Interesting places in Turkey

  Ancient port city in Cilicia  

  Soli Pompeiopolis  




  The beginning of the partially reconstructed colonnade street  

Soli (later Pompeiopolis) is an ancient seaport near today's Viranşehir, a district of the city of Mersin. Only a few remains of the ancient Soloi have survived, including the harbour basin and columns of a colonnaded street. A theatre seen by travellers at the beginning of the 19th century is virtually invisible.


Soli, first mentioned by Xenophon (ancient Greek politician, commander and writer and student of Socrates), was supposedly founded by Greek colonists from Argos and Lindos on Rhodes. At the time of Alexander the Great, however, the inhabitants were loyal to the Achaemenids, the first Persian empire.



Alexander, who reached the city in October 333 B.C., therefore left a garrison behind and imposed a tribute of 200 talents on Soli. The city had to provide hostages and was destined for destruction, an order which Alexander withdrew. In Soli Alexander held a celebration of his recovery after the almost fatal bath in Kydnos and sacrificed to Asclepius.


  View to the sea  

The 360-metre-long boulevard was lined with a total of 200 columns, starting at the harbour. Today 33 columns line the street. Seven of them belong to the west and 26 to the east side. Some of the capitals are executed in Corinthian order. The inscriptions on some of the columns show that the consoles facing the street bore the busts of the Roman Emperor and various deities such as Asclepius, god of healing, his daughter Hygieia, king of the gods Zeus, goddess of justice Nemesis, Demeter, goddess of fertility and god of wine Dionysus.

  View to the sea  



After Soli was destroyed in 83 BC by Tigranes II (King of Armenia and the Seleucid Empire), it was refounded as Pompeiopolis by Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (conqueror of the Cilician pirates) and settled with the survivors of the pirate war.
The 3,000 year old ancient city is now a candidate for the World Heritage List.


  Soli Pompeiopolis  



The harbour, some of whose ruins can still be seen today, consisted of two breakwaters, a good 200 metres long. These are well preserved to the west. Traces showing that the large limestone blocks were fastened with iron rivets are still visible.
In the west the breakwater was filled with sand. According to the measurements, its length is still 160 metres and its width 23 metres. Only 40 meters of it could be measured, because only very little is left of the breakwater in the east.
The limestones used for construction are about 160 cm long, 60 cm wide and 60 cm deep.
The remains of the harbour are, besides the remains of the ancient boulevard, the remaining buildings that are still visible today.




In 2018 a 1700-year-old portrait bust was uncovered, which probably shows a Roman aristocrat.