Side is located on a small peninsula, 80 kilometers/ 50 miles to the east of Antalya. It was one of the most important cities in the vast coastal plain known in Antiquity as Pamphylia.
Side is an ancient harbour that was founded in the 7th century BC by Aeolian colonists who had come from the north of Smyrna. The name Side, which means "pomegranate", is thought to have been the symbol of the city because it was represented on the local coins. Before and after the Hellenistic period, taking advantage of the natural location of their city built on a long peninsula, the inhabitants of Side were indulged in the practices of piracy which were more remunerative than shipbuilding activities. The place was also long reputed as a slave market. In the 3rd century BC, Side came under the domination of the Ptolemy of Egypt and Seleucids of Syria. From the 2nd and 1st century BC, due to its good relations with Rome, Side, now devoted to trade, enjoyed a first period of prosperity. After the establishment of the "Pax Romana" (Roman Peace), between the 2nd-3rd century AD, Side reached its peak as can be seen through the numerous monuments built at that period. In the 4th century, the city declined altogether with the Empire.