Perge, located 18 kilometers (11 miles) from Antalya, was an important city in Pamphylia (today's Mediterranean region). Kestros (Aksu) river, which runs near the acropolis, made Perge like a port because it was possible to navigate from the sea to the city. Thus, an important trade route starting from Side run through the nearby city of Aspendos and then Perge.
It was settled by the Hittites around 1500 BC, then Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC. After 2nd century BC Romans ruled Perge, during which the city was developed especially under the reign of Hadrian. Perge is also famous by the fact that when Saint Paul started his journeys, he visited Perge in 46 AD and preached his first sermon here. That's why it became an important city for the Christians during the Byzantine period. Perge was probabily abandoned in the 7th century AD due to Arab invasions in Asia Minor.
To understand the importance of the city it is necessary to visit its remains. When you approach to the city first you see the ruins of the ancient theater; its stage has marble relieves depicting the life of Dionysos. Then you can view the stadium, which has a "U" shape with the capacity of 12,000 people. After the parking area, there are the remains of the first church built in Perge and a square agora (market place) which has dimensions of 76 x 76 meters and surrounded by Corinthian style column capitals, where in the middle of it there is a round temple of Tyche (2nd century AD). Then you can see a basilica, another structure from Christian Era with three entrances. Afterwards there is a wide main street with shops on both sides, a good example of a Roman Bath and Gymnasium in the southern part of the city, and monumental Hellenistic gates which later were converted into a court of honor by Plancia Magna.
Perge produced many famous personalities during its heydays. Among them we can mention the philosopher Varius, the physician Asklepiades, the famous mathematician Apollonius, and female Roman ruler of the city: Plancia Magna.