We have no exact knowledge of the date of the foundation of Side, which took Its name from a word meaning «pomegranate» in ancient Anatolian languages, Greeks who settled here in the Vifth century B.C. played an Important part In its development. Straho points aut that Side was colonized by Greeks from Cyme in Aeolia.
Side stood out as an important commercial town. With Its large merchant fleet It traded with the countries of the eastern and western Mediterranean, and served as port to many parts of inner Anatolia. Up to the arrival of Christianity, Side was a slave market as well as a center of piracy. Slaves from Africa used to be sold In Side. Like other Pamphytian cities, Side flourished and prospered In The llnd and lllrd centuries A,D. Most of the buildings still standing today date from that period.
A period of decline and Impoverishment set In towards the end of the lllrd century A.D, It enjoyed, however, a period of revival under Christianity, by being made a bishopric for the province of Pamphylia, and it began to grow in the Vth century, extending beyond its walls. It is believed that Side was destroyed during Arab invasions in the Vllth and IXth centuries, An earthquake, the signs of which may be seen everywhere in the city, probably also played an Important role In its destruction. Idrisl, an Arab geographer who lived in the Xllth century calls this town «the Burnt Antalya».
The earliest systematic excavations in Side, where ruins are all close to one another, were carried out in 1947 by Prof. A. Müfit Man-sel or behalf of the Turkish Historical Society. Prof. Mansel studied the main streets, squares, and buildings of the city. Most interesting of the ruins of Side are the Nymphaeum in front of the main gate of the city, the two streets extending from one end of the city to the other, like Arcadiana in Ephesus, and the Theater built unike the theaters of other cities, on flat ground.