BURDUR, Turkey

The ancient city of Kibyra, also known as the “city of gladiators,” in southwestern Turkey is set to become a new tourist hotspot.

The 2,300-year-old city is located among juniper and cedar forests in the Golhisar district of Burdur province at an altitude of 1,350 meters (4,429 feet).

The town, where excavations began in 2006, fascinates visitors with its monumental buildings.

It is admired by many for its magnificent 10,400-person-capacity stadium built with Roman and Byzantine architectural tradition, its odeon (music house) covered with the Medusa mosaic, the Late Roman bath, agoras, main street, theatre with a capacity of 9,000, and underground chamber tombs.

The ancient city is on the UNESCO World Heritage Temporary List since 2016. As Turkey is returning to normalcy amid the coronavirus outbreak, it is now ready to welcome visitors while maintaining measures of hygiene and social distancing.

Sukru Ozudogru, the president of the excavation committee for the ancient city, said Kibyra remained closed for a while due to the virus.

Ozudogru, who is also a professor of archeology at Burdur’s Mehmet Akif Ersoy University, said the area has been disinfected, and information signs have been placed across the city.

“I recommend everyone to visit Kibyra ancient city, which takes its guests on a historical journey with its untouched natural environment and magnificent monumental buildings,” he told Anadolu Agency.

Kibyra, he said, was a city famous for its gladiators during the Roman Empire, and lasted for a thousand years.

Ozudogru said that the magnificent stadium, which welcomes visitors to the ancient city, was the scene of gladiator fights according to archaeological sources.

Pointing out that the stadium is 215 meters long and 52 meters wide, he said: “The stadium, which hosted gladiators with its 10,400-person-capacity, is among one of the five monumental stadiums in Turkey.”

He added: “With the completion of the project initiated by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, the stadium will host international activities.”

* Writing by Handan Kazanci in Istanbul

Copyright 2020 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.