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Phaselis Ancient City

Southern Coast, Turkey

Cultural Treasure

In the 7th century B.C, colonists from the nearby island of Rhodes discovered a small peninsula jutting out of southwestern Anatolia surrounded by forested mountains and three natural harbors. Legend tells that these colonists bought the peninsula for a supply of fish, as chosen by the local inhabitants, and set up the city of Phaselis. Over the years, the city grew and shrank, trading hands numerous times. It lied on the border of ancient Lycia to the west and Pamphylia to the east, and never really belonged to either. Persians, Greeks and Romans all took turns controlling the strategic peninsula. 

Phaselitians dealt mostly in the trading business, sailing the numerous ports of the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas full of timber, their primary export. However, historical sources indicate the Phaselitians were unpleasant to deal with, often taking advantage of fellow merchants and traders. Most of the remains unfortunately are in ruin now, those that is that are found. Legend also says in the temple of Athena of Phaselis, Achilles spear was on display, which belonged to the Greek hero of the Trojan War. However this temple and many others structures have yet to be discovered by archaeologists. 

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On the eastern side of the ancient Lycian peninsula of southwest Turkey.


The city was originally constructed in the 7th century B.C. by Rhodians. Over the years it traded hands by Persians, Greeks, Lycians, and Romans.


Important harbor and trading center for the Lycian Civilization, where lumber from the forested slopes were transported by boat all around the Mediterranean Sea.


In ruins of disrepair, but a popular touristic site for the combination of Lycian Ruins and beautiful sandy beaches. As of 2023, the city costs 90 Lira to enter (although the number may change soon due to the lowering of their currency).

Our Visit

Phaselis was the first stop on our road trip through ancient Lycia. We immediately noticed the large trees and lush forested slopes and mountains in the vicinity, a testament to the fact that lumber was an important asset of the city. Walking amongst the ruins was pleasant under the trees and with various viewpoints of the harbors on both sides. In fact, most visitors now come to this peninsula of three sandy bays for the beaches. We did not partake in the sun bathers, but we did observe how much has changed in the region.

Overall we found it a worthwhile stop and some of the more pleasant beaches along the coast, but there are definitely more spectacular ruins and beaches the further you go west.

Read our Story: 

Skirting the Shores of Lycia


Explore More

Nearby Treasures:

     ➨  Myra Tombs and Ruins - 60 km away

     ➨  Church of Saint Nicholas - 60 km away

Similar Treasures:

     ➨  Ruins of Patara - Turquoise Coast, Turkey

Travel to the Silk Road Outpost:

     ➨  Antalya

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