Ancient Perge surviving, but locals are not
ANTALYA – Doğan News Agency
The wonders of the ancient city of Perge in Antalya have survived until the present day, but locals who make a living off of the site are facing an array of economic threats due to a drop in the number of visitors.
Located within the borders of Antalya’s Aksu district, the ancient city of Perge was once the capital of the Pamphylia region and one of the richest and the most beautiful cities in the past. The ancient city still attracts attention with its many sculptures that have been unearthed during excavations, but the number of visitors to the ancient city has seriously fallen in recent years amid a general decline in Turkey due to a number of political and economic factors.
Perge hosted 190,000 tourists in 2014 but the number fell to 112,390 in 2015 and just 60,000 last year.
This decrease in the number of tourists has severely affected the local women of Perge, who sell souvenirs to tourists in 24 pavilions established at the entrance of the ancient city.
Some vendors thought they would be able to sell more products in the new stands following their renewal last year, but a lack of tourists has scuttled such hopes.
Vendors pay 200 Turkish Liras a month for a 2.5-meter-long stand, but 10 women have left the ancient city complaining that they are unable to make sales anymore.
Their colleagues have complained about a similar drop in visitors, adding that they, too, could depart if numbers do not improve.
Drivers have problems, too
The drivers of tour companies who bring tourists to the ancient city have also complained about problems, noting that they are unable to find food or beverages after dropping off tourists at the ancient city.
Drivers, however, said they were biggest problem was the lack of washroom facilities.
“When we want to use the washrooms, they ask us to pay the entrance fee of 25 Turkish Liras. Then we go to Aksu district a few kilometers away to meet our need,” one driver said.
Antalya Museum Director Mustafa Demirel said drivers had reported this problem to the Prime Ministry Communications Center (BİMER).
“When I mentioned this to Antalya Gov. Münir Karaloğlu during one of his visits, he advised drivers to buy a museum card for 50 liras and then use the toilets inside the ancient city throughout the year,” Demirel said.
The ancient city of Perge was added to the UNESCO Tentative Heritage list in 2009. The Antalya Archaeology Museum has been conducting excavations on the site since 2012.