Didem Doğan

Sagalassos exhibition

‘Once upon a time in Taurus Mountains: Sagalassos’, the exhibition at the Yapi Kredi Cultural Centre in Taksim is about an ancient city that maybe few people know. Located in Southwestern part of Turkey, on the Mountain of Toros, the city of Sagalassos was long unknown. There were some travellers in eighteenth century who visited it but the archeological excavations only started in 1970s (led by Marc Waelkens for more than twenty years). The archeological site opened in 2010 and you can reach there either by traveling from Antalya (hundred kms) or from Burdur (aprox. thirty kms), you can also fly to Isparta, another nearby city.

Sagalassos the capital city of the Pisidia region, was known as the city on waters. The underground springs where the city was built permit to build several fountains, baths, provided also the water used in gymnasium. The fountains, that were called Nymphaion (taking the name from water nymph- goddess or spirit of rivers) were not only functional but also aesthetic such as the beautiful Antonines Fountain with sculptures and columns that is known seen as the symbol of this city. The archeological site consists of several fountains, two Agoras- the market place and the State, the commercial market Macellum, the mausoleum, Roman baths, theatre, the road of the Kings (as in the city of Ephesus); the whole site truly gives you the sensation of an ancient city. Sagalassos reached its zenith during Roman Empire, the population was around 2500 to 3500 people at that time, the sculptures of the kings were also built then to pay tribute to the power of the Roman Empire (the one of Marcus Aurelius is brought to this exhibition). At the thirteenth century it was abandoned with a similar fate of other ancient cities of the region.

After long years of archeological excavations the findings at the ancient city of Sagalassos the pieces taken out from the excavations such as imperial sculptures with huge dimensions (for example the legs and head of the King Marcus Aurelius), head of Tyche, the statue of winged victory marble, along with high tech videos explaining the multi dimensional researches of the city are brought to you in this exhibition. 

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