We have heard of the ancient city of Trebenna several times, but so far without any concrete information about the historical background or even the exact location of the city near Antalya.
It was only after a conversation with Prof. Sahin Sencer from Akdeniz University that we were able to determine the location near the Josito mountain climbing park more precisely. So, following his instructions, we leave Antalya in the direction of Kemer on Ataturk Boulevard to the intersection with Bogacay Caddesi, which we follow by turning right. For orientation: the Haci Malike Mehmet Bileydi Cami is on the right. We follow the course of the road until a lake appears on the left. A little further the road forks, we turn half left into Cumhuriet Caddesi, which merges into Inönü Caddesi to the intersection with Girne Caddesi, turning left. Now it goes quickly to Akdamlar, where there are a few switchbacks to master shortly afterwards, further to Çağlarca, where we park the car. If you have a GPS, here are the coordinates: 36 ° 52 'N, 30 ° 29' E.
Let's go to Trebenna high above Alanya
From the city limits of Antalya it is almost exactly 22 kilometers through ancient Lycia to Çağlarca. Trebenna was at the time almost exactly on the border with Pamphylia, whether a special meaning can be derived from it has not yet been adequately researched. In general, there are hardly any references to Trebenna in the historical records, only a few coin finds from the time of Gordian III and inscriptions in the other cities of the Lycian League indicate the existence of Trebenna. When exactly and by whom the city was originally founded is also completely unknown.
Stadiasmus patarensis from Patara
With the discovery of the Stadiasmus Patarensis, the monumental stone from Patara, on which a multitude of distances and locations between the Lycian cities of the 1st century are engraved, the name Trebenna came across as one of the cities in the Roman province of Lycia. This engraving in the stadiasmus patarensis is the oldest evidence of the existence of Trebenna. At the beginning of the 2nd century there was a true cult in Trebenna in favor of the conqueror Hadrian, who visited the region around Antalya and Phaselis in the years 130-131 and in whose honor the city gate in Antalya, the Hadrian's Gate, was built, how one can read in inscriptions found on site in Trebenna. The city probably reached its heyday in the 3rd century when Trebenna was given the right to mint coins of its own. At that time, Trebenna was also used extensively by former Roman soldiers as a retirement home.
Trebenna - a member of the Lycian League
During the Hellenistic era, Trebenna was also a member of the Lycian League, as can be seen from inscriptions in the ruins of the other members of the League. It is also known that Trebenna was considered a Roman titular colony during the late imperial period and was even a bishopric in the 5th century. During the late antiquity, Trebenna belonged to Pamphylia.
We climb the hill on which the ruins of the city lie. Remains of a formerly comprehensive city wall from early Byzantine times greet us on the way to the hilltop. As was customary at the time, countless spoils from former buildings, remains of columns, capitals and even parts of sarcophagi from Trebenna were incorporated into the defensive wall, as can be seen from the innumerable inscriptions on the spoils. In addition to the ruins of Roman baths, we also come across the ruins of an early Byzantine basilica. Continuing uphill, almost above the city ruins, we come across an acropolis, which was probably built as a fortification in the Middle Byzantine period. Another Byzantine one-room church is in the immediate vicinity.
Good footwear is a prerequisite
It's really exciting to climb here between the ruins and imagine how people lived and worked here. What an effort it had taken to build such a city, to provide it with water and food. The ups and downs of the story become almost tangible if you let your thoughts run free.
On the way back we stop at Josito Park and watch some of the brave climbers while we prefer to be satisfied with a tea with a view of the beautiful mountain panorama.
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