Ancient city of Perge to regain its former glory
With more than 100 columns revived during the ongoing restoration works, efforts are being made to bring the ancient city of Perge, one of the most organized Roman-era cities in Anatolia, back to its former glory.
Located in the southern province of Antalya’s Aksu district, the ancient city has a history that dates back to 5,000 B.C. It was once the capital of the Pamphylia region. The excavations have been carried out for 75 years in the city uninterruptedly.
Many sculptures unearthed during the excavations have made the Antalya Museum one of the richest Roman-era sculpture museums in the world.
Efforts have been ongoing to restore Perge, which opens the doors of another world to its visitors with its two round towers, city walls, a rare colonnaded street, water canal, mosaics, stadium and theater.
Within the scope of the “get a column in Perge” campaign, which was realized by the Antalya Promotion Foundation after the announcement of 2018 as the “Year of Perge” by the Antalya Governor’s Office, the columns of the ancient city have been revived again.
The campaign aimed to accelerate the ongoing archaeological excavations and restoration works in Perge. As part of the campaign, the columns that were removed during the excavations were reerected on their original street, just as it was in the ancient era, with the help of sponsors.
The restoration works for more than 100 columns were carried out by the Antalya Museum, after which they were erected back again in the ancient city. Arrangement and rehabilitation work was also carried out in Perge after 2012 during the excavation and restoration works.
Professor Sedef Çokay Kepçe from Istanbul University’s Archeology Department, who is the head of the excavations in Perge, said that especially in recent years, the first human traces starting from 5,000 B.C. were found in the ancient city.
Stating that the ancient city holds significant importance as it was one of the most important sacred places of a local goddess, Kepçe said: “Antalya is a precious city that offers natural and historical beauties like an archaeological oasis. It is a city that stands out with its cultural structure.”
She noted that the theater structure, city walls, beautiful fountain structures, mosaics, bazaar and colonnaded streets attracted the attention of visitors the most.
Stating that most of the sculptures of the Antalya Museum were taken from Perge, Kepçe said: “Splendid gigantic sculptures were found in the theater. Whether we find a very small object or a gigantic sculpture, both are equally important for us. The excitement we feel on finding an artifact made of precious metal is the same when we find a piece of ceramic pottery. Last year we found a statue of a dressed woman in the excavations.”
Stating that working in excavations is an exciting profession, Kepçe said that the documentation work takes a long time after each find is removed.
Stating that there are mosaics all over the city, she said: “There are mosaic floors on the sidewalks of the colonnade streets, around the agora and in the baths. People of the ancient period were walking on these mosaic floors. We see that materials from many different places were imported here. We also know that Alexander the Great came here too.”