Olba, later Diocaesarea, is an ancient Seleucid city in Rough Cilicia on Turkey’s rugged Eastern Mediterranean coastline. In the Hellenistic period, the city was the centre of worship of Zeus Olbios, whose sanctuary was located about 4 km to the west. Erected during the reign of the Seleucids, the temple, Corinthian in style, is the oldest peripteral temple (6×12 columns) in Asia Minor. Other monuments from the Hellenistic period include a 22m-high tower and a mausoleum. The Roman city of Diocaesarea later developed in the 1st century AD around the temple devoted to Zeus Olbios. Its ruins today lie partly within the grounds of the village of Uzuncaburç (Turkish for high tower and referring to the Hellenistic tower) and its immediate surroundings.
The most important Roman buildings on the site date from the 1st to the 3rd century AD and include a theatre, a nymphaeum, an aqueduct, and many tombs dug in the rock. The city is entered through a monumental gate, of which five columns have survived. Then a colonnaded street runs alongside the temple of Zeus Olbios and leads to the temple of Tyche. To the northwest, a three-arched Roman gate leads out of town.
Coordinates: 36°35’12.1″N 33°58’06.7″E
Source: Silifke (Seleucia on Calycadnus ) and Environs: Lost Cities of a Distant Past in Cilicia by Celal Taşkıran (Sim Matbaasi, 1993)
Elaiussa Sebaste was an ancient coastal city off the eastern coast of Cilicia, now a peninsula located 55 km west of Mersin on the southern coast of Anatolia. The Greeks founded the settlement in the early 1st century BC which became one of the most important centres of Eastern Rough Cilicia. Archelaus I of Cappadocia (r. 36 BC-AD 17) made the city his capital and changed its name to “Sebaste” in honour of his benefactor, Emperor Augustus. The city lived its heydays after the Cilician shores were cleaned from the pirates in AD 74 and became part of the Roman province of Cilicia. During the Byzantine period, Sebaste became a Christian city, and many churches were built. When its neighbour Corycus began to flourish in the 6th century AD, the city slowly sank into obscurity and seems not to have recovered from the period of Arab invasions. The area has been more or less deserted since.
Some interesting remains still exist on the peninsula, consisting of a small theatre from the 2nd century AD, an agora, a large Byzantine church, a Roman bath complex, and a temple on a hill overlooking the sea outside of the city.