Antalya Tourist Attractions
South coast (Eastern Mediterranean)Situation and ImportanceThe provincial capital of Antalya is delightfully situated at the innermost point of the Gulf of Antalya (Antalya Körfezi) on Turkey's southern coast.
Against a backdrop of mountains - to the west the bare limestone massif of the Lycian Taurus (Bey Daglari) plunging steeply down from 3,086m/10,125ft; to the east the Lower Cilician Taurus - the town clusters around the picturesque Old Harbor lying at the foot of a 23m/75ft-high cliff. Between the town and the high ridge of hills to the west, the broad pebbly Konyaalti beach - a major attraction for holidaymakers - extends in a wide sweep. Thanks to its sheltered situation Antalya has a subtropical climate, with very mild wet winters and almost rainless summers. The town's new harbor is the only one of any size between Izmir and Mersin.HistoryIn the 12th century B.C. Achaeans from the Peloponnese moved into Pamphylia (the region in which Antalya lies) and overlaid the indigenous population. A second wave of Greek immigrants followed in the seventh century when the Ionians occupied the existing settlements and established new ones. During the struggles between Rome and Antiochos the Great the area became of the kingdom of Pergamum, the ruler of which, Attalos II Philadelphos (159-38), founded the city of Attaleia, now Antalya, and made it capital of Pamphylia. In 133 Attaleia, together with the rest of the kingdom of Pergamum, passed into Roman hands, and thereafter formed part of the province of Asia. The Apostle Paul landed at Attaleia with his companions Barnabas and Mark on his first missionary journey to Asia Minor in A.D. 45-49. In the time of Hadrian the town was surrounded by a strong defensive wall. The Byzantines developed it still further, encircling it with a double ring of walls to repel Arab attacks in the eighth and ninth centuries. During the Seljuk period (from 1207) a number of handsome mosques were built and the town's defenses were strengthened. In Ottoman times the town - then also known as Adalia or Satalia - was divided into three, with separate areas for Christians, Muslims and those of other faiths. The iron gates between them were closed every Friday from noon to 1pm because of a prophecy foretelling a Christian assault at that time.
Since the restoration of the picturesque quarter below the citadel (kaleiçi) in Antalya, the Old Harbor, nestling in its recess in the cliffs, and the area surrounding it, with hotels, restaurants, boutiques and bazaars, have become a busy focus of tourist activity. The citadel, on the clifftop overlooking the small-craft harbor, has also recently been restored.
A little way northeast of the Old Harbor is Antalya's most striking landmark, the Yivli Minare (Fluted Minaret), a vigorous example of Seljuk architecture with a square base surmounted by an octagonal drum bearing the fluted shaft with its corbelled gallery round the top. The minaret, faced with brown tiles, belongs to a mosque converted from a former Byzantine church by Alaeddin Keykubad (1219-36).
Features of interest in the narrow bazaar-filled streets of the Old Town of Antalya are a fortified gate with a clock-tower in the busy main square, the nearby Tekeli Mehmet Pasa Mosque, the Seljuk Karatay Mosque (1250Ô and, farther south, the Kesik Minare (Truncated Minaret) beside the ruins of an abandoned mosque which was once a Byzantine church.
Considerable stretches of the Hellenistic and Roman town walls on the east side of the Old Town of Antalya have been preserved, sometimes incorporating later building. The most notable part is the well-preserved Hadrian's Gate, erected in honor of the Emperor Hadrian on the occasion of his visit to the town in A.D. 130. This imposing marble gateway, with two massive towers flanking its three arches, has rich sculptural decoration.
Along the east side of Hadrian's Gate and the old town walls in Antalya runs a broad avenue, Atatürk Caddesi, with dual carriageways separated by a double row of stately date palms. It sweeps southwards in a wide arc to the Town Hall and Municipal Park. The latter, extending to the cliff edge overlooking the Gulf, offers some splendid views. At the northwest corner of the park can be seen the 13m/43ft-high Hidirlik Kulesi, the stump of a tower which may once have been a Roman lighthouse.
Definitely worth visiting is the Museum of Archeology and Ethnography, situated some 2km/1.25mi from the city center on the western outskirts of Antalya. Founded in 1919, it was originally housed in the mosque adjacent to the Fluted Minaret, before being moved to its new premises in 1972. The collection is displayed in exemplary fashion.The large Archeological section offers an excellent survey of the great periods in Pamphylia's history, from the neolithic on through the Bronze Age (urn burials) to Hellenistic and Roman times. Particularly notable are the gallery containing statues of divinities (mostly from Perge), the collection of items recovered by underwater archaeology, the Gallery of Roman Emperors, the magnificent series of sarcophagi, the mosaics from Seleukeia, and the fine coin collection with the Hoard of Probus, the Aspendos Hoard (silver), a Byzantine gold hoard found at Finike in 1959, and the Side Hoard (silver). There are also a number of icons.The rich ethnographic section of the museum displays a great variety of material of the Turkish period - weapons, clothing, stockings, jewelry, domestic equipment, books, tiles, glass, porcelain, locks, musical instruments and carpets, together with a loom.
Map of Antalya Attractions