Phaselis is located on a small peninsula at the west coast of the Gulf of Antalya. Although geographically it is in Lycia, culturally it is not Lycian. Ancient writers also gave similar information on this subject; some placing it in Lycia, some in Pamphylia, and further some just stating that it was on the border of Lycia and Pamphylia. According to the ancient sources, the city was founded as a Rhodes colony in 690 BCE. Thanks to its natural harbors, the city became rich with maritime trade, and was paying as much tax as the city of Ephesus while it was a member of the Delian League. When Alexander the Great invaded Lycia in 334 BCE, he spent the whole winter in Phaselis. Ancient writers praise the beauty and wealth of the city while describing this period. Phaselis has been a member of the Lycian League for only 30 years starting from 130 BCE. The city was affected by the intense piracy activities that started in the Mediterranean at the beginning of the 1st century BCE. Around that time, they left (or were expelled) from the Lycian League together with the city of Olympos, due to their compulsory or voluntary cooperation with the pirates.
The ruins are first identified in 1811 by Francis Beaufort. Since then, thanks to its easily accessible location by the sea, a large number of researchers have visited and surveyed the city. These early surveys consisted of mostly epigraphic studies. The first official excavations have been carried out between 1980-1985 and a detailed research and excavation program (Phaselis Project) is in progress since 2012 by Akdeniz University. Almost all of the structures visible today belong to the Roman Period. The acropolis was built on the hill above the peninsula. Of the three harbors of the city, two were located to the north of the peninsula and one to the south. The smaller of the northern harbors was for the to military use and the southern harbor was the main commercial port. The marshy area to the west of the peninsula was previously a lagoon. The main street connecting the harbors in the north and south is located on the isthmus that connects the peninsula to the mainland. On the both sides of the main street, there are the ruins of many structures including two separate agoras, one big and one small bath, a latrina and a monumental fountain. Other settlements of the city are on the hill rising behind the large harbor in the north and on the hill rising between the marshy area and the southern harbor.


Akçay, A. 2021. ‘Phaselis Hadrianus Kapısı: Arkeolojik Alanlarda Yerinde Sergilemeye Bir Örnek’, MJH XI, 1-15.
Arslan, M. & N. Tüner-Önen. 2014. ‘The Surface Exploration of Phaselis and its Territorium 2013’, ANMED 12, 189-195
Arslan, M. & N. Tüner-Önen. 2016. ‘Phaselis’, in From Lukka to Lycia: The Land of Sarpedon and St. Nicholas, eds. H. İşkan & E. Dündar, 300-317, İstanbul.
Bayburtluoğlu, C. 2004. Lykia, Suna-İnan Kıraç Akdeniz Medeniyetleri Araştırma Enstitüsü, İstanbul.
Çevik, N. 2021. Lykia Kitabı: Arkeolojisi, Tarihi ve Kültürüyle Batı Antalya, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara.
Schläger, H., D.J. Blackman, H. Bremer, J. Christern, P. Knoblauch, J. Schäfer. 1981. Phaselis: Beiträge zur Topographie und Geschichte der Stadt und ihrer Häfen. ed. J. Schäfer, IstMitt. 24, Tübingen.
Tüner-Önen, N. 2008. Phaselis Antik Kenti ve Teritoryumu, Yayınlanmamış Doktora Tezi, Akdeniz Üniversitesi, Antalya.

Image sources:
H. Schläger et al., 1981
Phaselis Project
A. Akçay, 2021
B. Bilgin, 2022