DID YOU KNOW
That Antalya is also known as “the paradise on earth”, “the pearl of the Mediterranean”, and “the Turkish Riviera”?
That the most magnificent and best- preserved ancient theatre Asia and Africa is the Aspendos Theatre in Antalya?
That, in addition to numerous archaeological cities and historic buildings, Antalya offers lots of waterfalls, caves and an endless beach?
That 15 of the world’s top 100 hotels are in Antalya, according to a worldwide survey of customer satisfaction conducted among 35 million people?
“That the world-class golf clubs of Antalya are among the favourites of internationally famous golfers?
That the city was visited by Attalos, and subsequently by queens and emperors such as Cleopatra and Hadrian?
That Antalya Museum is one of the world’s most important museums thanks to the ancient statues on display?
The turquoise shores of Antalya combine ancient cities whispering tales of history, myth and legend, met on either side by tranquil, emerald-green forests and the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean.
This is the perfect choice for a vacation surrounded by sea, sun, sand and more. Along with a cultural heritage deeply rooted in history, Antalya’s coves and highlands of unique beauty, pristine beaches, comfortable hotels and marinas, colourful entertainment venues, and art-filled festivals all make it a tourist destination that offers endless possibilities to its guests. These include the pleasure of sunbathing from sunrise to sunset; the natural thrill of outdoor sports in the grip of mother nature; the excitement of discovering national parks with their rich flora and fauna, ancient cities, museums and Kaleigi; the mystery of the mountains and the peaceful Mediterranean coves drawing you away; the romance of watching an opera outdoors under the stars at night; sampling the unique delicacies of Turkish cuisine and enjoying the party scene. Meeting the hospitable people of Antalya is just another part of the pleasant holiday experience.
In Antiquity, the coastal region where Antalya is located was known as “Pamphylia”, and prehistoric artefacts have been found here that date back to the Paleolithic Era. These lands are regarded as the area known in the Hittite Period as Arzava. The “Migration of Nations” which led to the destruction of the Hittite Empire towards the end of the 13th century BC resulted in the rise of a political structure consisting of city states in Antalya and its environs. From 560 to 546, the region was dominated by the Lydians, and then by the Persians, who had overthrown the Lydian State, until Alexander the Great subdued Anatolia in 334-333 BC. After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, the region came under the control of one of his generals, Antigonos, and it was ruled respectively by the Ptolemies and Seleucids after the battle of Ipsos in 301. King Attalos of Pergamum founded the city of “Attaleia” in the L2nd century BC in order to secure the southern and south-western shores of his kingdom and to create a naval base. Attaleia was independent for a short time following the fall of the Kingdom of Pergamum in 133 BC, but then fell into the hands of pirates. It was later incorporated into the Roman Empire in 77 BC. An important seaport, Attaleia hosted such figures as Pompeius in 67 BC, and Hadrian in 130 AD. The possession of the city was juggled between the Seljuks and Byzantines from the 7th century onward until Giyaseddin Keyhusrev made the city a part of the Seljuk Empire in 1207. Eventually Antalya was added to the Ottoman Empire by Yildirim Beyazit in 1391. The city significantly advanced in architecture and culture during both the Seljuk and Ottoman periods.
An ancient legend tells about the founding of Antalya: One day Attalos II summoned his servants and dispersed them on the four winds, saying, “Go and find me a place so beautiful that all the kings and rulers will covet it; go and find me the paradise on earth.” For months, the soldiers travelled to lands far and wide, and though they encountered many beautiful places, they could not find a place whose heavenly beauty could satisfy their king. That is, until they arrived in the lands where today’s Antalya is… Confronted with natural beauty in such abundance, they were convinced that this was the paradise that their king had described. They returned to Pergamum expeditiously to tell their king that they had found the paradise. Afterwards, Attalos naturally wanted to see the area for himself and followed his soldiers on a journey to the shores of the Mediterranean. Finally, they reached shore where the lushly forested foothills of the Taurus Mountains met the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. The king, seeing the fine yellow sand of the beaches blend with the blue of the sky and the deeper blue of the sea that reflected the green of the virgin forests was instantly spellbound. He immediately ordered that a city be built there, as he was convinced that it was the most beautiful spot in the world. In his honour the city built was named “Attaleia” (city/home of Attalos).
The city was subsequently visited by many individuals and travellers of historical importance – from Queen Cleopatra and Hadrian to Alaaddin Keykubat and Ataturk. They all concurred with the judgement of Attalos’ servants: Antalya is an earthly paradise. Attalos regarded the region as “heaven on earth” while Ataturk described it as “the most beautiful place in the world.” Evliya Çelebi informs us that foreigners expressed their astonishment with the exclamation “Ah Adalya!” referring to the name Antalya had then. Nowadays Antalya is known as “the pearl of the Mediterranean” and “the Turkish Riviera” being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Kaleiçi (Citadel), the old city centre of Antalya, combines the aesthetics of old and new, its charms surrounded inside and out by fortified walls. These walls, some of which have survived to this day, were built by the various civilizations that inhabited the city over a 2000-year period and there are 80 towers rising on them. Within the walls, the narrow streets that lead to the port are lined with traditional dwellings. The two or three-storey houses that face the street on one side and gardens on the other, perfectly reflect the atmosphere of old Antalya.
The ancient port of Kaleiçi is now used as a modern yacht harbour. The yacht harbour and old city together make a splendid view which has inspired numerous painters, writers and poets.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism was awarded the Golden Apple Tourism Oscar by FIJET (World Federation of Journalists and Travel Writers) in 1984 for the restoration project undertaken in Kaleiçi which is a protected area today. It is also the heart of Antalya and one of its most frequented areas with its historic buildings now converted into dining, accommodation and entertainment facilities, including hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, restaurants and bars. A walking tour takes you to all the historic buildings. There are also shops that sell local products, souvenirs and gift items, ideal mementos and presents for friends back home.
One of the best-preserved historic structures in Antalya, the gate was built in 130 AD in honour of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
As the city walls eventually enclosed the outer part of the gate, the entrance was left unused for many years, which is why it remains erect. There are three round arched openings for entry in the two storey structure. It is made of white marble except for the columns, and decorated with reliefs and engravings. On either side of the gate stand two towers. The southern Julia Sancta Tower was built of plain, block stones during the reign of Hadrian. The lower portions of the northern tower date to Antiquity while the upper portion was constructed during the Seljuk Period.
With the modern city on one side and the old city of Antalya on the other, Hadrian’s Gate fortified with its towers is literally a porthole into the city’s past. Standing before this gate, a symbol of harmony and the intermingling of artefacts from the civilizations existed one after the other through the ages, you can gaze around and imagine yourself on a journey back in time.
The Hidirlik Tower, built on square foundations with a cylindrical top, stands at the southernmost tip of the land walls. The large square mass in the middle of the tower has contributed to theories speculating that the structure was used for defence or for communication as a stage for a signal fire.
Kesik Minaret Mosque
This structure dating to antiquity was used as a mosque by §ehzade (Prince) Korkut, son of the Ottoman Sultan Beyazit II, with the addition of a minaret. The wooden upper portion of the minaret was damaged in a fire in the 19th century, and since then the remaining portion has been known as “Kesik (Truncated) Minaret”. The Kesik Minaret Mosque provides the visitors with the opportunity of seeing the architectural features of Antiquity, Ottoman and Seljuk periods altogether.
Yivli Minaret Complex
Located in the Kalekapisi Neighborhood, this complex contains the structures, such as the Yivli (Grooved) Minaret, the Yivli Minaret Mosque, the Giyaseddin Keyhusrev Madrasah, the Tomb of Nigar Hatun, Zincirkiran Tomb, Mevlevihane (lodge used by mevlevi dervishes) and a madrasah, which date to the Seljuk Period.
* Yivli Minaret: This 13th century Seljuk edifice is one of the earliest Islamic structures in Antalya. The base is made of cut stone while the body is made of brick and turquoise-blue porcelain tiles. The minaret has 8 vertical grooves in the body and has become a symbol of modern Antalya. Its balcony (şerefe) is accessible via a stairway with 90 steps and is approximately 38 metres high.
* Yivli Minaret Mosque: Immediately to the west of the minaret stands the oldest example of a multi-domed mosque in Anatolia, the Yivli Minaret Mosque, featuring a remarkable domed roof made of 6 semi-domes. The structure reflects the architectural features of Seljuk Period, but appears to be built utilizing materials from various periods.
* Giyaseddin Keyhusrev Madrasah:Commissioned by Atabey Armagan in 1230 in honor of Giyaseddin Keyhusrev, this madrasah is located opposite to the ruins of another Seljuk madrasah which also dates _ _ back to the 13th century.
* Tomb of Nigar Hatun: Situated to the north of Yivli Minaret Mosque the tomb has a hexagonal plan. The tomb, built in 1502, has typical Ottoman architectural features with quite plain decorations.
* Tomb of Zincirkiran Mehmet Bey: This tomb is situated in the upper garden to the north of Yivli Minaret. It was built in 1377 for Mehmet Bey, who was known as “Zincirkiran” (lit. the breaker of shackle) and who gave great struggles for Antalya throughout his life. Its general appearance reflects the Seljuk style. However, the plain fagades, windows and low level graves in the central internal space, also common features of Ottoman tombs, are noteworthy.
* Mevlevihane (Antalya State Fine Arts Gallery): This gallery, just to the west of the Tomb of Zincirkiran Mehmet Bey, is believed to have been commissioned by Alaaddin Keykubat in 1255, although its inscription has been lost. The building has been repaired several times and in 18th century tit came to be used as a Mevlevihane (lodge used by mevlevi dervishes). At present it serves art enthusiast as the “Antalya State Fine Arts Gallery”.
Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Mosque
Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Mosque is situated just behind the Clock Tower, and it was built towards the end of 16th century during the period of Ottoman Empire. It has a nearly square plan, covered with a large central dome, with three smaller domes arranged linearly. The mosque was built with rubble and cut stones, and has been repaired several times.
The madrasah, commissioned in 1250 by Celaleddin Karatay, Vizier of the Seljuks, is situated at Karadayi Street overlooking the yacht harbour. It is in the group of double- iwan (vaulted room) madrasahs. The building has mosque-like features and its mihrab is decorated with the rich geometric figures of Seljuk stone carving.
Its unique collection of artefacts shedding light on the entire history of the region renders the Antalya Museum one of the leading museums of the world. It was acknowledged as a specially commended museum by the Council of Europe in 1988 and granted with an award. Antalya Museum contains many distinguished works of art enlightening the history of the whole region. The museum’s chronologically and thematically ordered exhibition halls display the cultural history of the region in detail. There are numerous masterpieces on display which will attract your interest as they are the finest examples of their period.
The museum’s exhibition halls display prehistoric finds, statues of emperors, mosaics and icons, marble portraits, sarcophagi, ^ceramics, coins, and various ethnographic items from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods.
The Natural History and Pre-history Hall displays artefacts ranging from the fossils of extinct life forms from diverse geological ages to the findings of excavations carried out at Bronze Age archaeological sites such as Karain, Hacilar, Bademagaci, Karataş- Semahoyuk. The burial pot exhibited with the burial gifts would be very attractive to those discerning visitors. The burial pot, where the body laid in the foetal position, is considered indicative of the belief system of the era.
The Hall of Emperors displays the statues of Trajan, Hadrian and Septimus Severus, famous Roman Emperors of the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. These magnificent statues were found during the excavations at Perge, and they are believed to have been sculpted in local workshops during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.
The Museum also houses the copies of earlier statues, belonging to the Roman Period. During Antiquity various cities such as Perge and Side, which are close to the present day Antalya, were renowned for
their highly developed artistry in sculpture making. Admiration of the masterpieces of bygone ages led to the production of copies especially during the Roman Period. In any case the differing art styles are quite apparent to discern. While some of the female and male portraits were in a realist mode, where the features of particular individuals are stressed, others were sculpted in a more idealised style.
The different types of sarcophagi, grave steles and their fragments displayed in the museum expose the burial traditions and aesthetics of Anatolian and Mediterranean cultures. While most of them were crafted locally, the marble was brought from high quality quarries of Marmara Island as well as İscehisar quarry near Afyonkarahisar. The blocks of stones were elaborately carved, seeming to create an intricate lace.
The mosaics displayed at Antalya Museum are also noteworthy. One of them is known as the “Mosaic of Philosophers” which was found at the agora of the ancient city of Seleucia. The borders of the mosaic contain the depictions of famous orators, philosophers and mathematicians of Antiquity.
The museum also displays coins, artefacts found under water, icons, treasures and jewellery, ranging in date from Archaic Age to Ottoman Period. Furthermore, bone fragments believed to be the relics of St. Nicholas have always been the focus of attention for a large number of visitors. The Antalya Museum is also very rich in regards to Ottoman art, and the examples of master calligraphy such as hilye (an illuminated page with a written description of the physical features of Prophet Mohammed), naat (an illuminated page containing one of the famous poems written to honour the Prophet Mohammed), icazet (an illuminated certificate of master craftsman issued by his master on completion of apprenticeship), and katig (a collage of cuts of marbled paper and illuminated calligraphy), as well as other artefacts from religious orders and locally woven carpets, make a visit more than worthwhile.
Ataturk’s House Museum
Ataturk visited Antalya on three occasions, and in his first visit on 6 March 1930, he looked at the vista of snow-capped Beydaglari Mountains over the beach and sea from Erenkuş locality on the Lara Road, and said, “Without a doubt Antalya is the most beautiful place on earth”. Visitors to Antalya today share Ataturk’s feelings and thoughts, considering it a unique place where nature and cultural heritage merge.
The mansion dedicated to Ataturk to stay during his visits has been converted into a museum to commemorate his visits. The two-storey rectangular planned mansion serves the public as the Ataturk’s House Museum since 1986. On the ground floor there is an exhibition of photographic records of Ataturk’s visits to Antalya, a room equipped for audio-visual presentation of documentaries regarding Ataturk and Antalya, a dining hall and a bureau. On the upper floor there is a room where the personal belongings of Ataturk are on display. There are also meeting and study rooms and a bedroom as well as a special section where memorial coins and banknotes are on display.
CITIES OF ANTIQUITY
Antalya is like a paradise of ancient cities. Wherever you are in the province you can be sure that you are never far from ancient settlements. Therefore it is the most important stop in Anatolia for visitors who are keen on archaeology and history. To have a well rounded cultural tour, you should organise your trip beforehand with pre-planned priorities. If your holiday-time is limited, you should select the most well known settlements of antiquity and those closer to city. Of course you could also opt to participate in organised cultural tours.
Gulluk Mountain (Ancient City of Termessos)
On the road from Antalya to Korkuteli, turn left at the junction at the 24th kilometre, and follow the road climbing to Gulluk Mountain. At an altitude of 1050 metres you reach the remains at Gulluk Mountain (Termessos) National Park. The ancient city was built on a steep hillside clad with pine forest, which has helped it reach the present day intact and well-preserved, and become a tourist attraction.
The first ruins visible are the remnants of the city wall that can be seen on the road from Antalya to Korkuteli near Yenicekahve. The ruins extend to the summit of Gulluk Mountain. The principal structures are the agora, temples, theatre, cisterns, necropolis, column lined street, bouleuterion (council assembly hall) and the gymnasium. The most remarkable structure is the theatre. The well-preserved cavea of the theatre, with a capacity of 4200 spectators, provides a beautiful vista. The National Park covering a large forested area is an important ecotourism centre in the region with its clean air, and rich flora and fauna.
Ancient city of Perge is situated within the boundaries of Aksu, a town 17 kilometres east of the Antalya city centre. The city believed to be in existence during the Hittite Period and known as “Parha” became one of the most orderly cities of Anatolia during the Roman Period. The city became famous for its architecture and marble sculpting, and the statues unearthed during the excavations of the ancient city have rendered the Antalya Museum one of the most important collections of its type in the world.
The basis of the city plan of Perge is two main roads, one extending in an east- west direction, and the other in a north- south direction. The 15,000-seat theatre is quite well preserved. The two storey elaborately decorated stage building across the cavea was built during the 2nd century AD. The artefacts found there are today on permanent display at the “Hall of Perge Theatre” in the Antalya Museum. The excellence of those sculptures reflects the unique style of the Perge ecole of sculpting.
Another principal structure of the ancient city of Perge is the stadium, which is one of the best preserved antique stadia in Turkey. The stadium was built in the 2nd century BC to the north of the theatre, and the spectators’ section has a capacity of about 12,000 seats. Other social and cultural buildings reflecting the majesty of the city in Antiquity ^are the rectangular planned agora, high towers, monumental fountains, bathhouses and column lined streets.
Perge is also of importance for Christianity. The apostle St. Paul, one of the most important figures in Christianity, arrived in Perge during his missionary journeys through Aksu River. This is recorded in the New Testament, so the city and river are considered one of the hallowed grounds of Christianity.
Another ancient city where you can see the well preserved architectural features of Pamphylia is Sillyon. The city, inhabited between Antiquity and the Seljuk Period, was built on a hill in the midst of the plains to the north of Perge. The ruins can be reached via a stabilized road splitting off from the 29th kilometre of Alanya highway to the left. The ruins are scattered on the hilltop and on the western slopes. The monumental gate of the city is on the city walls here. The high quality stone masonry of the city walls, the ruins of dwellings, a church, and the structures from the Seljuk Period, such as a mosque and a cistern, make a visit particularly attractive. The ancient theatre and odeon can be seen on the southwestern slope of the hill.
Located about 48 km east of Antalya, within the boundaries of Serik County, Aspendos is renowned for its architectural structures such as aqueducts, temples, and the stadium. It was also renowned during Antiquity for its manufacture of decorative items and furniture, as well as for horse breeding and trading. Today Aspendos’ name is mostly associated with its world famous Aspendos Theatre.
According to its inscription, it was built during the reign of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180) by the architect Zeno, son of Theodoras. The scene building, stone paved orchestra, and the cavea with a seating capacity of approximately 15-20,000 spectators are the main components of the theatre. The top of cavea was lined with an arched portico. The building is one of the pinnacles of ancient architecture, and it has an excellent plan and superb acoustics. The building has an introverted appearance, and even the slightest tune touched in the orchestra can be heard loud and clear in every part of the cavea, even in the upper galleries. That feature found its way into the legend of the building of the theatre:
Once upon a time the king of the region decided to give his daughter as a bride to the citizen who had done the most beneficial deed for the country. Many asked for the princess’ hand in marriage, but only two of them passed the discerning criteria of the king. One of them had built an aqueduct that brought water to the city from far away, and the other had built a magnificent theatre for the city. The king first thought to give his daughter’s hand to the man who had built the aqueducts. However, his daughter who most probably fell in love with the other man, asked his father to visit the theatre once more before making up his mind. Father and daughter went together to the theatre, and climbed to the upper gallery. At the same time the architect was pacing the orchestra, oblivious to their presence, hands clasped behind his back and head bowed, while murmuring to himself, “The daughter of the king must be mine!”. Despite his very low voice, his words were clearly heard by the king, who was so impressed by the fantastic acoustics of the theatre that he gave the hand of his daughter to the architect. The couple’s marriage ceremony was also held in the theatre.
At present the theatre is the venue of the annual “Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival”. There is not much more that can be said about the Aspendos Theatre. It is a magnificent building unlike anything you have seen before.
Evdir Caravanserai, the first stop on the road heading north from Antalya, is a well preserved example of the caravanserais that provided accommodation to travellers during the age of camel caravans and horse drawn carriages. It is situated 18 km from the city centre and approximately 1 km east of the highway between Antalya and Korkuteli. The caravanserai is typical of summertime houses built during the reign of Seljuk Empire in 13th century. Four porticos surround a central courtyard, and the building’s superb masonry and its carved pointed-arch portal are remarkable.
This caravanserai is located on Pinarbaşi, near Kirkgoz, which is situated on the road from Antalya to Afyonkarahisar, 30 km from the city centre. It was the second stop for caravans after Evdir Caravanserai, and it has reached the present day in a well- preserved state.
Antalya lies along the slopes of the Taurus Mountains, and it boasts numerous caves and caverns. About 500 caves have been recorded, and several remarkable caves, such as Karain, Kocain, Geyikbayiri, Konakalti, Kugukdipsiz, Papazkayasi, Yerkopru, Beldibi and Buyuk Dipsiz, are only a short distance from the city. The internationally renowned Karain Cave is an important stop for nature lovers.
Karain Cave is located 30 km northwest of Antalya, within the borders of Yagca Village which is situated 5-6 km off the old road between Antalya and Burdur. Besides its attractive natural features, it is also remarkable as one of the oldest human settlements in Anatolia. Archaeological excavations conducted in the cave have unearthed artefacts from the Early, Middle and Late Stone ages, and Chalcolithic and Bronze ages as well as traces of later eras. Continuous human habitation has created an 11 metre-thick layer of cultures. Nevertheless the cave is principally known as one of the most important settlements of the Early Stone Age; among the Early Stone Age settlements in Anatolia and the Mediterranean Region, the cave in Karain must be considered of prime importance. The artefacts recovered from the cave which was used in later periods as a temple, are on public display in the Museum of Karain and the Antalya Museum.
Upper Duden Waterfall
Your visit to Antalya’s magnificent landscape must include a trip to one of its resplendent waterfalls, each of which is a natural wonder. The Upper Duden Waterfall, which is located on the Duden River, 10 km north of the city centre, is almost a part of heaven. The waters spring from the Kirkgoz locality and the stream drops down from 20 metres height. At the lower level the stream forms a pool amid the magnificent green scenery, a pool used by generations as a recreation and picnic area.
Legend has it that Alexander the Great visited the region and watered his horses in this waterfall’s pool. Therefore some call the waterfall the “Alexander Waterfall”. There are many large and small facilities providing services to visitors to the waterfall, which can be reached by public transport vehicles, such as buses and minibuses as well as by private vehicles.
Lower Duden Waterfall
The lower waterfall, just 8 km from the city centre of Antalya, is also known as “Karpuzkaldiran” (lit. watermelon lifter). The waterfall is situated on the road to Lara, where the Duden River reaches the sea, and its drop height is greater than the upper fall, dropping from a height almost 40 metres to create a gigantic water spray and cloud of mist over the sea. Genclik Parki (Youth Park) is just nearby and forms the ideal vantage point. If you have a chance, we advise you to watch the falling waters from a boat out at sea.
Kurşunlu Waterfall is a unique place where a cascade connecting seven ponds falls over an 18-metre height against a backdrop of green nature. The rich flora and fauna of its environs make it the prime location for ecotourism activities such as nature walking, and plant and animal life observation. Walking at Kurşunlu, amidst the unique atmosphere scented with blackberries, wild roses, and the aromas of many other plants, might lead to a chance of encountering with rabbits, squirrels, woodpeckers, tortoises or other small animals.
Pristine air and enchanting scenery compel many visitors to the nature park for daily trips of recreation and picnics. There are viewing terraces, playgrounds, car park and other amenities available for visitors.
Kepezalti and Kepezustu
Kepezalti and Kepezustu are located 8-10 km from the centre of Antalya, and both feature the green wonders of nature organised to accommodate daily trips for recreation and picnics. There is an interesting zoo at Kepezalti, and fish and duck breeding facilities near the Kepezustu picnic area. The most impressive feature of Kepezustu is its magnificent vista. From the viewing platform, the whole city of Antalya and its environs are literally rolled out as an intricately designed carpet under your feet.
Duzlerçamı – Güver Uçurumu
Duzlerçami is an ideal place for picnics and nature walking with its clean air and green forests. The most impressive part is the canyon called Guver Ucurumu (Guver Cliff). The canyon has been carved out over one million years by the rushing river, creating the charming scenery. The canyon is115 metres deep, and continues for 4.5 km, separating three mountains. The stream is now far more tranquil, and from certain vantage points of the canyon a panoramic view of Antalya can be seen.
Karaalioglu Park is one of the oldest parks in Antalya, and it is situated on the shore cliffs near the city centre. Located next to the Kaleiçi (Citadel), the park complements its historical features with the lush green appearance, and provides a refuge from the heat to cool down and have a rest on the terrace lined with pine and palm trees overlooking the deep blue of the Mediterranean. The park harbours more than 100 plant species, and if you wish you may have a dip in the sea there too. The Adalar Beach is just below the cliff.
SEA, SUN AND SAND
The prime tourism centre of Turkey, Antalya’s coastline extends 640 miles. The coast is intricately carved with small coves, and provides the best enjoyment of Mediterranean Sea, sun and sand. Its magnificent natural beauty harbours the world’s best accommodation and entertainment facilities. Most of the beaches of Antalya have been awarded blue flags for their cleanliness, orderliness, and superb service quality, and they are visited by millions every year. Many water born sports activities such as windsurfing, water skiing, boarding, and parasailing are available to visitors.
Located about 3 km west of Antalya the. Konyaalti Beach is regularly visited by sun and sea loving domestic and foreign visitors. There are public beaches along the coast, and there are also beaches operated by private companies that provide catering, ‘ shopping, accommodation, water sports, and entertainment services.
Located about 12 km east of Antalya, this fine beach is draped in front of a pine forest. Like Konyaalti, there are public beaches as well as many facilities providing catering and entertainment services.
One of the most famous beaches of Antalya is Topgam, which is also used as a recreation and picnic area. It is located to the west of the city centre, and can be reached by road in approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Also situated along a forested coast, the beach lies just opposite the Sigan Island, and there are suitable diving spots in the vicinity.
Mermerli and Adalar Beaches
These are smaller and quieter beaches than Konyaalti and Lara. Adalar Beach is near Karaalioglu Park and has a rocky coast while Mermerli Beach is just below the Mermerli Park. Both beaches have several facilities serving their visitors.
KALEİÇİ YACHT HARBOUR AND BOAT TOURS
Antalya is one of the most important tourism centres of the Mediterranean Sea, and has a yacht harbour in the city centre at Kaleiçi. The harbour has been in use since the foundation of the ancient city of Attaleia in the 2nd century BC. A wide range of services are provided at the harbour for visiting yachts, including accommodation, catering, mooring, potable water, shore power, daily weather forecasts, cleansing, bilge pump-out and collection of solid waste.
Boat trips are one of the most enjoyable summer holiday options and are offered daily during the season in Antalya. Besides serving the private yachts, the Kaleiçi Yacht Harbour provides yachts and boats for trips on local routes. There are various boat trips departing the harbour and leading to the waterfalls, cliffs, sea-caves, beaches, coves, ancient cities, and the islands peppering the coast of Antalya. The boats provide the highest comfort to visitors, including food and beverages as well as onboard entertainment. In addition to daily trips, there are moonlight trips under the starry night sky. Boat trips give you the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful coast of Antalya from out at sea, and to take pictures that make a lasting record of your experiences. Apart from taking part in the organised daily trips, which are designed to create a truly special experience, you can also charter boats individually or as a small group in order to arrange longer private voyages. All modern comforts are provided in these customer oriented tours where you can decide the route and waypoints to enjoy diving and surfing.
The westernmost extension of the Taurus Mountains is known as the Bey Mountains, and lies in a north-south direction along the western shore of the Gulf of Antalya. With their remarkable geographical and geologic features, and several peaks ranging between 2000 and 3000 metres in altitude, these mountains have magnificent scenery that makes them exciting venues for mountaineering and nature sports.
These natural features provide excellent opportunities for nature walks, trekking, rock and mountain climbing, spelunking, paragliding, and mountain biking.
Kizlar Sivrisi, with an altitude over 3000 metres, is one of the important summits of the Bey Mountains. The first stage in the journey to the summit is arrival at the Çamçukuru Plateau off the highway between Antalya and Elmali. The walk and climb starts from there and the scenery constantly changes during the ascent. The panoramic view over Antalya and the Mediterranean Sea are worth all the effort of climbing. The ascent and descent can be completed in a single day.
Mount Tahtali, Mount Bakir, and Teke Summit are among the other important peaks of the Bey Mountains. Saklikent and its environs are also frequently used for mountaineering and trekking because of its close proximity to the city.
Excursions and mountaineering on Bey Mountains can be carried out throughout the year. However, spring and summer are preferred as the flora is richest and the climate is most suitable during these seasons.
Saklikent Ski Resort
Despite being known for its kilometres of fine beaches, which have earned it the title of ‘the Turkish Riviera’ and made it a prime
destination for sun, sea and sand, Antalya also offers many opportunities for winter tourism activities. It may be surprising, but
top-class skiing is just around the corner! The Saklikent Ski Resort, high up in Bey Mountains, about 50 km northwest of the city centre, offers most winter sports. The facilities are just an hour and half by road from Antalya. The centre offers regular pistes where skiers of varying levels of competency can enjoy the sport, as well as motel accommodation, cafeteria, chair lifts, teleskis and equipment hire. If you visit Antalya during winter or spring, Saklikent offers you excellent options for winter sports.
The cliffs with the most suitable diving spots lie along the coast between the Konyaalti and Lara beaches. With depths varying between 15 and 25 metres these natural wonders provide attractive diving spots. One of the renowned spots is just under the hairpin descent towards Konyaalti Beach. Easy access to the cliffs, which continue underwater as a vertical wall, makes it an ideal diving spot from which the enchanting marine life can also be viewed.
This small island laying 1 km offshore of Topçam Beach also attracts the attention of divers. While the bottom of shore facing Topçam Beach is sandy and shallow, the other shore’s bottom is quite steep and rocky. That shore is attractive to divers who relish the opportunity to explore the mysterious underwater world of the Mediterranean Sea. There is a small cave in the east side of the island. Wind occasionally causes quite strong wave action at Sigan Island, and it is quite popular for daily boat trips. Consequently, there is busy boat traffic around the island.
Submerged French (High Society) Wreck
The wreck of the French warship “San Didier”, which sank in 1942, is 1 km off the Antalya Yacht Harbour. During the salvage work carried out in 1946 and in 1974, most of the cargo was taken out. However it still attracts the attention of divers. In order to make a dive a permit from the Governor’s Office and the Coast Guard Branch Office must first be obtained. As it is in close proximity to the entrance of the yacht harbour, particular attention should be paid to the busy boat traffic as is the case in Sıçan Island.
Water parks undoubtedly constitute one of the most enjoyable of summer activities. Antalya offers numerous water parks i presenting ample opportunities for fun and excitement. These water parks, which may appear under different names, all offer water slides, artificial waterfalls, game pools, wave and flow pools, swimming pools, wellness pools and pools especially designed for children. If you are an adrenaline enthusiast, you could try the waterslides and surf pools. The entertainment centres provide live shows as well as dolphin and
sea-lion shows, and facilities such as restaurants, cafes, bars, and baby friendly parks. In short, the water parks of Antalya provide every comfort to visitors with a view to meeting every possible demand for customer satisfaction in the cool and enchanted world of water, far away from the scorching sun and heat. Looking for a holiday far away from your frantic business lives? Do not forget to add the water parks of Antalya to your itinerary…
OTHER SPORTS ACTIVITIES IN ANTALYA
Antalya together with its counties has a lively sports life. Antalya, strengthening its position in the international arena of land, air and water sports year by year, organizes Europe-wide and world-wide events in many fields of sports such as golf, sailing, rally, football, beach volley. Belek has quickly become a new hot destination for international golfers, while the sky over Kaş is known as a paragliding heaven, and Koprulu Canyon is renowned for rafting – a real adrenalin rush. The clean air and pristine nature of the Taurus Mountains provide ample opportunities for eco-tourism activities such as nature walking, trekking, and jeep safari. There are walking and biking tours along the ancient Lycian Way, and the mysterious path of St. Paul can also be traced on foot.
There are several congress centres in Antalya, most attached to resorts or large hotels, fully equipped with excellent facilities providing complete service for large scale meetings such as congresses, conferences, seminars, symposiums, panel discussions, and fairs throughout the year. These centres offer gigantic halls that can be used as exhibition or fair halls as well as smaller multi-purpose halls. They offer fully staffed lighting, audio, music, projection, video wall, multi-vision and broadcasting systems as well as information and simultaneous translation services. Cam Piramit Sabanci Congress and Exhibition Center, Antalya Expo Center and Antalya Cultural Centre are the principal venues for congresses and exhibitions. In addition, there are many luxurious hotels providing specially designed halls for large scale meetings which are fully equipped with the latest technologies meeting all possible needs. Antalya with its modern facilities is the most important regional centre for international conferences year round.
Arts play an important role in the life of Antalya. Antalya is distinguished from other tourist destinations by its numerous artistic activities such as movies, theatres, opera and ballet, and houses several art galleries. The State Fine Arts Gallery (Mevlevihane) located within the Yivli Minaret Complex must be visited by every art lover. It is the most important centre for artistic activities, featuring open air and in-house exhibitions of paintings, sculpture, as well as other arts and crafts. Also the Antalya Museum Art Gallery, the Metropolitan Municipality Cultural Center, the Chamber of Architects Art Gallery, the Antalya Cultural Center Art Gallery, the TOMER Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of the Suna-İnan Kirac Mediterranean Civilizations Research Institute serve visitors, and there are many other art galleries privately owned or run by associations and societies. ANSAN (Antalya Artists’ Association) Art Gallery, Falez Art Gallery, Orkun-Ozan Art Gallery, Art House Art Gallery, Bohem Art Gallery, and Caricature Street where caricature exhibitions are displayed are among the other principal art galleries that can be visited in Antalya.
In Antalya, festivals merge tourism with cultural activities. Most of the participants in the festivities are foreign visitors. Among all the internationally renowned festivals of Antalya, the “Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival” and “Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival” are the most prominent ones.
Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival
The main venue of the festival is the archaeological site of the theatre, and the mystical atmosphere of the venue brings together thousands of enthusiasts, the majority of whom are foreign visitors. Since 1998 the festival has acquired an international character and is known as one of the best opera festivals in the world. Therefore the participants of the festival are world-renowned artists. The importance and effectiveness of the festival is due to the fact that it brings together diverse cultures under the universal language of art, and no little part is played by the historical grandeur of its venue. The Aspendos Theatre is a gigantic structure which was built two millennia ago for plays and other artistic activities. The present day festival might not boast that long history but the majestic beauty of the historical masterpiece inherited from Antiquity adds a special meaning to the artistic activities performed there.
Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival
Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival has been held annually since 1964, with awards in three categories: movies, short films and documentaries. It is a grand festival encompassing events such as film showings, piano recitals and poetry readings, along with diverse other activities. The festival presenting visitors with a chance to meet many artists and celebrities plays an important role in the movie world, and it is a must in the itineraries of any movie lover.
Antalya has a very rich cuisine. As the coastal plain provides fresh vegetables while the inner parts of the province produce cereals, the local cuisine has a wide variety and rich tastes. Therefore, local dishes of Antalya are an important part of the Turkish cuisine, which is considered one of the three most important cuisines of the world. Luscious soups, various fish dishes and grilled kebabs, numerous vegetable dishes and salads, delicious desserts and drinks are offered to visitors by many restaurants and cafes scattered around the enchanting atmosphere of the city. More modest establishments and genuine rural eateries serving visitors in an authentic environment provide excellent dishes and should be considered seriously.
Examples from the world cuisine can also be found in Antalya. The hotels of Antalya with an international reputation provide dishes and menus from eastern, western, southern or northern cuisines. Hotels also have high quality cafes and bars providing a rich selection of drinks.
Visitors can find shops and stands selling local souvenirs and traditional handcrafts at Kaleiçi as well as the other market places of Antalya. There are many alternative souvenirs available to choose for your loved ones. There are also many shops and modern shopping centres along the promenade.
The Best Hotels of the World
Antalya is considered one the greatest destinations in the Mediterranean, with an unparalleled variety of tourist activities, and it is also considered to have one of the world’s best stocks of accommodation. A survey of international customer satisfaction conducted among 35 million visitors over the world found out that 15 of the world’s best 100 hotels are in Antalya. The results prove beyond doubt that Antalya is a world class tourist destination that generates high customer satisfaction. There are hundreds of 5-star hotels in the city, including several super-luxurious hotels. Those hotels are entertainment centres providing all types of entertainment venues. High quality service is the norm of the facilities which makes visitors feel themselves special, and Antalya embraces visitors in the comforts of luxury.
Of course Antalya does not only offer luxurious hotels; there are various accommodations catering to every budget and taste. In the city centre and along the coast the options of holiday resorts, motels and lodging houses, apartments and boutique hotels, and self-catering bungalows are available. Even with the ample choices of accommodation in Antalya, it is still necessary to make an early booking. During the summer season finding vacant accommodation can be quite difficult.
Antalya can be reached by highways from all parts of Turkey and the international airport provides easy access for domestic and foreign visitors. The International Antalya Airport is 13km from the city centre, and there are regular coach services to the city centre. Taxis are available and there is access for private cars. The comfortable and secure Antalya Airport provides 24-hour services such as tourism information, tour operators and travel agents, banks, medical facilities, food and drink and duty-free shops. The art gallery at Antalya Airport with a permanent exhibition of visuals of Turkey and Antalya surrounds the visitors with the enchanting atmosphere of Anatolia.
Just Spring and Summer
Antalya’s prevailing climate is the Mediterranean climate. Winters are temperate and rainy, and summers are hot and dry. The winters are like spring, and the spring resembles summer, and the average air and seawater temperatures are listed below:
Air Sea Water
Temperature (°C) Temperature (°C)
* DO NOT LEAVE ANTALYA UNLESS
You have visited the old city centre, Kaleiçi (Citadel), and Antalya Museum,
You have visited Aspendos Theatre, Hadrian’s Gate, Yivli Minaret,
Karain Cave, Duden and Kurşunlu waterfalls,
You have enjoyed the panoramic view of Antalya and Mediterranean from Kepezustu,
You have taken part in a boat trip,
You have enjoyed one of the water parks,
You have tasted the local cuisine,
And you have shopped for authentic souvenirs for your loved ones at Kaleiçi.
IMPORTANT TELEPHONE NUMBERS AND WEB ADDRESSES
Tel: (+90 242) 243 97 91-93-94
Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism
Tel: (+90 242) 247 76 60
Tourism Information Office
Tel: (+90 242) 247 76 60
Tel: (+90 242) 238 56 88-89
Tel: (+90 242) 310 55 00 (Pbx) – 330 36 00
Antalya Bus Terminal
Tel: (+90 242) 331 12 50
TURSAB (Association of Turkish Travel Agencies)
Tel: (+90 242) 243 19 96
AKSAV (Antalya Culture & Art Foundation)
Tel: (+90 242) 238 54 44 (Pbx)
Health Emergency : 112
Police : 155
Gendarmerie : 156
Fire : 110