Aphrodisias awaits record high visitors
One of the best preserved ancient cities in Anatolia, the ancient city of Aphrodisias in western Turkey, expects to host a record number of visitors this year after its inscription to the UNESCO World Heritage List last year.
Located in the western province of Aydın’s Karacasu district, the 7,000-year-old ancient city had its heyday in the Roman era. It is the most famous of the cities dedicated to Aphrodite, the god of love and beauty.
Thanks to the marble quarries and a sculptor school located close to the city, Aphrodisias was among the best known sculptor centers in the Roman era. It now hosts history aficionados and art lovers, marveling at its unique sculptures unearthed during excavations.
Aphrodisias draws attention with its Sebasteion Temple, stadium, ancient theater and bath as well as its museum where rich sculptures are displayed.
The site was included on the world heritage list during the 41st UNESCO World Heritage Committee session in Krakow, Poland last year. It is Turkey’s 16th heritage on the UNESCO list and started welcoming its guests earlier this year.
As the Aydın Governor’s Office declared 2018 the “year of Aphrodisias” and promotional works have been accelerated, the ancient city was visited by some 50,000 tourists last year.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Karacasu District Governor Güher Sinem Büyüknalçacı said the UNESCO World Heritage List was very important for raising the profile of Aphrodisias.
Büyüknalçacı said that after its addition to the list, the number of local and foreign tourists visiting both Aphrodisias and the district had considerably increased, drawn by “magnificent artifacts of the Roman era.”
“Last year nearly 50,000 tourists visited the ancient city. This year we could host three times that amount because even though the season has not kicked off yet we are already close to last year’s number of visitors,” he added.
“The district of Karacasu is not only famous for its ancient city but also for its pide [Turkish pizza]. After visiting here, foreign tourists also visit the district. In this way, shopkeepers also profit,” Büyüknalçacı said, praising the economic contribution made by foreign tourists to the district. Özden Atasavun, who works as a guide to the site for Japanese tourists, confirmed that more foreign tourists had started coming to the region after the UNESCO inscription.
The ancient city of Aphrodisias is made up mainly of two components: The archaeological site of Aphrodisias and the marble quarries. The temple of Aphrodite dates back to the 3rd century B.C. and the city was built one cen Aphrodisias came from the marble quarries and the art produced by its sculptors. The city streets are arranged around several large civic structures, which include temples, a theater, an agora, and two bath complexes.