or temples immediately east of the Christianized one. West of the ravine and power lines, and above the agora – whose engaging odeion has been defaced by horrible new marble cladding – an impressive, six-aisled theatre retains twenty rows of seats plus a well-preserved stage building. Above this sprawls a short but attractive stadium, with several rows of seats exposed.