A great day trip from Antalya is to the Manavgat Waterfall and the ancient city of Lyrbe. The drive from Antalya (city center) to Manavgat Waterfall is about 1 hr. 30 minutes by car. Instead of taking the fastest route, we decided to take the scenic route through small villages along the coast.
Manavgat Waterfall is located on the Manavgat River, two miles north of the city. Parking is free, but the entry fee is 9TL per adult. Inside the park, you’ll find several souvenirs stands, cafes, and restaurants where one could enjoy a cup of tea and relax to the sounds of the waterfall.
This white cascade of foaming water flows powerfully over the rocks coming from the slopes of Mount Seytan, which is the eastern part of the Taurus Mountains. People can enjoy an afternoon swim or jump off the cliff rocks into the fast-moving cold freshwater. Many visitors take their shoes off and walk in the shallow waters atop the fall.
Nearby are shady green garden spaces so that you can have a pleasant resting spot or a picnic. At the riverside café, you can enjoy freshly grilled fish. The waterfall is great to visit at night since it is well-lit. No matter where you find yourself at Manavgat Waterfall, under the trees, swimming in the fresh, clear water, or gazing up at the moonlight, you will be creating unforgettable memories!
ANCIENT CITY OF LYRBE
After spending a couple of hours at Manavgat Waterfall, it was time to head north, about 20 minutes, to the ancient city of Lyrbe (also known as Seleukeia). The drive to Lyrbe will seem questionable as you will travel up a narrow, curvy dirt road through tiny villages. A couple of kilometers before you reach Lyrbe, the GPS will not work because the road is genuinely unknown (no name). However, follow the signs posted on the road to this mysterious ancient city and continue onto the top of the hill until you come to a dead-end. Here, you may see other visitors or cars parked under the tall pine trees. No entrance gate to pay, as these ruins are sitting out in an open field.
Believed to have been founded in the Hellenistic Age (3rd century BC), the site was undiscovered until the early 1970s. The oldest findings in Lyrbe belong to the Classical Age. Little is known about this city and is currently being studied by archeologists. It is believed that the remains were from a town called Seleucia, but in the 1980s, a German scholar suggested that they are from a different city called Lyrbe.
The most magnificent building is the agora, considered the best-preserved structure of this kind in Pamphylia. The agora was the political and commercial center for the city once surrounded by colonnaded galleries. Many of the agora floors were adorned with mosaic tiles and are now at the Archaeological Museum of Antalya. On the north-western side of the agora, you will find traces of the early Byzantine chapel.
You will also find remnants of ramparts, baths, temples, cisterns, and tombs throughout these ruins.
The word ‘Lyrbe’ is frequently derived from the Luwian language, which had been used by the indigenous people of Asia Minor before the Greeks’ arrival to the area. Based on many versions of history, this area is still under research to determine its origin.
While visiting the ruins, we encountered other visitors taking wedding pictures. With so many great backgrounds for photos, I understand why it would be worth the drive to take photographs for such a special event.
Walking through Lyrbe was like traveling back in time to a mysterious city. You will walk away from here with questions. So much is still unknown about the people that once embarked on their journey to settle here and make it their home. I always feel amazed at how our ancestors, with limited tools, had the strength and the engineering abilities to build such magnificent structures. It is genuinely a fascinating site to visit.