Side History, Antalya

Side is situated on a peninsula that is almost a kilometer long and four hundred meters wide. Although the geographer Strabo tells us that Side was founded by the inhabitants of Kyme, a city located near present-day Izmir, in what would be the 7th century B.C., the word side in the indigenous Anatolian language means "pomegranate", from which we may assume that the city’s origins are much older than that. Though Side became a Lydian possession in the 6th century B.C., the Persians captured it in 546 B.C. and it remained in their hands until taken by Alexander the Great in 334 B.C.

Although the kingdom of Pergamon founded Antalya in the 2nd century B.C. after a naval battle that took place off Side in order to gain control of Pamphylia (southwestern Anatolia), Side never came under Pergamon rule. Side enjoyed its greatest period of prosperity in the 2nd. century but by the end of that period, it fell under the control of pirates and was not delivered from their domination until the pirates were defeated in 72 B.C. Servilius Isauricus, a Roman consul, who also added Side to the Roman Empire.
As Roman authority in Asia Minor waned in the early part of the present millennium, Side became the target of raids and attacks by tribes coming from the mountainous region to the north around the middle of the 4th century and for this reason, a fortifying wall was built across the peninsula, dividing the city in two, and the northeastern half of the city was abandoned. Side suffered steady impoverishment and decline. It became the center of a diocese in the 5th and 6th centuries. Following the Arab attacks in the 10th century and the later influx of pirates to Side, most of the people moved to Antalya and the city was abandoned. The present village was founded on the site of its ruins in this century.

side antalya
Side is now a resort town on the southern coast of Turkey, near the villages of Manavgat and Selimiye, 75 km from Antalya in the province of Antalya. It is located on the eastern part of the Pamphylian coast, which lies about 20 km east of the mouth of the Eurymedon River. Today, as in antiquity, the ancient Roman city is situated on a small north-south peninsula about 1 km long and 400 m across.

sideBoth Turks and foreigners come for the perfect white sand beaches, the seaside restaurants and bars, the variety of lodgings (from cheap little pensions to luxury hotels), and the impressive Hellenistic and Roman ruins.

The best times to enjoy Side are late April, May, early June and October. If you must come in high summer, avoid weekends, when half of Ankara roars down to Side for a swim.

Car, bus and minibus are the ways to get here. Buses and minibuses come from Antalya and Alanya. The nearest airport is Antalya’s, 55 km (34 miles) west of Side.