Ancient City of Magarsus

The ancient city of Magarsus is located on a promontory in Dört Direk locality in Karataş. Ancient writers such as Strabo, Pausanias, Arrianos and Mela mention this place in their works. It is thought that the name of Magarsus, which is understood to be one of the important port cities of the ancient period, derives from the name Magarsiya, which was given to the nuns in the temple here.


The place was called Karakilise  (karakilise means black church in Turkish) because of the Byzantine period church made of black stones. Afterwards it was called Yanık Kilise (Yanık Kilise means burned church) because it has been burnt in a war. Magarsus ruins and castle are mentioned as Od Castle in the book of Piri Reis, and as the town of Vanir in Ottoman documents.

Strabo states that the city was founded by Mopsos and Amphilokhos, who came to the region after the Trojan War. Although no coins were minted in the name of Magarsus, it is estimated that as a satellite city of Mallos, it was a city with a population of approximately 10 to 15 thousand.

Before the Isos (Four Ways) war with the Persians Macedonian King Alexander the Great, built a bridge on the Ceyhan River in 333 BC and stopped by Magarsus. He  offered sacrifices to the Athena Magarsia Temple here. It is estimated that this temple, which was famous for its prophecies in the past, is located very close to the ancient theater. However, it has not been revealed yet.

Magarsus, was under the rule of Rome for a period. It lost its former importance by being damaged in the war between Byzantium and Abbasids that took place in  964 A.C.

In the city of Magarsus, the Athena Magarsia Temple, cisterns, baths, medieval castle and city wall ruins have not been unearthed, although their places on the soil surface are known. Only theatre, is unearthed.

Magarsus Ancient Theater

The most important work unearthed in Magarsus is the 2500-year-old ancient theater. It is understood that the theater, which is 30 meters wide and 150 meters long, has a capacity of approximately 3 thousand people. The theater was built by taking advantage of the natural slope of the land and using local limestone blocks in the Hellenistic period. In addition to the seating of the theater, the orchestra and stage buildings were also unearthed. The most important feature of the theater is that it was the only theater with a sea view in ancient times.

Magarsus Ancient City? Directions Information. How to Get to the Ancient City?

Magarsus Ancient City is located in Adana's Karataş District, very close to the sea. It is 59 km from Adana and 4 km from Karataş town centre.

To go from Adana to Magarsus, when you come to the Karataş district center, you should proceed parallel to the sea in the west direction with the direction of the Magarsus sign on the right.

There is no public transportation opportunity to reach the Magarsus Ancient City. You can go to the district center with Karataş minibus from Adana district bus station. Afterwards, you can reach Magarsus by private car or by walking for half an hour.

Entry to the Magarsus Ancient City is free.

We recommend you to go to Magarsus Ancient City especially close to sunset and take pictures with the ancient theater and sea view here.


Places to See Around the Ancient City of Magarsus:

Akyatan Wildlife Development Area and RAMSAR Area: 3 km