Termessos, an important ancient site (Pisidian not Pamphylian) is situated in the mountains 30km/19mi northwest of Antalya on the gentle slopes of Güllük Dagi (Solymos; 1,650m/5,415ft). This area is now a National Park. Little is known about the town's origins except that it was a Pisidian hill-fort reputedly besieged without success by Alexander the Great. The ruins seen today date from the second and third centuries A.D.; most notable are the theater, the agora, a gymnasium, several pillared halls and a number of graves. A mountain road leads up to the site but the final two kilometers must be covered on foot. From the top there is a magnificent view of the Gulf of Antalya.
A small winter-sports center has been built at an altitude of 2,000-2,400m/6,500-7,875ft near the village of Saklikent (1,850m/6,071ft) in the northern Bey Daglari, about 70km/43mi west of Antalya (via Çakirlar). Although chair-lift facilities are still modest the resort offers significant accommodation.
Around Antalya are a number of karst springs, huge sink holes, and waterfalls.
The Karain cave, 27km/17mi northwest of Antalya, near Dösemalti, in the karst country around Sam Dag, was inhabited by prehistoric man. It has yielded finds from both Lower and Middle palaeolithic, including bones and teeth belonging to Neanderthal man. Some of the finds are on show in a small but remarkably comprehensive museum on the site.
The Kocain Magarasi cave lies hidden in the karst mountains 45km/28mi north of Antalya, two hours away on foot from the village of Ahirtas (turn northeast off the Burdur road a few kilometers beyond Dösemalti, thence via Karatas or via Kovanlik, Camiliköy and Kilik). The cave, 600m/656yds long, 75m/82yds across and 35m/115ft high, with some colossal stalagmites, was investigated by K. Kökten, whose finds showed it to have been inhabited in prehistoric times. At the entrance is a huge cistern, also traces of a very early settlement.
With one lovely beach giving way to another, the 220kms/137mi of coastline on the Gulf of Antalya, from Kemer eastwards to beyond GaziPasa, is known as the "Turkish Riviera".
West coast of the Gulf of Antalya
The west coast of the Gulf of Antalya, running almost due north-south, is fringed for some 50km/30mi by a virtually uninterrupted line of delightful beaches, with the wooded hills of the Taurus rising immediately behind (Olimpos Bey Daglari National Park). About 50km/30mi south of Antalya lies the up-and-coming holiday center of Kemer, with hotels, holiday clubs, a modern yacht marina and good facilities for water sports. About 10km/6mi further on there are more holiday facilities at Göynük and Beldibi (Stone Age site nearby).
Only 3km/1.75mi south of Kemer are the ruins of the old Lydian port of Phaselis where, in 334-333 B.C., Alexander the Great set up his winter quarters. There are remains of a theater, an aqueduct, temples, and a Hadrian's Arch erected in A.D. 114. There is also a museum.
Chimaera, known in Greek mythology as the fire-breathing monster, is an eternal flame burning on natural gas leaking from holes in the rock.
North coast of the Gulf of Antalya
From the eastern outskirts of Antalya a series of splendid beaches extend along the north shore of the Gulf. Lara Plaji is perhaps the best of them, with a number of new hotels.
The remains of ancient Perge (Pergai or Pergae, first mentioned in the fourth century B.C.) a Pamphylian city of particular importance in Roman imperial times, lies on a steep-sided hill on the northwestern edge of the alluvial plain of the Aksu Çayi (the ancient Kestros) near the village of Murtuna, 18km/11mi northeast of Antalya. The site is 4km/2.5mi from the river, which was navigable in ancient times, and 12km/7.5mi from the Mediterranean. Like most of the Greek colonies on the west and south coasts of Asia Minor, Perge found itself deprived of one of the main pillars of its existence as its harbor gradually silted up, leading in Byzantine times to its final decline. Perge had one of the oldest Christian communities in Asia Minor. Paul and Barnabas came here after their flight from Antioch in Pisidia and "spoke the word in Perga" (Acts 14:25).
Perge - Ruins
The ruinsThe lower town at Perge, once encircled by walls fortified with towers, is bounded to the north by a 50m/165ft hill on which the acropolis was built. Here stood the city's oldest buildings. At the southeast corner of the plateau are some remains which it is thought may be those of the famous Temple of Artemis to which Strabo refers. This however is far from certain.The site, parts of which are marshy, is entered through a gate in the walls, immediately beyond which are the remains of two round towers belonging to a gateway of the Hellenistic period. To the right of these towers lies the relatively small agora, with a circular temple. Across the center of the site runs a colonnaded street 20m/65ft wide (many columns re-erected), which is continued at the foot of the acropolis by two branches leading east and west.Little is known of the buildings on either side of the colonnaded street. Remains of baths and of Byzantine churches have been identified at various points. On the northwest of the site are the excavated remains of the palace of Gaius Julius Cornutus.To the southwest, outside the walls of the lower town, is the well-preserved Roman stadium (234m/256yds long by 34m/37yds across, seating for 12,000) built in the second century A.D. The south end of the stadium was used for the gladitorial combats which were then popular. Under the seating on the east side are 30 rooms, originally used as shops.200m/220yds farther southwest, built into the hillside, is the theater, which dates from the third century A.D. Constructed of travertine and faced with marble, it has 40 rows of seating, with a gangway between the upper and lower tiers, and could accommodate an audience of 13,000. Also outside the lower town are a number of sizable necropolises.
The ancient city of Aspendos was founded around 1000 B.C. The site is most well known for the well preserved theater.