The city, protected by the Goddess of Beauty, Aphrodite, is in an area around the village of Gyre in Karacasu, Aydın. It is assumed that the city dates back to the 3000s B.C. Founded between Phrygia and Caria, the city enjoyed its golden age in Hellenistic and Roman periods. The glorious city, buried by earthquakes and invasions, was uncovered by a team under the direction of Prof. Dr. Kenan Erim during excavations started in 1959. The discoveries are exhibited on the site of the city and at the local museum.
The city, where annual celebrations were held in honour of Aphrodite, was a major center of commerce, religion and art. Very fine sculptures shaped painstakingly in the school of sculpture were carved from marble obtained from the rich marble quarries in the area. The style and aesthetics of the statues, now exhibited at the museum, reflect the arts of the time very well.
The Temple of Aphrodite, later converted into a church, is a great impressive structure. The ruins of the baths, the odeum, the agora, city walls, the hippodrome, the tetrapylon (the City Gate) and the theatre down the Acropolis are the major remnants which can be seen today. Among these monuments especially the hippodrome and the City Gate are distinctive. The hippodrome, a hewn stone 227-meter-long structure, could hold 60.000. Used for fights between gladiators and chariot races, the hippodrome was one of the largest and most impressive ones in antiquity.
The tetrapylon, which has been restored recently, marks the crossroads. Next to the gate is the grave of Prof. Dr. Kenan Erim, who devoted his best years to Aphrodisias.