Tucked by a village, off of a major thoroughfare running between resort towns, rests the hillside remains of the 2,000-year-old city of Sillyon. Pack a vivid imagination and a desire to take your sense of adventure off road when you visit the ruins of Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. Read on to learn more about Ancient Sillyon.
History of Sillyon
Two potential origin stories for Sillyon exist, and there is not agreement about which one is true. The first historical record of Sillyon was found in the early 5th century BC. Like Termessos, because of its height and fortifications, it stands as one of the very few cities to not be captured by Alexander the Great on his quest through Anatolia. Many of the buildings of the ancient city of Sillyon were heavily damaged in a 1969 landslide, conquering what even Alexander the Great could not.
For much more of Sillyon’s past, history lovers can read the article ‘Sillyon’ (2017) found on the Turkish Archaeological News website.
What can you see there today?
Sillyon stands out from afar because of its location at the top of a plateau-like hill in the middle of a fairly flat plain.
Today you can find remnants of the Roman-era stadium, city gates, an ancient temple, an antique water fountain, a theater, Hellenistic fortifications and a tower, a gymnasium, a large Byzantine era building, and two Ottoman era mosques.
The decimated site has not been extensively unearthed or maintained. Very basic signage, at best, marks the area. But, the freedom to roam, climb and explore is like a goldmine for history and nature enthusiasts. If the lack of information about what you are seeing does not bother you, you can let your unfettered imagination take over and hike for a couple of hours.
Getting to the crest of the hill is a good uphill climb and the top is covered in shrubs, tall grass, and rocks. But the hike is definitely worth the effort and time because of the spectacular view in every direction from the top, as well as the random buildings and rocks scattered about.
Little people and adults alike may enjoy spotting the sheep, goats, chickens, turtles, lizards, butterflies, dragonflies and grasshoppers.
- You’ll need to wear good walking shoes for the rocky terrain and keep your eyes open for the loose rocks and goat droppings along the paths.
- The climb up the hill could prove challenging for children under age five. Also, keeping an eye on younger kids at the top, especially at the crumbled theater that plunges down into the depths, could be quite stressful. For that reason, we think Sillyon is better for families with kids over age five or six. For a more family friendly ruin in the same area, try Perge or Aspendos.
- When planning your trip, bear in mind this is an open area with no shade for the heat or lighting for the dark.
- The amount of time you need to spend at Sillyon depends on your adventure-meter. If you love off-the-path exploring, plan for 2-3 hours. If you just want to see a few old rocks and climb a little, an hour would be sufficient.
- Bring water, sunscreen, and a hat in most months.
- We highly recommend climbing up to the top of the plateau and exploring the area. In addition to a tremendous view of the area that spreads all the way to the sea, this is where you will find the collapsed theater and other extensive ruins.
- If you want an ancient ruin experience with lots of information, signs, and some idea of what you are viewing, Sillyon is not for you. If you want a place where you and your imagination can run wild, Sillyon is perfect.
- We were able to climb up to the top on the southwest path that goes up from the water fountain and ends up by the theater. At the top, we turned north and ventured around the buildings on the opposite side from the theater. We were able to make our way back down on a path on the northwest side and ended up passing one of the mosques, the tower and gymnasium walls. We essentially made a big circle.
How to get there
Sillyon is easy to reach by rental car or taxi and is about 25 kilometers east of the Antalya Airport. We recommend following the brown road signage for Sillyon rather than your GPS once you are near Serik on D-400. You’ll see a large plateau off in the distance and head that way.
Once you arrive, a small gravel parking area, though no amenities, can be utilized at the bottom of the site. There is a tiny café/convenience store across the street. Start up the hill by climbing your own trail behind a couple of abandoned houses or by following a slightly visible path up beside a goat barn.
GPS Coordinates: 36.992400, 30.990100
Address: Kışlar Sokak 12-20, Serik, Antalya 07500
Entrance fee: 0TL