We spent a few hours discovering the lost ruins of Aphrodisias (🎫 70 TRY). This remote site in the Anatolian hinterland trumps many of Turkey’s ancient sites for its sheer scale and lushness. It was an ancient city situated on a plateau south of the Maeander River. Sulla and Julius Caesar favored the city, and the emperor Augustus granted it the high privileges of autonomy and tax-free status, declaring it “the one city from all of Asia that I have selected to be my own.” In the Roman Empire, the city was famed for its sculptors and sculptures; rich quarries of excellent white and blue-gray marble lay about a mile east of the site. It also flourished owing to its site amid rich and well-watered agricultural land. Highlights include the marble reliefs in the museum’s Sevgi Gönül Salonu, the Temple of Aphrodite, the white marble theatre, and the stunning, overgrown, 270m-long stadium with its 30000 seats.

Parking location – Aphrodisias: 37.709859N 28.728980E (🚻)