During the time of Julius Caesar, Soli and the surrounding country had become a nest of pirates whose activities threatened to disrupt Roman sea trade along the Mediterranean shore. Caesar sent his most able general, Pompei, to quell the pirates, and bring Cilicia under the domination of Rome. Pompei defeated the pirates, destroyed the city; rebuilt it, and renamed it Pompeiopolis. An earthquake in the 6th. century A.D. destroyed the vast city which extended from the sea back into the foothills of the mountains. Silent sentinels of past grandeur are the columns which once lined the Sacred Way from the port to a temple no longer in existence.
The outlines of the port can easily be seen. All that remains of a city of 250,000 people are a few unidentified ruins, but the site has lever been scientifically excavated and who knows what treasures jwait the archaeologist’s probing tools? Kanytelleis: Theodosius II, is supposed to have built this city in the 5th century, but it is undoubtedly built upon the site of a much older settlement. It is particularly interesting because it is constructed around the lip of a natural geological sink. The early Greeks built around depressions and caves for superstitious reasons. The fortress built by the Romans would indicate that the depression offered a splendid natural defense area. Near the entrance over a stone portal can be seen the symbol of the Triskelis meaning that the city was at some time affiliated with, or under the protection of Olba, a much older city.
The ruined churches are from the Byzantines, and such buildings that remain are in a good state of preservation. The depression, is one fourth of a mile in circumference and two hundred feet deep. There are several bas-reliefs cut into the walls. One is that of draped figures on a dais-possibly a mother and father-and below, is another carving of four children. Somewhat lower on another wall is a figure in armor.