Day 2 – USA Fred Perry Cup Team Bye, Day Trip to Side (pronounced sih-day)
After morning practice, we decided to take a quick trip to the nearby ruins, about ½ hour away. We planned on just spending a couple hours exploring, so we could get back for our afternoon practice. We found the ruins fascinating, the town and cobble stone streets charming, and the food delicious. There is just way too much to see, too much to do, and much fun to be had. There was definitely more fun to be had than what we were able to pack into our short afternoon out. We will have to try and get back there a second time to do it right.
We had our cabby drop us off at the entrance of the ruins. I will paraphrase from Wikipedia, as my knowledge of this part of the world is limited.
Side (Greek: Σίδη is a city on the southern Mediterranean coast of Turkey, a resort town and one of the best-known classical sites in the country. It lies near Manavgat (this is where the World Championships are being played) and 75 km from Antalya, which is where the nearest airport is.
It was recorded by multiple societies of the day that Side was founded by Greek settlers in the 7th century BC. The natural geography created a logical harbor that was conducive to small-craft boats, which made it one of the most important trade centers in the region. The name Side means “pomegranate.”
Side was known as a commercial center in Asia minor through several trades, including olive oil and slaves. Its large commercial fleet engaged in acts of piracy, while wealthy merchants paid for artworks, monuments and competitions, as well as the games and gladiator fights. Most of the ruins date from this period of prosperity from the 3rd century AD.
There was a steady decline after this point, which was largely due to raids from highlanders, as well as earthquakes. The population of nearly 60,000 eventually migrated to Antalya and Side became known as “Old Antalya” and was buried.
These great ruins are the most notable in Asia Minor. The theatre could seat up to 20,000 people. I have included several photos from various vantage points, one of our team viewing up from where the gladiators fought, and others of the actual theatre area with the remains of the city on the horizon.
This was truly a humbling place to visit. Steeped in history, walking down roads built nearly 2000 years ago was quite memorable. A must see if you are ever in this part of the world.
Ok, now back to tennis! The recap of the day was a huge success for the US – swept all the cup ties that were played (there were a few teams that had byes today.)