Side is situated on a peninsula that is almost a kilometer long and four hundred meters wide. Although the geographer Strabo tells us that Side was founded by the inhabitants of Kyme, a city located near present-day Izmir, in what would be the 7th century B.C., the word side in the indigenous Anatolian language means "pomegranate", from which we may assume that the city’s origins are much older than that. Though Side became a Lydian possession in the 6th century B.C., the Persians captured it in 546 B.C. and it remained in their hands until taken by Alexander the Great in 334 B.C.
Although the kingdom of Pergamon founded Antalya in the 2nd century B.C. after a naval battle that took place off Side in order to gain control of Pamphylia (southwestern Anatolia), Side never came under Pergamon rule. Side enjoyed its greatest period of prosperity in the 2nd. century but by the end of that period, it fell under the control of pirates and was not delivered from their domination until the pirates were defeated in 72 B.C. Servilius Isauricus, a Roman consul, who also added Side to the Roman Empire.
As Roman authority in Asia Minor waned in the early part of the present millennium, Side became the target of raids and attacks by tribes coming from the mountainous region to the north around the middle of the 4th century and for this reason, a fortifying wall was built across the peninsula, dividing the city in two, and the northeastern half of the city was abandoned. Side suffered steady impoverishment and decline. It became the center of a diocese in the 5th and 6th centuries. Following the Arab attacks in the 10th century and the later influx of pirates to Side, most of the people moved to Antalya and the city was abandoned. The present village was founded on the site of its ruins in this century.