General Information

Besides Olympos, Phaselis is probably one of the most important Lycian cities. The founding of the city dates back to the year 690 BC. Other former names include Pityusa and Pharsalos. From inscriptions dating back to 300 BC, it is clear that the town was set up by Rhodians rather than Lycians.

Culture and History

After Alexander’s death, the city came under Egyptian rule, but was then passed onto the Kingdom of Rhodes. Phaselis was a very important port; so important that it was under constant threat of pirates, similar to its neighboring city of Olympos. The threat was to such an extent that the city was under the rule of the pirate Zekenites for a period, until the city was liberated by the Romans during 1st century BC.

During the Byzantine era, the city became a bisophric. However, the city was once again threathened by pirates. The harrassment came to such an extent that the city was abandoned in 11th century AD with a final assault of Arab pirates. When the Seljuks arrived, the city was easily conquered. However, the Seljuks used Antalya and Alanya as ports, further diminishing the importance of Phaselis as a port.

The city consists of three harbours and a very wide ancient street running through it. Ruins of shops and stores on the sides of the street are still remarkably intact, as well as Roman baths, agoras, theaters and even traces of Roman infrastructure, such as sewage pipes. The city once also was the site of a great temple dedicated to Athene, where the lance of Achilles was exhibited.