Ancient Phaselis is slowly submerging in Antalya
Almost two meters of the ancient city of Phaselis have submerged in 2,000 years, indicated by studies carried out by geologists and geomorphologists in the area, said Akdeniz University Archeology Department Professor Murat Arslan.
Phaselis, situated in the southern province of Antalya’s Kemer district, was important for trade in ancient times as it had three ports. It is possible to see the wealth of the ancient city in the agoras, trade centers, bath houses and temples, expressed by ancient era writers throughout the Classic and Hellenistic periods and Roman history.
Each year, thousands of locals and foreign tourists visit the ancient city surrounded by sea and nature.
The excavations in the ancient city are carried out under the guidance of the Antalya Museum and the scientific consultancy of Arslan.
Phaselis was a city situated in the basin of Lycia (West Mediterranean) and Pamphylia (Antalya and surroundings), Arslan told state-run Anadolu Agency.
“Because it was closely bordered by both, it was able to stay mostly independent throughout history. It protected its autonomy. Without becoming dominated by other countries and by protecting its independent structure, it was able to use the wealth it earned from trade for its citizens,” said Arslan.
Arslan said the importance of the Phaselis tradesmen were well-known in ancient times in famous cities from Athens to Rome and Alexandria to Rhodes.
“The Phaselis tradesmen had stood out so much with their trade that it was reflected in Demosthenes’ speeches, who was one of the most important orators of ancient times,” he said.
Arslan also said the circulation of trade in Phaselis was reflected in the entire Mediterranean basin by the coins issued from the Classic and Hellenistic periods.
Arslan said the ancient city of Phaselis has continued to submerge for 2,000 years, adding that this situation was seen in the ancient cities in the Mediterranean basin.
“The African continent puts pressure on the Asian plate. In some areas, it’s three-centimeters per year and in other areas, nine centimeters. Plate movements in the Mediterranean basin cause that area to collapse in some areas.
We see the basin along the shores of the Mediterranean has slowly submerged, starting from the ancient city of Knidos, the province of Muğla’s Datça district until the province of Antalya’s Gazipaşa district. As a result of the studies carried out by geologists and geomorphologists, we have identified that almost two meters of Phaselis have submerged over 2,000 years,” he said.
Furthermore, he said some of the tombs, necropolis and port areas in the ancient cities of Kekova and Andriake in Antalya’s Demre district have been submerged under water for the same reason.
“As a result of pressure, plate movements cause faults to crack from place to place, create earthquakes and therefore tsunamis occur,” Arslan said.
Arslan also said there was an earthquake in the Mediterranean region in the year 17 B.C., and after this, the Roman Emperor named Tiberius provided lots of aid to the cities situated in area.
He added that the area of Lycia and Pamphylia was subject to a big earthquake in the year 160 A.C. as well. “We know that the well-known rich man of those times, named Opramoas from Rhodiapolis, supplied a large amount of aid to many of those demolished cities after the earthquake. The same goes for the ancient city of Phaselis. We learn from the inscriptions that after the earthquake Opramoas gave 12,500 drahmi to be spent in repairing the demolished areas and for the needs of the nation,” he said