Alabanda, the Las Vegas of ancient world
Claimed to be the place where the first horse races were organized in the world and known as the Las Vegas of the period with its entertainment centers, the ancient city of Alabanda in western Turkey is waiting to welcome visitors.
While excavations continue throughout the year in the ancient city of Alabanda, which is believed to be one of the favorite cities of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and attracts attention with its Temple of Apollo, archaeologists are also looking to find the stadium where the great horse races were organized.
Aydın, which has been home to many civilizations throughout its history and is an open-air museum due to its cultural heritage, is home to the ancient city of Alabanda, which is believed to have been a place like Las Vegas, one of the largest entertainment centers in the world in 350 B.C. The ancient city is among the ones that symbolized entertainment and luxury in its period.
Noting that Alabanda had been one of the places with significant future potential, Aydın Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Associate Professor Umut Tuncer said, “The ancient city of Alabanda is one of the 17 places where archaeological works are ongoing in Aydın, and it is a place where we see great potential for the future. We carry out our work under the chairmanship of Professor Ali Yalçın Tavukçu.”
“Alabanda’s history dates back to the 350s B.C. As far as we know, ‘Ala’ means horse and ‘Banda’ means race in ancient Greek. Therefore, we think that ancient horse races were organized in ancient times there and that it was a kind of entertainment center. In this respect, it should have a big stadium, and we are working to find this stadium. I hope we will announce it to the public as soon as we find the stadium but already a wonderful theater and the Temple of Apollo are unique examples of vertical architecture and waiting to welcome visitors in the ancient city,” he added.
Tuncer stated that villagers who are living around the ancient city are also the volunteer guards of the area.
“The ancient city of Alabanda is located within Doğanyurt village, and this village gives the ancient city a more special and unique texture. It also creates natural protection. Because every citizen there accepts our ancient heritage as their own and strictly protects it. This is an important achievement for us. Because Alabanda was a city of wealth, one of the important attractions of show business in its era,” he said.
Tuncer stated that they believed it was one of the favorite cities of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, saying: “We made a wonderful discovery at the end of the excavation season this summer. We managed to find the statue of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. We had already thought that Hadrian had visited the ancient city of Alabanda in the 120s B.C., and this discovery corroborated our thought.”
He said that Alabanda is one of the most unique places that should be visited by tourists coming to Aydın, adding, “At the same time, the excavation works here are one of our works that are carried out during 12 months of a year. The 17 archaeological excavations we carried out in Aydın brought very important discoveries. We discovered the statue of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in Alabanda but I think we will make another discovery that will definitely be one of the most important discoveries in Turkey in the next excavation seasons.”