Side offering a charming combination of nature, history and the sea, is an ideal tourist resort. It is located on the site of ancient Side at the 75th km. of the Antalya – Alanya highway. Although Strabo states that it was founded by the colonists in 696 B.C it is known that the history of settlement is much longer because “Side” is not a Greek word. Rather, it is a local word meaning abundance and also related to pomegranate trees. Its history is similar to that of the other ancient cities in the region because it enjoyed its golden age in the Roman period; and most of the surviving ruins in Side are from that period. Several churches were built in the city, which was one of the Byzantine metropolitan centers. Pirate and Arab attacks led to its abandonment until it was settled by the Turkish minorities from Crete in the 1900s.
The major monuments in Side are the remnants of the theatre, city walls, city gate, a bath, two ports, monumental fountains, a temple, a cistern, churches, graveyards and aqueducts. The most splendid structure, the theatre, is a typical Roman theatre built on arches and vaults. The bath has been restored and converted into a museum where the statues of Nike, Heracles, Hermes and Three Graces, the reliefs depicting the birth of Zeus and punishment of Ixion, and Eros’ sarcophagus are exhibited.