Aphrodisias is an archaeological site next to the village of Geyre at the eastern edge of the Turkish province of Aydın. It was a Greek city which later became the capital of the Roman province of Caria. The city got its name from the goddess Aphrodite, as it was the home of the cult of Aphrodite of Aphrodisias, which was housed in the local Temple of Aphrodite.
The region was known for its marble, and it shows at the site. Even today, there is a great beauty that can be seen among the ruins of Aphrodisias. This can especially be seen in the Tetrapylon, which once served as the gate to the sanctuary of Aphrodite.
It can also be seen in the Sebasteion, which was dedicated to Aphrodite and the emperors of Rome.
The beauty of the local marble can even be seen in the floors, columns, and statuary in and around the atria of private houses.
The local theater is relatively well preserved, and most of the columns along the adjacent street are still standing.
Another building which looked like a small theater was where the local council met.
The agora area is still being excavated and was off-limits at the time of our visit.
The site is also where you will find today what is said to be the best preserved ancient Greek stadium in the world.
All in all, the marble ruins are exquisite, and it is a supreme pleasure the spend a couple of hours wandering through them.
There is also a small museum at the site as well. Unlike the small on-site museums which often can be found at many other sites, this one is quite modern–well lit and nicely air-conditioned.
The most important treasure on display at the museum is the famous Aphrodite of Aphrodisias statue, which once stood in the Temple of Aphrodite there. The statue is missing its head, but luckily there is also on display a relief of what the head probably looked like, which was found in the theater.
Tips for the Visitor
Aphrodisias is a possible day-trip destination for tourists based at Pamukkale/Hierapolis, which is only 42 km away as the crow flies, but the drive along the highway is 100 km and takes well over an hour. As a result, Aphrodisias is usually not very crowded.
The village of Geyre is on the highway, but it is not very near any big cities. To get there by bus would usually require multiple changes, possibly relying on routes which do not run frequently. The best way to get there if you are staying in Pamukkale is to book a day-tour at one of the many tour agencies in Pamukkale. There may be guided tours available, but there are also unguided tours–the driver drops everyone off at the site and tells them to be back at the van in a couple of hours. Assuming that there will be others signing up as well, the tours are usually quite cheap.