Perga (Greek: Πέργη Perge, Turkish: Perge) was an ancient Greek city in Anatolia and the capital of Pamphylia, now in Antalya province on the southwestern Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Today it is a large site of ancient ruins 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) east of Antalya on the coastal plain. Located there is an acropolis dating back to the Bronze Age. During the Hellenistic period, Perga was one of the richest and most beautiful cities in the ancient world, famous for its temple of Artemis. It also is notable for being the home of the renowned ancient Greek mathematician Apollonius of Perga.
In the twelfth century BC, there was a large wave of Greek migration from northern Anatolia to the Mediterranean coast. Many settled in the area immediately east of the area of modern-day Antalya, which came to be known as Pamphylia, meaning "land of all tribes". Four great cities eventually rose to prominence in Pamphylia: Perga, Sillyon, Aspendos and Side.
Perga itself was founded in around 1000 BC and is nearly 20 kilometres (12 mi) inland. It was sited inland as a defensive measure in order to avoid the pirate bands that terrorized this stretch of the Mediterranean.
In 546 BC, the Achaemenid Persians defeated the local powers and gained control of the region. Two hundred years later, in 333 BC, the armies of Alexander the Great arrived in Perga during his war of conquest against the Persians. The citizens of Perga sent out guides to lead his army into the city.
Alexander's was followed by the diadoch empire of the Seleucids, under whom Perga's most celebrated ancient inhabitant, the mathematician Apollonius (c.262 BC – c.190 BC), lived and worked. Apollonius was a pupil of Archimedes and wrote a series of eight books describing a family of curves known as conic sections, comprising the circle, ellipse, parabola and hyperbola.
Roman rule began in 188 BC, and most of the surviving ruins today date from this period. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Perga remained inhabited until Seljuk times, before being gradually abandoned.
Perga is today an archaeological site and a major tourist attraction. Ancient Perge, one of the chief cities of Pamphylia, was situated between the Rivers Catarrhactes (Duden sou) and Cestrus (Ak sou), 60 stadia (about 11.1 kilometres (6.9 mi)) from the mouth of the latter; the site is in the modern Turkish village of Murtana on the Suridjik sou, a tributary of the Cestrus, formerly in the Ottoman vilayet of Koniah. Its ruins include a theatre, a palæstra, a temple of Artemis and two churches. The very famous temple of Artemis was located outside the town.
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