Aspendos was an ancient city in Pamphylia, located at around 40 Km. towards eastern side of the present day city of Antalya in Turkey. In the ancient era Aspendos was the most prominent city in Pamphylia. In the Roman period this city was glorious and the trade and commerce flourished from the harbour here.
As per the records the city was founded by famous Greek planner, Mopsos at around 1000 BC. There was evidence of settlements right from the Hittie era onwards i.e. 800 BC. There were also the nearby towns of Perge and Side. The decline of the city was due to the policies of the Byzantine Empire and primarily due to the silting up of the harbour.
Aspendos theatre is one of the largest construction and till day is an ideal example of the well preserved monument, a superb example of the Roman architecture. This was built by architect Zeno, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius during the 2nd century AD. The story of the construction mentioned is that in the good old days the king of Aspendos announced that he will organize a competition, the participants were to create ideas to serve the city better. He also announced that the winner will marry his beautiful daughter. There were two candidates who reached final, one had created the canal systems to bring water to all the parts of the city. The other had built theatre, and at the end the architect won the daughter and their wedding ceremony was held in this theatre. The structure is well preserved and the theatre hosts the annual Aspendos Opera and ballet festival since 1994, there are music and drama festivals organised. And is known to be entertaining the audience of about 10000.
There is a semi-circular auditorium, which is bifurcated in two sections by a broad passage, there are 20 tiers of seating arrangements which has the capacity of about 15000 to 20000 people in the audience.
The ancient city of Aspendos is located near the Antalya-Alanya highway near the Eurymedon River, and in ancient era the ships were able to reach the city from the sea due to the canal, and this largely helped the people to expand their business and so the city was the prime spot of trade and commerce. Right near the town of Aspendos was the acropolis hill, there are also remains of a fountain shrine called nyphaeum and the temple and agora.
There are the remains of the ancient aqueducts which are magnificently carved along with two water towers for perhaps providing water for the city. Aspendos was also one of the earliest cities to mint coins, since 500 BC. It issued coinage first the staters and later the drachmas!