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Antalya, the Turkish Riviera is the most stunning part of Turkey's Mediterranean coast. It is typical of Turkey, a thriving modern city, with a historic heart in the centre of Kaleiçi within the old city walls. This area has seen something of a renaissance in recent years, with many of the wooden Ottoman mansions being restored and turned into boutique hotels. No cars are allowed in the narrow streets of the old town so it is a good place to soak up the atmosphere around the charming harbour. The symbol of Antalya is the fluted minaret or Yivli Minare built by the Seljuks in the 13th century. There are plenty of interesting pieces in the Archaeological Museum, from the Palaeolithic Age right through to Ottoman times.
Antalya has a backdrop of stunning mountain scenery, and the city is set high on cliffs, with many of its grandest hotels overlooking the sea on the outskirts of the town. The beach area of Lara, approximately 12 km to the east is home to the best beach in the area, known for its golden sand, which is rapidly becoming a resort in its own right. To the west, the long pebble beach of Konyaaltı is also popular. Heading up into the mountains, you can make the most of the beautiful scenery by visiting the spectacular Düden or Kurşunlu waterfalls. At Saklıkent, just 50 km away from the city centre, you can even ski, where they usually have snow on the slopes until early April.
The most popular Historic Sites of Antalya Region:
Just 50 km east of Antalya, Aspendos was an important centre of trade during Roman times. Today, the most impressive aspect of Aspendos is her stunning theatre, which was built in approx. 162 AD. It seats 15,000 and has been beautifully preserved. Each year it hosts the Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival which takes place in June and July and gives you the opportunity to see performances of classics in a magnificent setting. The aqueduct, which supplied water to the city is also still relatively intact and is an impressive sight.
The three harbours of this Lycian port city were once a major commercial centre. In the shelter of Mount Tahtalı, it is a popular stopping off point for yachts, and its clear waters and sandy beaches are popular with sun-seekers. The remains are mostly Roman and include a theatre, baths, aqueducts, Hadrian's Gate, an agora and an acropolis.
Also known as Kale, the ancient city of Myra, is mostly famous for its connection with St. Nicholas, who was bishop here in the 4th century. His church is the focus of the annual ceremony which takes place to commemorate him on or around his feast day of 6th December. It is well worth seeing the Roman theatre which remains here, overlooked by spectacular rock tombs, dating from the 4th century BC.
Kaleici (Old Antalya)
Also known as Old Antalya, is the small historic section at the center of the sprawling modern city which was the Roman town and the Byzantine, then the Seljuk Turkish, finally the Ottoman Turkish town. The modern and huge city of Antalya didn't really start to appear until after World War II. Until then, Kaleici was Antalya, with its meandering streets, massive stone walls, and picturesque old houses built so close that they often overshadow the narrow lanes. Its many charming small boutique hotels, pensions and inns offer fine dining in an old-time atmosphere and comfortable, even luxurious accommodations. Kaleici surrounds and protects the old Roman harbour, which was Antalya's reason for being: even in Roman times, this was the outlet for the produce of the rich alluvial plain that beneath the southern slopes of the Taurus Mountains and stretches east from the city. Today Kaleici is a protected district with strict regulations on constructing new buildings and with preservation of historic buildings in the area. In Kaleici it is possible to see some fairly ugly modern buildings, but they are being eliminated as the possibilities arise. There are several entrances to Kaleici, but the most picturesque, historic and the most convenient one is Kalekapisi. Clock Tower Only the tower called “
Only the tower called “ Clock Tower “ has survived through the present day among the towers of the citadel surrounding the city of Antalya. In the past the total number of these towers was 80. In the period of the republic a beautiful Karaalioglu Park built on the cliffs. Next to the Karaalioglu Park , Hidirlik tower is situated on the cliffs. It is a two storied structure. While the upper floor has a circular plan, its lower floor has a square plan. This tower’s function was serving for has not been able to be understood. It is claimed to be lighthouse or mausoleum and dates back 2nd century A.D.
The old harbor of Antalya is a small bay surrounded by the cliffs. In the period of Seljuks its breakwaters were constructed. Today it is used as a marina. All kinds of services are provided to the small boats and yachts here. From this marina to the places in the near and far vicinity, boat tours are organized. Inside of the citadel ( the quarters ) surrounding this harbour were restored. Today, it serves its visitors with its pubs, cafes, restaurants, discos and numerous shops within an ambiance of 150 years before.
Yivli Minare Mosque
This mosque bears a rectangular plan and has six domes. With multiple domes it belongs to the mosque class. It doesn’t host any single decorative element. Until the construction of the new museum building was completed, it hosted Antalya Museum of Archaeology.
The first tomb belongs to Zincirkiran Mehmet Bey and dates back 1377. This is a vault in an octagonal plan. The second tomb which known as the tomb of Nigar Hanim is a small structure with a hexagonal plan.
Originally it was a Roman Temple and converted to Byzantine church with 5 naves in the form of a domed basilica in 5th century A.D. and was dedicated to Virgin Mary. Later it was made a mosque by Seyhzade ( Sultan’s Son ) Korkut in the first years of 16. century.
It is a monumental gate with three extended archways which was dedicated to the Roman emperor Hadrianus. The two sides which have survived through the present day as undamaged lean against the walls of citadel. In 1960 it was restored. There are Korinth style ( There are two or three rows of akanthus leaves on its lower and middle sections and there are helixes on the upper section which form volutes at the corners. This style of heading is the one most preferred in Roman monuments ) columns on both sides of the building and at the points corresponding to the rear sections of the arches, placed towards the outside of the building. All these columns are connected to the main structure by the lentos. Epistylos ( the upper part of the columns ) fingers of the arches and inside of the arches all bear rich decorations.
Antalya Archaeological Museum
This museum is one of the most important museums in Turkey and exhibits mainly the remains belonging to Antalya region, but there are also many monuments which were provided from the neighbor regions.
The best known and most easy to reach cave is Damlatas. This cave situated specifically at the point of connection of the peninsula with the land and on the west of the peninsula where Alanya citadel is located. Highly moist and tepid air inside the cave is believed to do good for the asthma. Shapes inside the cave and The stalagmites and stalactites in various colors are the formations which may inspire today’s artists, which exhibit the unequalled superiority of the nature in art, and which evoke admiration.