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Aspendos lies just to the west of the city of Antalya. The hilltop Roman ruins here feature a basilica, rock tombs and a fine 20,000-seat theatre cut out of the hillside, probably one of the best preserved in Turkey. Built in the 2nd century AD, the stage, auditorium and arcade above are all intact and in June/July the Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival is held here. On the hill above is the acropolis where you can still find the nymphaeum, basilica and parts of the main street. There is also a Roman aqueduct that originally brought water to Aspendos from the nearby mountains.
In 469 BC Aspendos came under Greek control when they defeated the Persians in both sea and land battles nearby but in 386 BC the Persians were back. Alexander the Great re-established Greek control in 333 BC which lasted until 133BC when Aspendos became part of the Roman province of Asia. It was during the period of the Roman Empire that the city prospered. Following periods of Byzantine and Ottoman control, the city was abandoned in the 18th century.
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