Guide to the ancient city of Side in Turkey and its main sites

Side (Turkey) – a city built in the era of Ancient Greece, today is one of the most popular resorts in the province of Antalya. Rare sights, picturesque beaches, highly developed tourist infrastructure brought the object unprecedented popularity among travelers. Side is located in the south-west of the country and is part of the city of Manavgat, from which the resort is 7 km away. The population of the facility is just over 14 thousand people.

Side, Turkey

The construction of the city dates back to the 7th century BC, when the Hellenes who arrived from Western Anatolia began to develop the area. It was the Greeks who gave the name to the city “Side”, which in translation from the Greek dialect that appeared at that time meant “pomegranate.” The fruit was considered a symbol of prosperity and fertility, and its image adorned ancient coins. Over the centuries, the Greeks expanded and strengthened the city, successfully trading with neighboring facilities through two ports.

Side reached its peak in 2-3 centuries. AD, being part of the Roman Empire: it was during this period that most of the ancient structures were erected, the ruins of which have survived to this day. By the 7th century, after numerous raids by the Arabs, the city fell into decay and only in the 10th century, ravaged and destroyed, returned to the indigenous inhabitants, and a couple of centuries later became part of the Ottoman Empire.

Side old town

Such a rich history of Side could not but be reflected in the monuments of architecture. Only ruins remained of some of them, others were preserved in good condition. Large-scale restoration work initiated by the American publicist Alfred Friendly, who lived and worked for several years in the ancient city of Side in Turkey, helped in many ways to survive the sights. Thanks to his efforts, today we can admire the most valuable ancient structures and study the exhibits of the archaeological museum.

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sights

Most of Side’s attractions are concentrated at the main entrance to the city, and some objects are located off the coast. In the center there is a large bazaar where you can find popular Turkish goods. Cozy cafes and restaurants lined the coast, where national live music is played in the evenings. An incredible combination of seascapes, monuments of antiquity, lush vegetation and well-established infrastructure attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. What are the attractions of Side in Turkey can be seen today?

Amphitheater

Although the amphitheater in Side is not the largest in Turkey, the ancient building is truly amazing in its scale. The construction of the landmark dates back to the 2nd century AD, when the Roman Empire ruled in this part of the country. At that time, the building served as an arena for gladiatorial battles, which about 20 thousand people could look at at the same time. Until now, the building has good acoustics, and today, from the upper spectator stands, interesting views of the area open up.

Amphitheater in Side
  • Address: Side Mahallesi, Liman Cd., 07330 Manavgat / Antalya.
  • Opening hours: in the summer season, the attraction operates from 08:00 to 19:00, in the winter from 08:00 to 17:30.
  • Cost of visit: 30 TL.
Vespasianus Gate (Vespasianus Aniti)

On the approach to the ancient city, guests are greeted by an ancient arched gate, which is considered the main entrance to Side. The structure, dated to the 1st century AD, was erected in honor of the Roman ruler Vespasian. The height of the structure reaches 6 m. Once upon a time towers rose on both sides of the gate, and the niches of the structure were decorated with statues of the emperor. Today, only ruins remained from the ancient building, but even these ruins are able to declare the grandeur and monumentality of architecture of the Roman Empire.

Vespasian Gate
Temple of Apollo

The main attraction and symbol of the city of Side was the Temple of Apollo, located on a rocky shore near the sea harbor. The cloister was built in the 2nd century A.D. in honor of the ancient Greek god of the sun and patron of the arts of Apollo. The building was erected for several years and was originally a rectangular building decorated with a marble colonnade. In the 10th century, during the powerful earthquake, the temple was almost destroyed. Today, only a facade consisting of five columns and fragments of the foundation have remained from the construction. You can visit the attraction at any time for free.

Temple of Apollo
Monumental fountain Nymphaeum

In the ancient city of Side, part of a rather unusual building that once served as the fountain of a vibrant fountain survived. The construction was erected in the 2nd century A.D. in homage to the Roman rulers Titus and Vespasian. The building used to be a three-story fountain 5 meters high and about 35 meters wide, which by the standards of that time was considered a truly grandiose construction. Water flowed to Nymphaeum through a stone aqueduct drawn from the Manavgat River.

Monumental fountain Nymphaeum

Previously, the fountain was richly decorated with marble colonnades and statues, but today only two dilapidated floors with several monoliths remain from the building. It is strictly forbidden to approach the sights, but you can see the fountain from afar.

Ancient Roman Aqueduct

Often in the photo of the city of Side and other resorts in Turkey, you can see ancient stone arched structures that extend several kilometers. This is nothing but aqueducts – a system of ancient Roman aqueducts, through which water flowed into the homes of ancient cities. Today, the remains of ancient water supply structures can be observed along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Side also has an ancient water supply, stretching over a distance of 30 km and including 16 tunnels and 22 aqueduct bridges. Once upon a time, water came into the city from the Manavgat River through an underground pipe, located 150 meters from the main gate.

Ancient Roman Aqueduct
Side Museum

In the middle of the 20th century, large-scale archaeological excavations were carried out in the territory of Side, during which a lot of valuable artifacts were discovered. After completing the research, it was decided to open a museum dedicated to civilizations that once flourished in the city. The premises for the collection were restored Roman baths. Today the museum is divided into 2 sections: one is located inside the building, the second – outside under the open sky. Among the exhibits are fragments of statues, sarcophagi, ancient coins and amphorae. The oldest museum item dates back to the 8th century BC. For the most part, museum exhibits talk about the Greco-Roman period, but here you can also look at artifacts related to the Byzantine and Ottoman eras.

At the Side Museum
  • Address: Side Mahallesi, 07330 Manavgat / Antalya.
  • Opening hours: from April to October, the attraction is open from 08:30 to 19:30, from October to April – from 08:30 to 17:30.
  • Cost of visit: 15 TL.

Beaches

Holidays in Side in Turkey has become popular not only because of unique attractions, but also due to its many beaches. Conventionally, the resort coast can be divided into western and eastern. Distinctive features of local beaches are sand cover and shallow water, which allows families with children to relax comfortably. Water in the sea warms up by mid-May, and its temperature remains at high levels until the end of October. What is the difference between the west coast and the east, and where better to relax?

West beach
West beach

The west coast stretches for several kilometers, and its territory is divided between hotels and restaurants. The latter equip their own relaxation area with sun loungers and umbrellas, which everyone can use for an additional fee (from 5 to 10 TL) or after paying for the order at the institution. Renting sun loungers for rent is quite convenient, because then you can use the other amenities of the beach, such as toilets, a shower and changing rooms.

Holidaymakers on the beach

The west coast of Side is characterized by yellowish and sometimes light gray sand. The approach to the sea is gentle, the depth grows slowly. In high season, there are always a lot of people here: most of the tourists are Europeans. All kinds of water activities are offered in the equipped areas, and along the coast there is a well-groomed promenade where you can rent a bicycle or take a leisurely stroll among the lush vegetation.

East beach
East beach

Photos of the city and the beaches of Side clearly demonstrate how picturesque this area of ​​Turkey is. The east coast in its views and landscapes is in no way inferior to other popular corners of the resort. It is less extensive than the western one, there are much fewer hotels, and there are practically no restaurants. The beach is covered with yellow sand, the entrance to the water is shallow, but the depth grows faster than on the west bank. Small stones may come across at the bottom.

East Coast Side

You will not find equipped municipal beaches here: each recreation area is assigned to a separate hotel. Of course, you can always come to the east coast with your belongings and food and calmly swim and sunbathe anywhere in the coast. Solitude and tranquility will be a bonus of such a rest, because, as a rule, there is always little people here.

Holidays in Side

Side city in Turkey can definitely be set as an example for other resorts. Its highly developed infrastructure offers a huge selection of hotels and restaurants, so each traveler manages to choose an option that matches his financial capabilities.

Accommodation
Hotel room Helios Hotel
Helios hotel

There are a lot of hotels in Side. There are both inexpensive three-star hotels and chic luxury fives. Among them you can find institutions with a variety of concepts: family, youth, for children and for adults. Most Side hotels are all inclusive, but there are hotels that offer only free breakfast.

Booking a double room at a 3 * hotel in the summer season will cost approximately 350-450 TL per night. Food and drinks are included. If you want to relax in the most comfortable conditions, then you have at your disposal numerous five-star hotels. In the summer months, the average price for renting a double room in such an institution varies between 800-1000 TL. Of course, there are more expensive elite hotels where a night of accommodation costs more than 2000 TL, but the service in such establishments is at the highest level.

Hotel Barut Acanthus & Cennet
Barut acanthus & cennet

When choosing an accommodation option in Side in Turkey, pay attention to the location of the object and its remoteness from the sea. Some hotels are located in deserted villages, where there is no bazaar, no restaurants, no walking area. Sometimes a hotel can be located very far from the sea, so its guests have to overcome several hundred meters in the heat of the coast.

Food
At Side Ocakbasi Restaurant
Side Ocakbasi Restaurant

Side’s old town is literally littered with institutions for every taste – cafes, restaurants and nightclubs. They offer a varied menu that can include national, Mediterranean and European dishes. It should be noted right away that prices on the territory of the most ancient city are an order of magnitude higher than in the surrounding areas. Even in stores, the cost of ordinary goods, such as a bottle of water and ice cream, is at least doubled. Although if you move a little further from the center of Side and walk along the harbor, it is quite easy to find places with reasonable prices. Usually, a large stand with a menu and prices is installed near the cafe.

Street food

And now a few exact numbers. Dinner for two in a good restaurant with soft drinks will cost an average of 150-250 TL. You will pay about the same amount for lunch in a simpler restaurant, but with a bottle of wine. Outside the old city, there are many budgetary establishments that sell street food (doner, pide, lahmajun, etc.), for which you will pay no more than 20-30 TL. There you can also find fast foods, where a burger and potato snack will cost 15-20 TL.

Weather and climate. When is it better to come

Side sea water temperature

If your attention was attracted by a photo of Side in Turkey, and you are considering it as a future holiday destination, it is important to study its weather conditions. The tourist season opens here in April and ends in October. Side has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and rainy winters. Water in the sea warms up by mid-May, and you can swim until the end of October.

Side temperature

The warmest and sunniest period in the resort town is the period from the end of June to mid-September, when the daytime air temperature does not drop below 30 ° C, and the water temperature in the sea is between 28-29 ° C. The winter months are cool and rainy, but even on the coldest day the thermometer shows a positive mark of 10-15 ° C. You can learn more about the weather in Side for months from the table below.

MonthDaytime average temperatureAverage temperature at nightSea water temperatureNumber of sunny daysNumber of rainy days
January13.3 ° C8.3 ° C18 ° C176
February15 ° C9.5 ° C17.2 ° Ceighteen3
March17.5 ° C11 ° C17 ° C224
April21.2 ° C14 ° C18.4 ° C25one
May25 ° C17.5 ° C21.6 ° C28one
June30 ° C21.3 ° C25.2 ° Cthirty0
July33.8 ° C24.6 ° C28.3 ° C310
August34 ° C24.7 ° C29.4 ° C310
September30.9 ° C22 ° C28.4 ° C29thone
October25.7 ° C17.9 ° C25.4 ° C273
November20.5 ° C13.9 ° C22.3 ° C243
December15.6 ° C10.4 ° C19.8 ° Cnineteen6

How to get there

Taxi at the airport

The nearest airport to Side is 72.5 km in Antalya. You can independently get from the air harbor to the resort by taxi or public transport. In the first case, it is enough to leave the airport terminal and head to the taxi rank. The cost of the trip starts from 200 TL.

The road by public transport will take longer, because there are no direct bus services from the airport to Side. First you need to take a minibus from the air harbor to the main bus station in Antalya (Antalya Otogarı). From there, from 06:00 to 21:30, buses leave for Manavgat two to three times an hour (ticket price is 20 TL). When the transport enters the city, you can land at any stop in the center (for example, at any point on Antalya street). And from here you can get to Side on dolmushes (3.5 TL), which run every 15-20 minutes.

Useful Tips

Headdress
  1. Side is enough to spend half a day on sightseeing.
  2. Do not forget that Side is in the open, so in the summer it is best to go for a walk in the city in the early morning or closer to the evening, when the sun does not bake so much. And be sure to bring sunscreen and a hat with you.
  3. We do not recommend purchasing souvenirs and other products at the bazaar of the ancient city, since the price tags there are inflated at times.

The marina town offers inexpensive boat trips (25 TL). Such a mini-tour can be a great end to your busy tour of Side (Turkey).


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