In southern Turkey, in 2017, the remains of Roman exclusive estates were found, where the elite of Rome “escaped” to rest.
The discovery took place in Kibyratis (Kibyra), a city located in the Turkish mountains. One of the estates belonged to the family of Marcus Aurelius (reigned 161-180 CE). Until 2008, the Kibyratis region was practically unexplored. It was only relatively recently that scientists started excavations in this area.
Four villas belonged to both the local and Roman elite. Although the buildings are heavily damaged, you can still see the remains of mosaics, marble wall decorations and clay water pipes. Moreover, numerous metallurgical tools, ceramics, and marble weights – used in winemaking – have been preserved, which proves that the estates were agricultural in nature. It seems, however, that the owners of the property did not derive income from cultivation, but only treated their villas as a place of rest. However, this does not rule out the possibility that agricultural products were exported.
Next to one of the houses, an altar was found, on which sacrifices were made during hunting.
The ancient city of Kibyra was located in an important trade area and clearly prospered in Roman times – it came under Roman rule in the 1st century CE. Strabo mentions that the region could provide an empire with 30,000 legionnaires and 2,000 horsemen.