Sagalassos Structures

The Upper Agora was about 70 m long and 48 m wide. It was the main square of Sagalassos. Originally, in Hellenistic times, the square was dotted with small honorific monuments, but had not yet been paved. Its northern side was screened by a terrace wall and a so-called Market Building, where the urban agricultural supplies were kept. From Augustan times onwards, the Upper Agora further reflected urban grandeur. In each corner, honorific columns of about 14 m height originally carried bronze statues of local nobility. The square was paved and many more honorific monuments were gradually added, glorifying the history of its urban community. During the reign of Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180), a richly decorated Nymphaeum replaced the simple early imperial fountain along the north side of the square. The coloured marble columns and back wall of the building, its series of statues in the aediculae, its rich architectural decoration and its waterfall from the central niche were meant to impress then, as still the case today.
The town of Sagalassos originated at least by the sixth or fifth century BC. In trenches below the pavement of the Lower Agora some Classical/Hellenistic (fifth to second centuries BC) sherds were found, albeit in mixed deposits. Although the origins of the Lower Agora remain somewhat unclear, its current layout started to take shape in the first decades of our era. A monumental gateway was erected over its south-western entrance during the reign of Tiberius (AD 14-37). By the end of the first and the early second century AD, porticoed galleries were erected along the western and eastern sides of the square. The square measured about 20 m wide and 36 m long. The Lower Agora would see many changes and remain in use until a major earthquake struck Sagalassos in the early seventh century AD, covering the eastern portico beneath the collapsed façade of the Roman Baths. On top of this debris, a water channel was laid out supplying this vital resource to the medieval community, which had by that time organized itself in the southern parts of town.
The Colonnaded Street runs 280 m directly through the southern parts of Sagalassos. At both ends, elegant gateways were erected in the Corinthian order during the reign of Tiberius (AD 14-37).  These marked the southern access points to the town, as well as the entrance to the Lower Agora at the northern end. The paved street was approximately 9 m wide, paved and flanked with Ionic porticoed galleries along its sides. In Sardis and Perge similar colonnaded streets were laid out during the second quarter of the first century AD. The one at Sagalassos possibly formed part of the parcours of sacred processions that linked the major sanctuaries of the town. In the wake of the major earthquake which struck Sagalassos in the early seventh century AD, the local community re-organized itself in the southern parts of the town. At least part of this new settlement was fortified, with a stretch of the new town wall (flanked by two rectangular towers) cutting off the former Colonnaded Street.
The cavea of the Theatre at ancient Sagalassos. The theatre was built between 120 and 190 CE, possibly preceded by an earlier construction in the Hellenistic tradition. Its construction was stopped by the end of the 2nd century CE, with unfinished partial seats and a stage building of only one storey. The theatre was estimated to have a seating capacity beyond the total population of Sagalassos in order to accommodate visitors and groups on festive occasions. A silent witness to past spectacles.
The lifting of the colossal head of Marc Aurelius, emperor of the Roman empire. In late Roman times, the southern part of Frigidarium 1 in the Roman Baths was reconfigured to house a statuary programme of the Antonine dynasty. The statues incorporated marble and gilded bronze components.  Paired statues of Hadrian (AD 117-138) and empress Vibia Sabina, Antoninus Pius (AD 138-161) and empress Anna Galeria Faustina, and Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180) and empress Faustina Minor were arranged in a series of niches along the sides of this large hall. At the same time, the former cold bath was transformed into a public dining hall where the local community gathered during official festive occasions.
The central portion of the inscribed, square soccle for an honorific monument dedicated to Caracalla (AD 211-217), on the Upper Agora. The monument displayed a bronze statue of the emperor and was possibly erected in praise of his decision to award Roman citizenship to all free inhabitants of the empire. At the bottom, the inscription includes Sagalassos’ honorary title: The venerable city of the Sagalassians, first city of Pisidia, friend and ally of the Roman people.
The peristyle courtyard in the southern parts of the so-called Urban Mansion at Sagalassos was surrounded by porticoes decorated with mosaic floors and colourful wall paintings. The courtyard incorporates the remains of an earlier peristyle house, but was entirely remodelled at the end of the fourth-early fifth century AD in order to form part of the very wealthy late antique dwelling. A water pool was incorporated in the northern parts of the courtyard, reflecting the stylish grandeur of the mansion.
The area of the Upper Agora has been under excavation, conservation and anastylosis for the past 20 years. The results highlight how the town changed appearances through time. Originally, the public square was smaller and possibly functioned as the meeting place of the demos. Its political counterpart, the boulè, held meetings in the nearby Bouleuterion, which was erected in late Hellenistic times. In the same period, the local community erected its main sanctuary honouring Zeus, which towered over the agora. In Roman imperial times, local history was first anchored in the urban landscape (as epitomized in the building of the nw Heroon); later, Sagalassos displayed its wealth and influence within the region of Pisidia (as exemplified by the Antonine Nymphaeum). From the fifth century ad onwards, the new monumentality of the Christian church thoroughly transformed old civic centres.