Information About Side

Side is situated on the Mediterranean coast approximately 60 kilo meters from one of Turkey's largest cities' Antalya. This unique seaside resort lies on a small, flat peninsula which is 300 meters wide and 800 meters long and is just packed to the brim with archaeological wonders and surrounded on both sides by the deep, blue water of the Mediterranean at certain points along the main street that runs through the centre and down to the quaint fishing harbour, you can look between the buildings and streets and see the sea on either sides.

Side was once an important commercial town. With its large merchant fleet it traded with the countries of the eastern and western Mediterranean and served as a port for many parts of inner Turkey. Side was a slave market from which African slaves were sold and also a centre for piracy. After this period, Side turned to legitimate commerce and still prospered.

Whilst Side has become extremely popular with European and Turkish holidaymakers alike, it has managed to retain its ‘quaintness' and authenticity. Due to its abundance of archaeological treasures, all the architecture in the old part of Side is of a certain style – pretty, two – storey stone buildings with varnished, wooden balconies all along the labyrinth of narrow, winding alleyways.

Side has just everything you could want. For the culture – vulture there is obviously a treasure chest of ancient history all around which includes: The Amphitheatre dating back to Hellenistic period and is one of the largest in Turkey seating approximately 15,000 people; The Roman Temples of Apollo and Artemis; The City Gates; Aqua ducts and Museum. One of the most enjoyable experiences is walking through these ruins at night when all are illuminated.

When you turn South at the 75th km. of Antalya - Alanya main road a nice avenue winding through hotels and houses for about 3 km will lead you to Side, the furthest city in the east of historical Pamphylia. Situated on a peninsula about 1000 m long and 400 m. wide, it fulfilled its duty as a commercial port. Naturally, Side used to be one of the most important trade centres in the antiquity and now it is one of the most popular holiday resorts in Turkey.

According to Strabon the ancient geographer, side was first established in the 7th cen. B.C. as a trade colony of the Aegean city Kyme near İzmir but the merchants took up the local language. The name "Side" meant pomegranate, the fruit symbolizing abundance and fertility. Like the other Pamphylian cities in general, Side was ruled by Lydia in the sixth cent. B.C. and Persia after 547 B.C. The coins minted in here prove that Side had at least an internal independence.

Alexander the Great conquered Side in the first year of the great campaign on Asia in 334 B.C. and was introduced to Hellenistic culture. After his death generals shared the empire. The Southern Turkey, including Side changed hands quite often, especially between the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt (3rd cent B.C) and the Seleucid dynasty of Syria (2nd cent B.C) after the Apameia peace agreement between the Romans and the defeated Syrian kingdom, but Pergama could not gain a complete control over Side. King Attalos of Pergama founded a new city, Attaleia (Antalya) as a commercial rival to Side and others on the South coast. At the turn of century Side was a slave-trade center in the hands of Pirates. It was only the Romans who stopped piracy on the eastern Mediterranean and let the southern Anatolian cities in (Cilicia, Pamphylia and Lycia) prosper again in peace and safety 78 B.C.

Pamphylia was attached to the province of Galatia by Emperor Augustus in 25 B.C. when all the provinces in the Roman Empire were re-organised. Side lived its second birth and wealthy period until 3rt cend. A.D as a Pamphylian city that was placed sometimes in Galatia, sometimes in Lycia. Especially its active role in the slave trade enabled this semi-independent city to gain wealth and most of the structures in ruins at present were built during this period of time.

Side felt the necessity of repairing the defensive walls in the second half of 3rd cent. A.D because of the successive attacks by the highlanders from the north. Furthermore, they built an inner wall right through the city in 4th cent A.D. Unfortunately these precautions were not enough to secure those great days again and Side started declining.

Side in Mythology

One day, Accordance to the Anatolion Mythology, The God Taurus takes her youngest daughter Side, who had been The Goddess of nature and abundance, to the valley of the River Manauwa (Manavgat) for picking up flowers and making wreaths with the Nymphes (water-fairies) While picking up flowers and dancing with the Nymphes, Side, suddenly sees a tree with thin branches having shiny leaves and colourful flowers and breaks off a branch, to take it to her little daughter.

As she breaks the branch off it starts bleeding. Actually, Side realizes that the tree is not a real one it is a Nymphe who has escaped from some wicked human beings and taken the shape of a tree. She is so sorry and so scared that she wants to go away, but she can't. She is stuck and she feels that her feet are buried in ground. Then her body changes into a form of a tree. The Nymphes are sad and they start crying. The fresh roots of Side are watered with the of Nymphes.

Side says that it was her fault and ask the Nymphes to take a message to her little daughter. The message is as follows; from now on I'll be the symbol of nature, life and abundance with my blood-red rich fruit, I ask you to take my daughter here from time to time, to play in my shade. And warn her not to pick flowers and never damage trees on earth; because any of those trees could be a Goddess.

This is why the peninsula of Side full of pomegranate trees.