The ancient city of Perge near Antalya,Turkey is one of the largest and most popular historical sites in the Antalya region. It’s only a short 18 km from the Antalya city center, making it an easy stop for your family to learn about the history of the region before going on to visit other are places. Perge is a fun stop for the kids (& kids at heart) to enjoy exploring, using their imagination, and learning something about Anatolia. Definitely a site you do not want to miss when you plan your trip to Turkey.
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Know Before You Go
60 TL or Museum Pass
Kids Under 6 Free
8:00am - 5:00pm
BEST TIME TO GO
April - October
18km from the Antalya
Center Aksu, Turkey
TIME NEEDED TO VISIT
Perge Fast Facts
Explore Perge with Kids
We started our tour of Perge mid-morning, wishing we had gotten there earlier in the day with the kids. At the entrance there is a model of the city which gives you a great visual of what the city looked like. The kids enjoyed looking at it before we went into the ruins. It gave all of us perspective of what we were looking at.
Visiting Perge, Turkey with kids is different than going as a couple or solo. Kids’ attention spans are short, so asking questions and using your imaginations make the site come to life. We have a few tips for making sure everyone has a great time exploring:
Get curious with your kids and ask questions to get their imaginations going:
- What you think it was like?
- How did people dress?
- What kind of animals do you think you would see?
- What were the baths like?
- What did they sell in the shops? (Our kids were CERTAIN that chicken nuggets were a being sold in the shops) 🙂
- Play a game of I SPY
Our kids wanted to climb! While this is fun, you can’t climb on the ruins. We must protect them for future generations. There is a hill that you can hike up to that overlooks the site. You can find it on the opposite side of the entrance – down the colonnaded street. Let the kids have fun exploring the area!
Wear Good Walking Shoes
The walkways are uneven. You’ll find mosaics, marble, and dirt paths throughout the Perge. Wear good shoes and get ready to walk a lot!
Drink Lots of Water
Be sure sure to bring water & snacks in with you. If your kids are anything like mine, the second you step foot in the city to explore, they’ll decide they’re hungry. You’ll be doing a lot of walking and climbing. If you need to purchase water or snacks, you will need to walk out of the site to buy them at one of the markets on site. Get more tips on Turkish food for kids!
Sunny Days Are the Norm
Also, the sun is bright – even in the middle of winter on a sunny day. Bring sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen for the kids. Whatever they will tolerate will make the day go smoother, and you’ll have a blast.
There are restrooms available once you pay and get into the site. You’ll find them through the first entrance after you buy your ticket and then the second set of restrooms right before you get to the first city gate.
Next, we can look at a brief history of Perge to get a glimpse of what makes the ancient city so important.
Brief History of the Ancient City of Perge
Perge or Perga is an ancient Greek city in Turkey, in Antalya near the Mediterranean coast. The city was established at the top of a hill between 2 rivers, the Catarrhactes and Celastrus. The earliest settlers were in this area around 2000 B.C. The city was ruled by Persians, Athenians, and then the Persians again.
Alexander the Great conquered Perge in 333 B.C. after leaving the city of Phasaelis on the west side of the city of Antalya. At the same time, Alexander conquered the nearby cities of Aspendos and Side. At Alexander’s death, the rule of Perge passed to Seleucids, then on to the Romans. Perge’s population declined as the Cestrus river dried up.
In brief, the ancient city of Perge has seen many cultures and rules in its history. The highlights of the city are its layout, defense, marble and statues. Therefore, let’s move on to learn about the top sights to see in this magnificent city.
Top Things to See
The historical city of Perge is quite a sight to see with many ruins – you could spend a whole morning or afternoon here depending on your interest in the history of the region. The cities ruins include a theater, the Temple of Artemis, and two churches. You can find many artifacts from the city in the Antalya Museum, including statues and coins.
Next, we’ll share more details the sites to see in Perge:
Perge is covered in beautiful mosaics – from the streets to the walls to the ceilings. The most recent being discovered in 2003 and 2017.
2. Ancient Theater
The theater was built in 1000 B.C. in the Greek-Roman style with a gallery and sat around 14,000 people.
3. The Stadium
The stadium is the second largest structure in Perge. It sat around 12,000 people.
4. The Roman City Gate
The ancient city of Perge had city gates on the west, east, and south. The Roman gate is the southern gate and dates to the 3rd century. Later as Perge grew, it became the 2nd entrance to the city.
5. Thermal Baths
The kids enjoyed this area of the historical city. It’s an area that is bigger with a colonnaded courtyard. You’ll find mosaics under the dirt on the ground.
6. The Hellenistic Gate
The Hellenistic Gate is well preserved. In the original courtyard are niches in the wall, that once held statues of the city founders. During the Roman period, 28 more niches were placed over the 1st row. When the gate was excavated, statues of Apollo, Aphrodite, Calchas, Mopsos, and others were discovered. Currently, you can see the statues in the Antalya Museum.
7. The Agora
The Agora is the political and economic center of the city. It is similar to a town square, with shops around the perimeter. The pathways have beautiful geometrical mosaic motifs.
How to Get There
We recommend renting a car and drive yourself out to the site. You’ll have more flexibility to explore the and head to another site aftwards. If you put Perge into your GPS, you can drive there without issue. Another option, is hire a driver with a local tour company to take you out to Perge, then on to nearby Kursunlu Waterfall, Aspendos and Side. Your hotel can help you book a driver or small group tour.
Ancient Cities Nearby
After visiting Perge, we suggest driving down the road to visit the ancient city of Aspendos about 30km down the road to make a day of exploring ancient cities. Aspendos has a magnificent theater with stairs for the kids to climb and an area behind the theater to hike and explore.
We suggest going to the historical Side if you have young children that need a stroller or wheelchair accessibility. Side is about 60km from Perge (73km from Antalya) and a more touristy area. You can see the city ruins and then head down into the city center for lunch or dinner by the water.
Ultimately, the historical city of Perge is a great site to add to your Turkey itinerary and explore with your family. We enjoyed getting outside, hiking, and learn some history of the area. Because it is so close to Antalya, Perge makes for an easy stopover before exploring other places with the kids. We highly recommend seeing Perge.
Leave a comment below with your favorite Perge travel tip!