Aphrodisias was a small ancient Greek Hellenistic city in the historic Caria cultural region of western Anatolia, Turkey. It is located near the modern village of Geyre, about 100 km (62 mi) east/inland from the coast of the Aegean Sea, and 230 km (140 mi) southeast of İzmir.
Aphrodisias was named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, who had here her unique cult image, the Aphrodite of Aphrodisias. According to the Suda,
a Byzantine encyclopedic compilation, before the city became known as
Aphrodisias (c.3rd century BCE) it had three previous names: Lelégōn Pólis (Λελέγων πόλις, "City of the Leleges"), Megálē Pólis (Μεγάλη Πόλις, "Great City"), and Ninóē (Νινόη).
Sometime before 640, in the Late Antiquity period when it was within the Byzantine Empire, the city was renamed Stauroúpolis (Σταυρούπολις, "City of the Cross").In 2017 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
Aphrodisias was the metropolis (provincial capital) of the region and Roman province of Caria.
White and blue grey Carian marble was extensively quarried from adjacent slopes in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, for building facades and sculptures. Marble sculptures and sculptors from Aphrodisias became famous in the Roman
world. Many examples of statuary have been unearthed in Aphrodisias,
and some representations of the Aphrodite of Aphrodisias also survive
from other parts of the Roman world, as far afield as Pax Julia in Lusitania.
The city had notable schools for sculpture, as well as philosophy, remaining a centre of paganism until the end of the 5th century.
The city was destroyed by earthquake in the early 7th century, and
never recovered its former prosperity, being reduced to a small
fortified settlement on the site of the ancient theatre. Around the same time, it was also renamed to Stauropolis (Greek: Σταυροῡπολις, "city of the Cross") to remove pagan connotations, but already by the 8th century it was known as Caria after the region, which later gave rise to its modern Turkish name, Geyre.In Byzantine times, the city was the seat of a fiscal administrative unit (dioikesis).
The city was sacked again by the rebel Theodore Mankaphas in 1188, and then by the Seljuk Turks in 1197. It finally fell under Turkish control towards the end of the 13th century.