A visit to Sagalassos not only offers the chance to see some incredible classical Roman ruins but also an opportunity to explore Turkey’s Lake District and other parts of ‘the real’ Anatolia, way off the tourist trail.
For the past 24 years, Belgian professor, Marc Waelkens, of Leuven Catholic University, has directed an international team of scientists and excavators at Sagalassos.
Recognized as one of the finest sites in Turkey, it is now being described as the ‘Pompeii of Anatolia’.
This website gives a taste of what’s in store:
…here, an ambitious Roman elite once dreamed of building a great city. Temples, squares, fountains and gigantic sculptures of emperors and gods gave shape to those dreams –
until the city was shaken by a devastating earthquake in the early 7th century BCE from which Sagalassos never recovered…”
The city was gradually abandoned and forgotten.
Archaeological finds over the last decade include the colossal stone heads of Emperors Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius, excavated in 2007 and 2008 respectively.
The first head was the centerpiece of an important exhibition dedicated to Hadrian at the British Museum in 2008 and the discovery of the second head, also in 2008, was ‘breaking news’ on the BBC.
A visit to Burdur’s museum is a wonderful opportunity to see the wealth of artifacts discovered by archaeologists at several of the many historic sites in the area.
The statues and objects of daily life from Sagalassos are beautifully displayed.
For more information visit this website.
High altitude history, culture and scenery
The journey to Sagalassos takes in some breathtaking scenery and Turkish hillside villages.
The nearby towns of Burdur and Ağlasun are also well worth a visit.
In autumn, winter and spring the sunshine can be warm at sea level but beware; the air temperature at an altitude of 2,000 metres is pretty nippy, so come prepared.
Visitors nowadays may well wonder what clothes the Romans wore to keep warm, especially bearing in mind that they evidently thought trousers were the preserve of barbarians!
The excavated buildings at Sagalassos are wonderful examples of classical Roman architecture, sensitively revealed by the archaeological teams working on them, Sagalassos is a most extraordinary place;
not just the buildings themselves – the number, size and complexity of the statuary in the museum reveal just how important it must have been, but also how such a place was built amid such beautiful and
captivating but inaccessible scenery…
For anyone with mobility issues, the site itself is not a vary easy place to move around…
The paths are well made but steep; after all Sagalassos is built on the side of a mountain but a trip to the museum in Burdur and the village of Ağlasun is certainly accessible to all.
For an interactive experience visit this website.
During the summer season there are organized tours but not during the winter months.
By car it is a long but interesting journey.
A day trip means an early start.
Take a reliable map and during the winter months check weather forecasts for snow before you leave.
These photos were taken in mid-November.
There are hotels open in Burdur all year round.