Hidden Roman Ruins in Suburban Ankara

Mariegordus Ancient Roman Ruins are an unknown hidden gem in Turkey’s capital city, Ankara. Let’s explore these mysterious ruins together!

What you’ll find in this article

  • Mariegordus Ancient Roman Ruins
  • History of the site
  • Where are the ruins of the ancient city?
  • Where is the entrance to the tunnel?
  • Where to park your car?

Mariegordus Ancient Roman Ruins

Ankara is often thought to be boring and dull compared to other cities in Turkey. However, the suburbs of Turkey’s capital city are rich in ancient ruins that most people are unaware of.

In this article, I want to introduce you to Mariegordus ancient Roman ruins, located in the northern suburbs of Ankara, my hometown. The site is not known by many and is not even marked on Google Maps.

This ruins are located in the Karalar Village, in the Kahramankazan region of Ankara. The settlement was built around Asarkaya, a big rock hill close to Karalar Village.

Unfortunately, information regarding this site is limited to what archeologists found during an excavation back in 1933.

The ruins consist of 2 main sites: ruins of the Roman temple, and the dark and mysterious tunnel behind the rock hill.

Drone shot of me standing in front of the ruins of the temple

History of the site

It is believed that the Mariegordus settlement was used primarily for military purposes during the Roman and Galatia times.

On the southeast side of the Roman temple, there is an entrance to a tunnel going deep inside the hill. It is not possible to go all the way down the tunnel because the ground is flooded. However, it is apparent that the tunnel does not end there and curves to the left. A local shepherd I encountered told that the tunnel network is very complex and there are many rooms that the tunnel leads to.

Entrance to the dark mysterious tunnel is hidden on the back side of the temple ruins

During the excavations in 1933, king tombs, as well as many pottery and tools dating back to Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods were found in the region. However, the geographical structure of the region was deemed unsuitable for excavations at the time, and prevented the advancement of archaeological digs in the area.

It is common to see many places around Asarkaya illegally excavated by treasure hunters. Comparing older photos of the site with the ones we took, it is possible to see the damage done to this historical place.

Where are the ruins of the ancient city?

Mariegordus Roman Ruins are located 64 km away from downtown Ankara. Location of the temple and a few other structures are shown below.

Where is the entrance to the tunnel?

The safest way to reach the tunnel is to climb down from the ruins of the temple (location shown above). The old stairs leading downwards to the tunnel are eroded, but not perilous. When I climbed down the tunnel, the floor was flooded. The tunnel curves to the left and connects to a larger underground room network.

In order to reach the tunnel, climb down the rocks from the temple ruins. I marked the easiest and safest path with the red arrow.
Drone shot of me standing on the ancient rock carved stairs near the tunnel entrance

Where to park your car?

The most convenient spot to park is shown below on Google Maps.

You can park your car at the grassland on the side of the dirt road. Takes 5 minutes to trek to Asarkaya from this point.


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