Ancient Routes, New Destinations: Roman Road Via Sebaste as a Thematic Cultural Route

Mustafa Arslan


Thematic cultural routes are becoming more important nowadays in Turkey’s tourism. There are tens of walking routes in Anatolia. These routes are generally between uplands in different regions. Among these routes, there are long distance footpaths based on ancient roads. These are The Lycian Way-509 km, St. Paul Trail-410 km and Hittite Way which is also suitable for cycling-385 km. These routes are all waymarked and pass from historical places from different cultures and periods such as Hittite, Hellenistic, Roman and Turkish periods. St. Paul Trail was marked by Kate Clow and follows the route of St. Paul’s missionary journey. This trail generally uses western branch of Via Sebaste which was built in 6 B.C by Roman emperor Augustus. Starting point of Via Sebaste is Pisidian Antioch and it has two courses. Western course has already been marked and combined with the route of St. Paul’s journey and opened to tourism for back packers. Eastern course is not mentioned very much although it has got more touristic attraction sites. A traveller is going to be able to see the biggest fresh water lake of Turkey, two big stork colonies, prehistoric mounds, monuments from Hittite period, Seljukian mosque, caravanserai and palace and caves of Seydişehir-Derebucak regions on this route. After passing Taurus Mountain ridge the main road reaches to ancient harbour city of Side. Apart from this main route the road has many byways reaching mountainous regions since it was built by military requirements Not only the main route of Via Sebaste but all branches should be determined carefully for tourism purposes. Localising all the road system as a whole is going to enrich tourism facilities. Identifying all byways of Via Sebaste is going to offer many choices for the visitors with its multiple starting and finishing points. This road is a candidate new thematic cultural route with its ornithology, speleology, gastronomy, fishing, cycling opportunities. The aim of this paper is to introduce the Roman road “Via Sebaste” and natural-historical beauties along the road.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n10p660

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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