Places to Visit in Burdur

Things to Know About Burdur

Burdur, situated in the southwest of Turkey, is a vital hub connecting the rural areas to the Mediterranean coast through the main roads. Despite rapid industrialization over recent decades, Burdur has preserved its traditional culture and folk arts, making it a gem of southwestern Anatolia.

The city is abundant in natural and cultural attractions, including scenic lakes, parks, plateaus, and caves. Its historical heritage is evident in the ancient cities, mounds, and mansions scattered throughout the region.

Burdur’s history dates back to the Palaeolithic era, and it is located in the ancient Pisidia region, which includes Isparta and Antalya. Sagalassos Ancient City and Kibyra Ancient City, one of the most important ancient cities of the region, are two must-see places while visiting Burdur. Kibyra Ancient City is included in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Insuyu Cave, the second largest cave in the world, is only 12 kilometers away from Burdur. The cave is home to millions of stalactites and stalagmites and nine pools, stretching for 2,150 meters in length (with 597 meters open to visitors). Additionally, the cave’s healing properties for diabetes have made it a popular destination for diabetics.

Burdur province has something for everyone, especially nature lovers and beach enthusiasts. Centik Beach, located 8 kilometers from the city, offers breathtaking natural beauty and is situated in Lake Burdur. For a serene beach experience surrounded by forests, check out Salda Lake, which is an underrated camping spot. Golhisar Lake is a great spot for fishing, with its vast size and stunning scenery.

For history buffs, the province of Burdur boasts many fascinating sites. Sagalassos is a must-visit location with its ancient Roman ruins, including a large theater that can seat up to 9,000 people. You can also explore the medieval structures, such as fountains and tombs. In Hacilar district, you can find many historic statues dating back to the Neolithic era ruins. Other attractions in the province include Kibyra in Golhisar, Cremna in Camlik Bucak, and Kumcay and Incirhan, all worth checking out!

Places to Visit in Burdur

Sagalassos Ancient City

Sagalassos, located in the Burdur province of southwest Turkey, is widely regarded as one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the country. Situated over 100 kilometers north of the coastal city of Antalya, the city was once the most important urban center of ancient Pisidia, an area encompassing the Taurus Mountains to the south, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Anatolian plateau to the north.

Sagalassos is situated on south-facing slopes, ranging between 1,450 and 1,600 meters above sea level. As the city grew, it gradually incorporated the surrounding valleys into its municipality. The city has a rich history, having been conquered by Alexander the Great in 333 BC during his campaign to Persia. Sagalassos prospered after it joined the Roman Empire in 25 BC, becoming an important hub for trade and commerce. The city was linked to the Anatolian road network and was connected to the coastal cities of Lycia, including those of Ionia.

In ancient times, Sagalassos was known for exporting pottery and agricultural products. Following Alexander’s death, the region was governed by Antigonus Monophthalmus, Lysimachus of Thrace, or the Seleucids of Syria. Despite its long history and many challenges, Sagalassos remains a remarkable example of ancient urban planning and architecture.

The architecture of Sagalassos bears the influence of Hellenization and Roman rule, which lasted for centuries. Construction in the city ceased from 235 CE until the 4th century CE, but a series of administrative developments led to changes in customs and the resumption of building in 368 CE. During this period, the locals had less involvement in the city’s management, and religious shifts caused changes in the architectural style of the later years.

Despite Sagalassos’s resilience, three major events in the sixth and seventh centuries contributed to its gradual decline. Each century began with an earthquake, and in 541-542 CE, a plague epidemic ravaged the city. Despite these devastating events, the residents remained in Sagalassos, subsisting mainly on agriculture. However, by the 13th century, the city’s inhabitants had vanished. A neighboring town, Ağlasun, emerged in the area, and just as the people who had abandoned Alexander’s Hill before them, Seljuk Turks arrived and conquered the remaining settlement by 1200 CE.

Sagalassos, located in Ağlasun, has experienced numerous periods of prosperity and decline throughout its history. In the 13th century, a caravanserai and hamam were built near the town square, which became a bustling commercial hub in the 16th century, hosting a market of regional significance.

Since 1990, archaeologists from the University of Leuven in Belgium have been excavating the 450-hectare site of the ancient city. The excavations have yielded remarkable discoveries, including a massive Roman bath complex, a library, an urban mansion with over 80 rooms, and a theater with a seating capacity of up to 9,000 people.

One of the most remarkable finds in Sagalassos is the Fountain of Antonine. Constructed between 161-180 AD during the prosperous reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the fountain has been continuously flowing with water since its excavation from 1993-1995. Restoration work on the fountain began in 1998 and was completed in 2000.

Kibyra Ancient City

Kibyra, situated in the Gölhisar district of Burdur, is known as the “City of Gladiators” and was once a significant center of Lydian and Roman civilization. Nestled amidst juniper and cedar forests at an altitude of 1,100-1,300 meters, this 2,300-year-old city is perched atop a hill that offers panoramic views of its surroundings.

According to records from Strabo, an Amasian traveler, the original inhabitants of Kibyra were Lydians who migrated to the Kabalis region. They eventually settled in a city with a circumference of 100 stadiums. In 2006, archaeological excavations revealed the city’s militaristic character, with over 30,000 infantry and more than 2,000 cavalry units. Kibyra is also home to the largest gladiator reliefs from ancient times in Turkey. Thanks to its strategic location, Kibyra served as a regional center for justice, and its reputation as a town known for breeding fast-running horses earned it the nickname “The City of Fast-Running Horses.” The city flourished during the Roman period, and all the architectural remnants visible today belong to that era.

Kaesarea Kibyra, originally known as Kibyra, was struck by a major earthquake in 23 CE, and as a result, Emperor Tiberius provided amnesty and financial aid for a period of five years. As a gesture of gratitude, the inhabitants of Kibyra changed the name of their city to Kaesarea Kibyra.

Kaesarea Kibyra features rare examples of Roman and Byzantine architecture, including a 9,000-seat stadium and a functional odeon, which houses an orchestra section covered by a unique Medusa mosaic. In 2016, the site was included in the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list, and it boasts historic remnants such as agoras, a main street, a large theater with a capacity of 9,000 people, and underground chamber tombs.

One of the most magnificent structures in Kibyra is the stadium, which is considered one of the top five stadiums of its kind with a 200-meter track and a seating capacity of 12,000 people. Originally intended for sporting events, the arena was later modified to host gladiator battles.

Another notable structure in Kaesarea Kibyra is the ancient theater, which can accommodate 7-8,000 spectators. Its vertical design and proximity to the stage make it a remarkable example of ancient theater design. The original seating arrangement remains fully intact and can be viewed today.

In the ancient city of Kibyra, there is a remarkable structure known as the Odeon. It was used as a concert hall for musical and theatrical performances and could hold up to 3,500 spectators, making it the largest known odeon in the world.

One of the unique features of the Kibyra Odeon is the Mosaic of Medusa. The mosaic, made of marble and dating back to the 1st century, depicts the mythical creature Medusa. The middle of the odeon has been decorated with Medusa’s multi-colored head using a technique called “Opus Sectile”. It is believed that staring at the Medusa’s head could turn anyone to stone.

Another important building in Kibyra is the bath, which is thought to have a history of at least 1800 years. It is the third-largest building in the city after the stadium and odeon, with a total area of 5,400 square meters and a main structure covering 2,600 square meters. The heating system was designed to heat the marbles from the bottom, making it the largest Anatolian bath in terms of area covered.

Kremna Ancient City

The ancient city of Kremna is situated atop a hill overlooking the Kestros (Aksu) valley in Burdur Province, within the borders of Çamlık Town.

Kremna, which translates to “cliffs” in Ancient Greek, owes its name to the peculiar rocky terrain over 1200 meters high. While historical records of the settlement are scarce, it has been inhabited for centuries.

According to the Roman geographer Strabo, the city was once conquered by Amyntas, the king of Galatia. Following his death, the Romans took control of the city and Emperor Augustus sought to establish peace in the new province by settling veteran colonies in Kremna and other locations.

Kremna thrived in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, during which time numerous public buildings were constructed, including a basilica, two theaters, and a public bathhouse that was later converted into a library and gallery. To supply these facilities with water, an aqueduct was built, along with some impressive mechanical devices.

Unfortunately, nothing from the pre-Roman settlement of Kremna has been preserved, with only ruins from the Middle Imperial period and Late Antiquity remaining.

In 278 AD, the region surrounding Kremna was plagued by bandits, making it unsafe for inhabitants. The Roman troops eventually drove the bandits out, and they sought refuge in Kremna. However, the Romans besieged and defeated the bandits, leading to the city’s decline and inability to recover from the damages inflicted during the siege.

During a research expedition, British archaeologists uncovered evidence of the siege, such as two siege walls, numerous projectiles, and a bulwark of defenders. The remains of the forum, basilica, exedra, library, theater, and columned street can still be seen in Kremna.

In 1971-1973, archaeologists conducted an excavation in Kremna, which led to the discovery of nine goddess statues, including Great and Little Athena, Leto, Hygia, Nemesis, and a dressed woman. These statues were later moved to the Burdur Archeology Museum.

Today, Kremna is a haven for nature enthusiasts and researchers seeking refuge in its magnificent atmosphere. Although it is now overgrown with dense vegetation, it still stands as a testament to the region’s rich history.

Salda Lake

Situated just 64 km from the city center of Burdur and only 4 km from the Yesilova district, Lake Salda is a breathtaking natural wonder. With an elevation of 1193m above sea level and a surface area of 47km2, this tectonic freshwater lake is one of the deepest and cleanest lakes in the world. The lake’s rocky terrain and hills give it a unique character, and its white beach, similar to that of Mars, is a remarkable sight.

Surrounded by forests and natural beaches that encircle most of its perimeter, Lake Salda is home to a variety of water birds and boasts beautiful green, white, and turquoise colors that blend harmoniously. The lake offers an excellent opportunity for relaxation, with various facilities available for tourists.

Visitors to Lake Salda can engage in a range of activities such as sailing, swimming, diving, bird watching, camping, and caravanning. Regardless of which activity you choose, the lake’s crystal-clear waters will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on your memory.

Located in the Lakes Region of Turkey, Salda Lake is a crater lake with a stunning landscape and unparalleled natural beauty, earning it the nickname “The Maldives of Turkey.” It’s a destination not to be missed!

Insuyu Cave

Located 13 kilometers from Burdur to Antalya, Insuyu Cave is a horizontal cave that stretches for a total length of 597 meters. The cave sits about 1200 meters above sea level and is situated on the northeast side of the Western Taurus mountains. It is comprised of limestone geology and is believed to have been formed thousands of years ago due to the accumulation of limestone deposits.

The cave is home to 9 lakes, both large and small, which are found within the caverns that open in various directions, and have a constant stream of cool, fresh air flowing through them. The melting of limestone and the erosion inside the cave over time led to the creation of stalactites and stalagmites.

The water inside the cave is believed to have curative properties for diabetes and stomach diseases, particularly when mixed with medicinal herbs. Insuyu Cave offers visitors an opportunity to explore and marvel at the natural beauty of this underground wonder.

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