I already knew that the excavations at Sagalassus had produced several quite spectacular results, like that colossal statue of Hadrian that caught the headlines almost three years ago. I also knew the fine website Sagalassos.be, which proves that Flemish archaeologists know how to explain their results to non-specialists. And I had met one of the excavators some time ago. Yet, although I knew that Sagalassos was special, it was almost a shock to see what it actually was. It’s not another Ephesus, but I would not be surprised if it became one of the main sites in Turkey; it’s certainly better worth a visit than Miletus.
It is hard to enumerate what’s there to be seen, but I remember: a wide paved street, the ruins of the temple of Antoninus Pius, the Lower Agora, the nymphaeum of Hadrian, a small street, a bathhouse, a wall, rock tombs, a Byzantine church, and a partly excavated odium. After a short climb, we reached the Upper Agora, with a splendid nymphaeum from the age of Antoninus Pius, a heroon, the temple of Zeus, the Bouleuterion and the Prytaneum, the library, and the Hellenistic nymphaeum, where you can still drink the water. Finally, there’s the theater – the tenth I’ve seen in seven days.
All sculpture has been removed to the museum at Burdur. As the excavations are still going on – the current permit expires in 2018 – it is not surprising that you cannot buy a guide to the site, but you can buy a useful leaflet at the house of the guard. Here, you can also buy tea or coffee, and have a pick-nick in the shade.