The Gate Magazine – April 2001

The Heroine of Perge

Through the ages, women have had many different roles in Anatolia: for example, they were trade judges in Assyrian Kültepe, Priene judges, and Amazons on the Black Sea coast. The women of Lycia chose their own husbands, while those from the city of Xanthos committed suicide rather than submitting themselves to the Persians (545 B.C.)

One of these heroes was a lady called Plancia Magna, who lived during the 2nd century A.D. She reached the peak of her power by being immortalized along with the city of Perge. Plancia was the daughter of the founder of Perge who later became a senator. Her mother was a priestess of the Mother Goddess of Anatolia, Kybele.

The most significant structure in the city is the Monumental Gate and the horse-shoe-shaped courtyard which were erected in her honor and where the statues of the city founders, gods and goddesses were found. Around the time that Plancia had these structures erected ca. 120 A. D., Emperor Hadrian began the “Panhellenic’ festivals. Only deities that could prove their Hellenistic heritage were able to partake in the festivites. Many cities faked their heritage; even Plancia Magna went to great efforts. On two sides of the oval courtyard are 14 separate niches for the statues, seven of which represented mythological figures and seven the city’s contemporary founders, most likely of Plancia’s family members. What is significant is the fact that the statues of women outnumber the men, which correlates with the number of women in higher-level positions at the time.

The ruins of Perge

Visitors to the ruins of Perge first encounter the theater and stadium. Perge’s theater was one of the most elaborate in Anatolia, with the outer facade of its stage building standing 12 meters high and housing a monumental fountain. With a seating capacity of 12,000 spectators, Perge’s stadium is one of three best-preserved stadiums in Anatolia. These two structures are followed by the 4th century A.D. Roman Portal as well as the Hellenistic period City Portal, comprised of two round towers. Between these lie the ruins of the baths and fountains.

The 20-meter wide Collonade is comprised of a pavilion covered on two sides with shops behind. There is also a water channel in the middle of the avenue which was not for carrying drinking water or sewage, but rather for decoration. The Collonade extends from the Hellenistic Portal to the Monumental Fountain. There is also an agora as well as a round structure named after the Goddess of Fortune, Tyche.

How to get there

THY has five daily flights to Antalya from Istanbul and three from Ankara. Moreover, there are bus services from all locations in Turkey. To reach Perge, you must take the Aksu minibuses located across from the Meydan post office. Get off in Aksu and either hire a taxi or walk the remaining 1.5 km. to Perge. There are also a number of car rental companies in Antalya.

Where to stay
Kaleici
Adalya Otel
Tel: 0242-243 27 56 Aspen Otel
Tel: 0242-247 05 60 Marina Otel
Tel: 0242-247 54 90 Dogan Pansiyon
Tel: 0242-241 84 42 Hotel Sillyum 2000
Ileribasi Mevkii, Belek
Tel: 0242-715 21 00
Antalya City Center
Dedeman Otel
Tel: 0242-32179 10 Talya Otel
Tel: 0242-248 68 00 Sheraton Voyager
Tel: 0242-238 55 55