A lovely Turkish resort city, Antalya offers visitors the Old Harbor full of yachts and plenty of golden, sun-drenched beaches. This city has become known as the gateway to Turkey’s southern Mediterranean region which is known as the Turquoise Coast. It was named so for the clear, blue water. Antalya is situated right on the Gulf of Antalya and is the largest city on Turkey’s western Mediterranean coastline.
The Antalya Museum is a comprehensive museum that offers exhibitions from the Stone and Bronze Ages to Byzantium. The Hall of Regional Excavations exhibits finds from ancient cities and the Hall of Gods displays impressive statues of 15 Olympian gods. Upstairs you can see coins and other gold artifacts.
Antalya’s historic district begins at the main square, Kale Kapisi, which is marked by the
old stone Saat Kulesi
and statue of Attalus II, the city’s founder. To the north is Iki Kapilar Hans, a sprawling covered bazaar that dates back to the late 15th century.
Walking south along Uzun Carsi Sokak, from the clock tower right on the left you can see the 18th century Tekeli Mehmet Pasa Camil, a mosque that was built by the Beylerbey (Governor of Governors).
Wandering further into the historic district you can see many lovely old Ottoman houses which have been restored and converted into pensions, boutique hotels and shops.
To the east, at the top of Hesapci Sokak, you’ll see the impressively monumental Hadrian’s Gate, also known as Uckapilar or the Three gates that was erected for the Roman emperor’s visit to Antalya in 130 A.D.
Eventually you’ll come to the Roman Harbor filled with private yachts and excursion boats. An elevator descends from the cliff to the harbor. The harbor is lined with tea gardens, bars, restaurants and cafes. Above the harbor, on Cumhuriyet Meydant’s southern edge are tea gardens offering expansive, aerial harbor views.
At the southwestern edge of Kaleici is Karaalioglu Parki, a large and lovely flower-filled park with great views over the sea and a wonderful place for sunset strolling. It is a great place for relaxing and getting some shade and catching a breeze on a hot day. Many city residents enjoy evening strolls here. Here you can find the mayor’s office and a city theater.
Visitors enjoy seeing the Hidirlik Kulesi, the ancient fortress tower that overlooks the Roman harbor, the falez or cliffs that drop from the park promontory into the Gulf of Antalya and the great views of the gulf
and the Beydaglari Mountains to the west. The name of the park means “Son of Black Ali” and is pronounced kah-RAH-ah-Lee-oh-loo.
Hidirlik Kalesi is a 14m-high tower that was built in the 1st or 2nd century A.D. as a mausoleum and later because of its great location above the bay, played an important role in the defense of the city as a watchtower and lighthouse.
Yivli Minare an impressive and distinctive minaret that was erected by Seljuk Sultan Aladdin Keykubad I in the early 13th century. It has become Antalya’s symbol. This ancient mosque is still in use today. Within this complex is a craft center located in the restored 13th century Imaret Medresesi (seminary), the Mevlevi Tekke, a whirling dervish monastery and two turbe (tombs).
On the broad plaza to the west is the equestrian statue of Ataturk.
Sultaan Alaadin Camii is a wonderful mosque found in the back alleys of Kaleici. In 1834 it was the Greek Orthodox Panhagia Church and then converted to a mosque in 1958. In the Prayer Hall the original painted ceiling has intricate star motifs. The mosque is usually open in the afternoon after midday prayer.
Suna & inan Kirac Kaleici is a small ethnography museum that has found its home in a beautiful, restored Antalya mansion. On the second floor you’ll find a series of life-size dioramas which depict some of the most important rituals and customs of Ottoman Antalya.
Konyaalti Plaji is a lovely beach for sunbathing and relaxing.
Yenikapi Greek Church is a small 19th century church that was renovated in 2007. It has a lovely interior with frescoes and hand-carved decorations. Orthodox services are held here.
Saat Kulesi was built under the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. This clock tower marks the Kale Kapisi entrance to Kaleici.
In the limestone countryside around Antalya are the Karst Springs. Here you can find karst springs, sinkholes and waterfalls. Lime deposits from these springs have built up over a period of 1.5 to two million years into vast travertine terraces.
Duden Waterfalls are actually two different waterfall sites known as the Upper and Lower Duden Waterfalls. The lower waterfall offers great views of nature and a beautiful park with cafes and along the coast you can get a look at Antalya’s urban areas.
If you’re looking for some excitement and adventure you can take a speedboat trip right into the falls and cool off on a hot afternoon. The sunrise is especially lovely when seen from the falls. Tickets are required for the upper Duden falls.
Köprülü Canyon National Park is located in the province of Manavgat in Antalya between Bolasan and Beskonak, around the Koprulu Canyon through which flows the Kopru Stream. Here you can see stone formations and the old stone bridge crossing the Kopru Stream is still used today. It is a great place for whitewater rafting.
Wildlife in the national park include deer, mountain goats, bears, foxes, rabbits, badgers and wolves. Many trout make their home in the stream.
Here you can also see a bit of history in the theater, the agora, the temples of Artemis and Zeus and the cisterns and aqueducts of the ancient city of Selge. Stone roads connect the ancient city of Selge to the towns of Pamphylia. The villages of Beskonak and Karabuk have private houses that offer accommodation.
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