Selinus is an ancient city located in the district of Antalya Province on the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey, 180 km east of the city of Antalya. The history of Selinus goes back to the 6th century BC. Assyrian sources tell us that the city was originally called “Sallune” and was connected by a maritime trade route with the island of Cyprus. Selinus is best known for being the place of death of the Roman Emperor Trajan.
Coordinates: 36°15’40.3″N 32°17’04.2″E
The ancient city of Selinus was established on the River Kestros (today called Hacımusa) in 628 BC, probably by Phoenicians and was then incorporated into the kingdom of Cilicia. The city stood on the slopes and at the foot of a steep hill with a perpendicular cliff on the seaward side and was surrounded by massive fortifications. In 197 BC the area passed into the hands of the Romans.
The remains visible today date to the Roman and medieval periods. The most interesting and best-preserved monument in Selinus is a large rectangular building locally know as Şekerhane Köşkü. It is located in a flat area at the foot of the hill, between the agora, bath house and odeon on its western side and the necropolis to the east. The monument has long been thought to have been built as a cenotaph for the Roman emperor Trajan.
The death of Trajan at Selinus on 8th August 117 AD later prompted the temporary renaming of the city as Trajanopolis. It also received the status of ius Italicum, transforming the provincial solum (land) into Italian solum, a rare privilege for a non-Italian community. A tetrastyle temple inscribed with the name TΡAIANO appeared thereafter on the city’s coins during the late 2nd and 3rd centuries.
Near Trajan’s cenotaph are the remains of an odeon dating back to the Hellenistic era as well as baths from the Roman period. An aqueduct crosses the marsh near the mouth of the neighboring stream.
At its height, Selinus occupied an area of over 40 hectares and was the largest city in western Rough Cilicia. Selinus later became part of the Byzantine Empire alongside the rest of Cilicia. In the 12th century the Byzantines were succeeded by Armenian refugees who fled the Seljuk Turks invasion of Armenia and founded the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. At the end of the 13th century the city was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire.
Archaeological research Selinus has been conducted by a team from Florida State University. The founds are exhibited in the Alanya Archaeological Museum.