Geyre Foundation, officially GEYRE FOUNDATION APHRODISIAS EXCAVATIONS, non-governmental organization (NGO) that supports academic research and analysis relating to the archeology of the ancient city of Aphrodisias, situated in the village of Geyre in Karacasu district of Aydın. The foundation helps to compile and repair findings from the excavations and promote tourism to the site. It was founded in January 1987 by the “Friends of Aphrodisias”, who came together under the leadership of Sevgi Gönül, and in January 2008, the Council of Ministers proclaimed it a public interest foundation with tax exemption status. The NGO receives regular support from the
Vehbi Koç Foundation. Sevgi Gönül was president from its foundation until her death in 2003, when the role was assumed by Ömer M. Koç.
Taking its name from the goddess Aphrodite, Aphrodisias was not just a place of worship in Ancient Greece, but also an important cultural center. It was a famous center of sculpture due to the local cream-colored, translucent Karya marble, which was especially easy to carve. The city enjoyed a golden era in the third and fourth centuries AD, but its fame and significance began to wane after the seventh century and it was completely abandoned by the beginning of the fourteenth century. Excavations at Aphrodisias were begun in 1961 by a team led by the archaeologist Kenan Erim (1929-90), who devoted almost his entire career to the site. Later work continued under the aegis of New York University. The excavations are currently being carried out under the joint management of Professor R.R.R. Smith of Oxford University and Christopher Ratté of the University of Michigan.
Part of a high relief revealed by excavations at the city’s Sebasteion complex, a center of worship famous for its reliefs, is on display at The Sebasteion Reliefs-Sevgi Gönül Hall, built by the Geyre Foundation and opened in 2008. The museum, founded in 1979 to exhibit the pieces excavated at Aphrodisias, was renovated by the Geyre Foundation and opened to visitors in 2009.
The ancient city of Aphrodisias was added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list in 2017.