Antalya travel guide
There is no other city in Turkey where past and present and tradition and modernity are able to co-exist with such harmony as they do in Antalya. The locals call this port city on the Turkish Riviera "the laughing beauty of the south". Visitors may sense the simplicity of the Mediterranean way of life in the lively harbour district. The peaks of the Taurus mountain range provide a stunning backdrop to the Gulf of Antalya. 2,000 centuries of history has been enclosed by the immense city walls, which have bore witness to the reigns of the Roman, Byazantine, Seljuks and Ottoman Empires. The landmark of Antalya is the Yivli Minaret built in the 13th century. The Yivli Minaret is part of the Alaaddin Mosque, which is located in the Old Town district of Antalya. It stands on the foundations of a 7th century Byzantine basilica, which Seljukian Sultan Alaaddin commissioned to honour his father, the first Seljukian conqueror of Antalya, and was completed in 1372. In later times, the brick-covered building, with its 6 domes, housed a Dervish monastery and a Koran school. Today, the building is used as an exhibition hall. The foundations of the Saat Kulesi, Antalya's "clock tower", go back to Roman times, the base being originally part of the old Roman city fortress. It functioned as 2 adjoining sections: A square stone block, emblazoned with battlements, stood upon a five-cornered foundation. Along the coast hotels and guesthouses await the holidaymakers seeking sun, sea, culture and history.
Antalya's Archaeology and Ethnography Museum is said to be one of the best archaeological museums in Turkey, and with the exception of the Istanbul Pendant, it is the largest. Despite the extensive collection of exhibits from the Stone Age right through to the era of the Ottoman Empire, the museum was primarily founded for the purpose of displaying pieces from the times of the Romans and ancient Greeks. Countless finds from the archaeological digs at Perge and Aspendos, including statues of the Gods, busts of the Emperors and tombs all testify beautifully to the preciseness in detail of the stonemasonry of the time. The museum was opened in 1919 to prevent the further removal of many of the ancient cultural treasures to Western Europe. Over the years, the collection has been enlarged, and other sections offer visitors a good insight into Turkey's history. Highlights include fossils and tools from the Stone Age, excavated from the caves of Karain, as well as pottery from 12th to 3rd centuries BC and a hall displaying restored mosaics, a 2,500 year-old coin collection, an ethnography section, typical traditional Turkish clothing, icons, weapons, carpets and historical everyday examples of art. Much care is taken, and attention paid, to way in which the exhibits are displayed, for example, regarding the light composition. There are a few areas exhibiting toys and piggy banks from past eras, which may be of special interest to children. Children may also try their hand at the pottery wheel; the nicest pieces are put on display.
10 miles northeast of Antalya, the historical city of Perge is one of the most popular ruins in south Turkey. Founded in 1000 BC, the city experienced prosperity during the age of the Roman Empire, and was later deserted in the 7th century during the Byzantine era. Today, the extensive ruins testify to the past wealth of the former trading city, which was once situated on the River Kestros (now known as the Aksu Çay). As the port lost its significance, and the city fell victim to earthquakes and Arab incursions, the inhabitants simply abandoned the city. In front of the walls of this ruined city lies an amphitheatre, which could accommodate crowds of up to 15,000 spectators. Diagonally opposite is the largest stadium in Asia Minor, which has fortunately been preserved very well. Up to 12,000 spectators would come to the stadium to watch sport competitions and gladiator fights. Visitors enter the inner city through a Hellenic city gate. The fortress towers are still impressive, even as ruins. The inner city is divided into quarters by two intersecting streets. A large number of columns have been reconstructed along the colonnaded street, and to an extent they manage to portray the city's former glory. A water channel, which supplied the Nympheum springhouse, runs down the middle of the main street. It flows to the base of the Acropolis on castle mound. Wander through the overgrown ruins, and the ruins of 3 basilicas, a thermal spring and various graves are waiting to be discovered.
When one thinks of Beldibi, images of a holiday community sprawling along the west coast of the Gulf of Antalya to the north of Kemer, spring to mind. Yet not only the modern-day tourists recognise the beautiful landscape and treasure it - the area was already populated during the Stone Age, as has been proven by the drawings which feature in a nearby cave. Faded pictures, which are located close to the coast, are thought to date back to the 7th millennium BC. Pottery, which was unearthed in the cave, may now be viewed at the Antalya Archaeological Museum.
The Düden Waterfalls lie to the north and east of Antalya. The Yukari Düden Selalesi and the Asagi Düden Selalesi both possess unique characteristics. The latter flows out to the sea off Lara beach, east of Antalya, which lies 60 m below ground level. This impressive sight may best be witnessed from dizzy heights, or alternatively from a boat. Tour boats regularly dock in Antalya's harbour. Both waterfalls are fed by the River Düden. In the hot summer months, the falls tend to dry out as the villages upstream use the water to irrigate the fields.
The Kursunlu Selalesi Waterfalls are situated close to Antalya, not far from the Antalya Airport exit on the D-400. The main waterfall fans out into countless smaller creeks, which flow through a green yet rocky landscape out to the turquoise-tinted sea. Vast numbers of trout swim in the surrounding pools. At the centre of the nature reserve, the water cascades offer a source of refreshment and shade even at the hottest time of the year. Several picnic areas and footpaths have been added in the past years, making a longer stay all the more comfortable.
The name, Kesik Minare, testifies to an event in the city's recent history. Antalya's "discontinued minaret", was disfigured by a fire in the 19th century and was never reconstructed. However, the history of the basilica's ruins in the old town, Kaleiçi, goes much further back. The site originally dates back to the 2nd century AD, when it accommodated a temple. The temple's foundations were, however, built over 300 years later by Christians erecting a Byzantine Panaghia church. Stones from ancient times may still be seen in the wall's ruins. During the 13th century, the Seljuks changed the church into a mosque, and it is this era to which the minaret dates back. The whole construction is badly dilapidated, but still worth a visit.
The Yivli Minaret is the landmark most commonly associated with Antalya and stands to the northeast of the old port. The "grooved minaret" was erected in the 13th century in a somewhat Seljukian style, and is adorned with glazed bricks. The incorporated brick tower served as a point of orientation for the sailors of the time. 8 channelled half-columns form the mid-section of the construction, which is almost 40 m high. The structure was built on the mandate of the eminent Seljukian Sultan Alaadin Keykubat I, most probably in honour of his father, the first Seljuk conqueror of Antalya. So if this does not entice you to take a trip to Antalaya, then we dont know what will!
The stunning weather in Turkey makes it so much easier to enjoy exploring much of the nations unique history during Antalya holidays.