Settlements > Seleucia (Pamphylia)

Seleucia in Pamphylia


Seleucia (Greek: Σελεύκεια – also transliterated as Seleukeia) in Pamphylia was an ancient city located on the southern coast of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), near the mouth of the Eurymedon River. Founded during the Hellenistic period, Seleucia was named after Seleucus I Nicator, one of the generals of Alexander the Great and the founder of the Seleucid Empire.

Seleucia in Pamphylia was an ancient Greek city on the Mediterranean coast of Pamphylia, in Anatolia, approximately 15 km northeast of Side; the site is currently about 1k north of the village of Bucakşeyhler (also Bucakşıhler), approximately 12 km northeast of Manavgat, Antalya Province, Turkey. It is situated on a hilltop with steep escarpments on several sides making a strong defensive position.

The track from the village has recently been clearfelled but the main site is still within a mature pine forest. The German researcher Johannes Nollé has suggested, however, that the remains at this location are not those of Seleucia but rather those of Lyrba. Here's an overview of Seleucia in Pamphylia.

Establishment and History:

Hellenistic Foundation: Seleucia in Pamphylia was founded in the early 3rd century BCE by Seleucus I Nicator, following his conquests in the region. The city was established as part of Seleucus's efforts to consolidate his control over coastal Anatolia and to promote Greek culture and commerce in the region.

Strategic Location: Seleucia was strategically positioned on the southern coast of Pamphylia, a region known for its fertile plains and access to maritime trade routes. The city's location allowed it to serve as a key port and trading center, facilitating the exchange of goods between Asia Minor, the eastern Mediterranean, and beyond.

Urban Layout and Architecture:

City Plan: Seleucia was laid out according to Hellenistic urban planning principles, with organized streets, squares, and public buildings. The city's layout likely included a central agora (marketplace), temples, civic buildings, residential areas, and fortifications.

Harbor and Port Facilities: Seleucia's harbor played a crucial role in the city's economic prosperity, accommodating maritime traffic and facilitating trade with other Mediterranean ports. Port facilities may have included docks, warehouses, shipyards, and other infrastructure to support commercial and naval activities.

Cultural and Religious Significance:

Greek Influence: As a Hellenistic city, Seleucia embraced Greek culture, language, and customs, attracting settlers and merchants from Greece, Asia Minor, and the wider Mediterranean world. Greek-style architecture, art, and religious practices would have been prominent in Seleucia, reflecting its cultural connections to the Greek-speaking world.

Religious Diversity: Seleucia was likely home to a diverse population with various religious affiliations, including followers of traditional Anatolian deities, Greek gods and goddesses, and foreign cults. Temples and sanctuaries dedicated to different gods and goddesses would have dotted the cityscape, serving as centers of worship and communal gathering.

Decline and Abandonment:

Roman Period: With the gradual decline of the Seleucid Empire and the rise of Roman power in Asia Minor, Seleucia came under Roman control in the 1st century BCE.The city continued to exist and function as a regional center during the Roman period, albeit with diminished political and economic significance.

Late Antiquity: Seleucia's decline accelerated during the late Roman and Byzantine periods, as the region experienced political instability, economic decline, and invasions by foreign powers. By the 7th century CE, Seleucia had been largely abandoned, its population dispersing or relocating to other urban centers in the region.

Modern Exploration and Preservation:

Archaeological Investigations: Seleucia in Pamphylia has been the subject of archaeological investigations in modern times, with excavations uncovering the remains of the city's buildings, infrastructure, and artifacts. Excavations have provided valuable insights into Seleucia's history, urban development, and cultural interactions during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

Tourism and Conservation: Today, the archaeological site of Seleucia in Pamphylia is open to visitors and tourists, offering opportunities to explore its ancient ruins and learn about its historical significance. Efforts are ongoing to preserve and protect the site's archaeological remains, ensuring that Seleucia's cultural heritage is safeguarded for future generations.

There are remains of an agora containing a row of two-storey and three-storey building façades, a gate, a mausoleum, a Roman bath, a necropolis, in addition to several temples and churches.Because of its remote location,the site has not been plundered for building materials and the area is littered with columns and other items like large grindstones for flour making.


J. Nollé, "Forschungen in Selge und Ostpamphylien", Araştırma 6 (1988), pp. 257–59.

Blue Guide, Turkey, The Aegean and Mediterranean Coasts (ISBN 0-393-30489-2), p. 496.

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