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Christianity started to spread in the region after 2nd century. Antalya was visited by Paul of Tarsus, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles: “From Perga, Paul and Barnabas went down to Attalia and sailed from there to Antioch after preaching in Pisidia and Pamphylia” (Acts 14:25-26). Antalya was a major city in the Byzantine Empire. It was the capital of the Byzantine Theme of the Cibyrrhaeots, which occupied the southern coasts of Anatolia. At the time of the accession of John II Comnenus in 1118 it was an isolated outpost surrounded by Turkish beyliks, accessible only by sea.
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Attalos II, king of Pergamon, is believed to have founded the city around 150 BC, during the Hellenistic period, naming it Attalia and selecting it as a naval base for his powerful fleet.
A full day tour of the surroundings of Antalya, including a visit to the ancient Roman city of Perge: where the substantial remains of a great theatre, stadium, huge Hellenistic and Roman gates and a colonnaded street are impressive. Visit Aspendos, which is the best-preserved amphitheater in Turkey. What you see here remains from Roman times, though the true history of the settlement goes back to the Hittite Empire (800BC). Continue to Side; visit The Theater, the Agora and the Apollo Temple, which are situated near the sea, the fountain and the necropolis. (L)