Alabanda Archaeological Site and the Legend of Kızlarhisarı

12/26/23

6 Minute

Alabanda Archaeological Site and the Legend of Kızlarhisarı

 

The Alabanda Archaeological Site in the Çine district of Aydın is dated back to 4000 years ago, although the earliest known historical records date back to the Hellenistic period. The settlement, which was initially recognized as an independent city by the Roman Empire when Anatolia fell under its rule, later became an episcopal center within the metropolis of Aphrodisias during the rule of the Byzantine Empire in the 4th century AD. The city, which the famous historian Strabon described as a rich and pleasure-seeking population, saw its first excavations at the beginning of the 20th century.

 

Alabanda Archaeological Site

 

Alabanda, one of the most fascinating ancient cities of the Aegean, is home to the remains of an ancient theater, a senate building, a bathhouse, the city wall, the Temple of Apollo and the ruins of a Doric temple. It is believed that the name of the city derives from the combination of the words "Ala" (horse) and "Banda" (race) in the Carian language. Legend has it that the city was named after Alabandos, the son of King Kar, who won a horse race. However, there is another touching story known among the locals as the "Kızlarhisarı" legend.

 

The Legend of Kızlarhisarı

 

According to legend, one of the kings of Alabanda had a remarkably beautiful daughter. The princess's beauty was so breathtaking that onlookers could not take their eyes off her, and most of the young men in the city fell hopelessly in love with her. Two of these admirers, who were also the most skillful artists in the city, had the courage to propose to the princess and conveyed their wish to the king. However, the king had a plan to choose the suitor for his beautiful daughter. He ordered the two talented artists to start work at the same time. One of them was to be responsible for the construction of the senate building, the other for the construction of a building that would meet the city's water needs. The one who completed his task first would win the hand of the princess.

 

Driven by their love, the two artists set about their tasks full of enthusiasm, ready to overcome all difficulties. However, at some point, the artist who built the Senate building noticed that the other artist was making rapid progress with the waterworks. The artist working on the Senate building came to the conclusion that there was no longer any hope for him to marry the princess. His love turned to jealousy and he resorted to a cunning plan to defeat his rival. He arranged for messengers to be sent to the other artist with a large bribe. These messengers told the artist, who was working on the waterworks, a lie: the construction of the senate building had already been completed, the decision for his rival to marry the princess had been made and even the wedding preparations had begun.

 

Love Becomes a Passion

 

The artist who was building the waterworks was deeply shocked and disappointed. In his state of shock, he looked around and, without thinking, took a sledgehammer from the building site and threw it into the air. He then stood under the falling sledgehammer and took his own life. In another version of the legend, the artist committed suicide by jumping off the building he had erected in Incekemer. The legend shows how love turned into a heinous act and the artist, who remained unchallenged, ended up marrying the beautiful princess. The locals give the name "Kızlarhisarı" to the senate building to which this legend refers.

 

Alabanda Archaeological Site, the source of this touching story that has been passed down from generation to generation, is one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Türkiye. During your visit, you can explore the Senate Building, which is mentioned in the legend, and the Incekemer, a waterworks.

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