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Antandros Ancient City Balikesir

Antandros Ancient City Balikesir
The Antandros Antique City is in the province of Balikesir , 4km east of Altinoluk on the edges of Mount Ida and can be reached from the Altınoluk - Edremit highway. It is the largest necropolis on the Aegean shores and archaeologists believe it to be the next Ephesus .

History of Antandros Ancient City

The city was built by the Pelasgians and it was of military strategic importance because of the Adramyttion - Assos road thoughtto have been established in 10th century BC. The city became a settlement area in 2,000 BC and the ancient geographic writer Strabo stated that the Leleg clan from Bababurnu (Lekton) settled on Mount Ida and that the first ever beauty contest took place here between Hera, Athena and Aphrodite with Paris acting as a judge.

The actual region was first settled by Mysians, with the Aeolis from
Limni arriving in the 7th century BC. The city was invaded by Otoneis a Persian commander after a mutiny in Western Anatolia and Xerxes passed through here on his way to invade Greece. Alexander the Great banished the Persians from the city and commemorated his victory by having coins minted in the second half of the 4th century BC and it became part of the Pergamum Kingdom. Whilst under Roman rule, Antandros became a religious centre for Christianity which at that time was growing across the whole of Anatolia. Unable to defend their city against the Arabs it was abandoned by the local people who fled to Şahinkale in the Şahinderesi Canyon. A tower and the protected settlement ruins that include water cisterns and living areas can be seen on top of Şahinkale Hill and are accessible by a narrow ancient pathway.

Architectural Finds and Ruins

The Anatolian researcher Henri Kiepert stated in his book that the Antandros acropolis was between Altinoluk and Avcilar on a hill known as Yarmataş 215km above sea level and that the city expanded towards the east. The necropolis is 2km west of the hill and was unearthed during digs carried out by Dr. Gürcan Polat from the Archaeology Department of the Aegean University from 1989-1996 and excavations still continue there today. A three storey sarcophagi was found along with evidence of cremation style entombment and these are on display at the Balikesir Museum. Excavations have also brought to light mosaics from the Roman era, a fancy house with frescoes on the walls and mosaic furnishings on the floors that date from the 1st century BC.

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