Aspendos also known locally as Belkis or Belkiz is situated around 45 kilometres east of Antalya and has been made famous by the presence of one of the best preserved Roman amphitheatre in the world.
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Aspendos is believed to have been founded by the Greeks who came to the Pamphylia region after the Trojan war. It is also possible that the city could have been founded by the Hittites. Aspendos was one of the earliest cities in the region to mint silver coins. The spread of its coinage throughout the ancient world indicates that Aspendos was an important city of Pamphylia in 5th century BC. The city was conquered by Alexander, the Great in 333 BC. Subsequently after Alexandar’s death the city passed into the control of Romans, Byzantine and finally Turks.
The prime attraction in Aspendos is the well preserved Amphitheatre with a seating capacity of around 15,000 people. The theatre is believed to have been constructed in the 2nd Century AD by an architect named Xenon during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. The theatre is still used for performances and festivals and its galleries, stage, seating arrangements and acoustics testify to its grand architectural design which has stood the test of time for thousand of years. Holes for 58 masts are found in the upper level of the theatre, which might have been used for pulling sheets to provide shade to the audiences.
Just above the theatre, there is an acropolis and situated nearby are the ruins of a basilica, agora, nymphaeum and Roman aqueduct.
During the summers Aspendos Opera and Ballet festival is held with performances by groups from various regions of Turkey. It is wonderful to be part of the 10,000 strong audiences cheering the performers in an open air theatre!!
Aspendos has a typical Mediterranean climate with dry summers and moderately warm and moist winters.
The nearest airport is in Antalya which is located around 45 kilometres from Aspendos. This airport handles both domestic and international flights.
Bus service is excellent in Turkey. Istanbul-Antalya is one of the busiest routes and lots of buses are available on this route. There are overnight buses and day time buses and most of them take around 12-14 hours. There is a frequent mini-bus service operating between Antalya and Aspendos. Two of the well known and most reputed bus companies operating in Turkey are Varan and Ulusoy.
Taxis can be hired from Antalya for visiting the ruins at Antalya. It is better to bargain for the rates before boarding any vehicle as the rates vary according to the tourist season.
Internet cafes can be found everywhere except small rural villages. The cost of an hour use of internet ranges from 1 YTL to 1.5 YTL. Wireless internet is becoming popular in some cafes in big cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir, and at airpots. But in many other places it's still not available, or sometimes at a very high cost.
See also: International Telephone Calls
Turkey's international country code is 90. Dial 112 for an ambulance anywhere, from any telephone, without a charge. In case of a fire, dial 110; for police, call 155. However, in rural areas there is not a police coverage, so dial 156 for gendarme, a military unit for rural security. All these numbers are free of charge and can be called from a telephone booth without inserting a calling card, or any phone including cell phones.
There are telephone booths owned by Turk Telekom in major parts of cities. public phones now operate with chip telekom cards which are available in 30, 60 or 120 units and can be obtained at post offices, newspaper and tobacco kiosks.
It is estimated that approximately 98% of the population of Turkey lives within the coverage areas of Turkey’s three cell phone line providers. Line providers from most countries have roaming agreements with one or more of these companies. Pre-paid mobile phone SIM cards can be purchased for approximately TRY20-50. These can be purchased at the airport on arrival or from the many outlets in Istanbul and other large cities. Providers include Vodaphone.
PTT is the national post service in Turkey. Services are generally moderately fast but quite reliable. There is an extended price list on the PTT website, where you can see the costs of sending items within Turkey, countries in Europe and further afield. For sending packages one might also use international companies such as DHL and UPS and local companies such as Yurtici Kargo. Post offices bear the distinctive yellow PTT sign and are generally open between 9:00am to 12:00 noon and 1:30pm to 5:00pm from Monday to Friday. Some might keep longer hours or be open during the weekend as well, but this mainly applies to the larger ones or those in central places and tourist areas.
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