Phaselis is an ancient Lycian city located between the Bey mountains and the forests of the Olympos National Park, 16 km west of Kemer. Phaselis and other ancient towns around the shore can also be accessed from the sea by daily yacht tours.
The town was set up by the Rhodians in 700 BC. Because of it’s location on an isthmus separating two harbours, It’s harbour was an important centre of commerce between Greece, Asia, Egypt, and Phoenicia. The city was captured by Persians after they conquered Asia minor, and later captured by Alexander the Great.
After the death of Alexander, the city remained in Egyptian hands from 209 B.C. to 197 B.C., under the dynasty of Ptolomaios, and with the Apamea treaty was handed over to the Kingdom of Rhodes. From 190 B.C. to 160 B.C. it remained under Rhodeian hegemony, but after 160 B.C. it was absorbed into the Lycian confederacy under Roman rule. Phaselis, like Olympus, was under constant threat of pirates in the 1st century B.C., and the city was taken over by the pirate Zekenites until his defeat by the Romans.. In 42 B.C. Brutus had the city linked to Rome.
During the Byzantine period, the city became a bishopric, although in the 3rd century A.D. its convenient harbor had fallen under the threat of pirates once again. It began to lose importance, suffering further losses at the hands of Arab ships, until totally impoverished in the 11th century A.D. There was a temple of Athena at Phaselis, where the lance of Achilles was exhibited. It was the birthplace of the poet and orator Theodectes. It was also renowned for its roses, whose scent is still used in perfumes and Turkish Delight today. When the Selcuks began to concentrate on Alanya and Antalya as ports, Phaselis lost its importance.
Phaselis has 3 harbors. The "Northern Harbor", the "Battle Harbor" and the "Protected(Sun) Harbor". The most important of these today is the "Protected(Sun) Harbor". In the middle of the city, there is a 24 meter wide ancient street. In the southern part of the street there is the "Hadrian Water Way Door".
There are ruins of shops on the sides of the street, and nearby are ruins of public places like Roman Baths, Agoras and Theatres. These structures date to 2nd century BC. There are water canals between the town center and the 70m. plateau. There are also numerous sarcophagi.
The colonnaded street combines the northern and southern port and was a busy place in the city. In the middle of the street was the Agora. The theatre, with a sitting capacity of 3.000 people, was also used as an arena in the late roman era. The ancient city has two necropolises with remains of sarcophagi. Many pieces unearthed as a result of the excavations in the city can be seen in the Antalya Museum. Since 2003 the ancient theater of Phaselis is in use every September for the Art-Days of Phaselis.