One of the oldest parts of Antalya and the central point. The Pergamon King Attalos founded Antalya, and it is believed that the name of the city derives from Attalos. Antalya lies along the Mediterranean Sea and is situated in southern Turkey. It has always been a significant port city and a harbor for sailors throughout history. The Turkish Empire Seljuks made Antalya the winter capital city rather than Konya. The Seljuks built defense walls all around the city, and they still can be seen today. Within the old city, there are many ancient Turkish houses with “cumba” an oriel window. The old townhouses some other historical remaining, such as; The Hadrian Gate, built by the Romans on behalf of Emperor Hadrian upon his visit to Antalya I 130 AD. The gate has three arches and corinthian style. Hıdırlık Tower, built-in 2C AD by the Romans and is located on the southwest of the Old Town, by the cliffs’ dominating spot. Tower has a small room on the first floor, and in the upper gallery, there is an observation spot where they could follow the ships or any reaching invasion to the city. The Clock Tower, once Antalya surrounded by a defense wall, but there is a small part that exists today. They renovated the last part of the defense wall and added a clock in honor of Sultan Abdulhamid to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his ascent to the throne. While walking down to the water, the ancient port is coming where we stop for a while and rest while following the ships and breathing Mediterranean fresh air.
The Konyaaltı Beach has located in western Antalya and 10 km. from the city center. In ancient times, the beach was in Lycia civilization, and the ancient name was Olbia. Today, Konyaaltı Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Turkey and the Mediterranean Sea. With many resort hotels, bars, cafes and water sports, the beach attract the visitor.
You can book Antalya Old City Tour with Romos Travel.
Myra was founded during the Hellenistic period as part of the Lycian Union, and since it was one of the 6 biggest cities, it was eligible to give 3 votes. Myra is also where St. Nicholas had been lived and died, who also known as “Santa Claus.” Saint Nicholas was born in 300 AD in Patara, then moved to Myra, where he was a bishop. There is a church on behalf of his name where he is buried. Saint Nicholas is known as the protector of the kids and the sailor. Saint Nicholas died on 6 December 365 AD when he was 65.
Since Myra was a harbour city, the wealthy people came from all over the Mediterranean and made it a vibrant and cultural city. You can see typical Lycian architecture in Myra, the rock tombs carved on the cliffs and built the Roman theatre. After the Arab raids, Myra lost its importance, and in the following centuries, Myra passed to the Ottoman Empire.
Although Pilinius in 1C AD first mentioned Simena, it dates back to 4C BC, where we learn from Lycian inscriptions and silver coins. Simena was part of the Lycian Union and was represented the city Aperlai.
After Anatolia became part of the Roman Empire, Simena sustained its independence. When approaching the shore, a Roman bath comes first, which was built in 79 BC. Lycian cities are famous for the rock tombs and sarcophaguses, which you can see in Simena.
The Lycians built a theater that has a 300 person capacity and a temple which was converted into a church, later a mosque. Most of the sarcophaguses are in the water.
Kaleiçi, in the heart of Antalya, is a horseshoe-shaped district surrounded by walls on both the inside and outside that are home to boutique hotels, historical artifacts, museums, specially designed stores, stylish cafés, and restaurants. It is well documented that walls were a staple of the construction industry during the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman eras. Inside the fortifications, you’ll find about 3000 homes with tile roofs. However, the Ottoman influence can be seen in the architecture of Kaleiçi outside the city walls. Houses with distinctive architecture not only provide insight into Antalya’s building history but also accurately portray the local way of life, customs, and traditions.
Hadrian’s Gate (Hadrian Kaps) is a gateway into Kaleiçi. When compared to other ancient structures in Antalya, this gate is in remarkably good shape. The structure, dedicated to the Roman emperor Hadrian and completed around 130 CE, is a Roman edifice.
The Yivli Minaret Complex (Yivli Minare Külliyesi) is one of Kaleiçi’s most recognizable landmarks. Kulliye is an area with some Seljuk-era structures. The Yivli Minaret, Yivli Mosque (Yivli Cami), Gyaseddin Keyhüsrev Madrasah (Gyaseddin Keyhüsrev Medresesi), Selçuklu Madrasah (Selçuklu Medresesi), Mevlevi Lodge (Mevlevihane), Zincirkran Turbah (Zincirkiran Türbesi), and Antalya’s Yivli Minaret were among the city’s earliest mosques. It was constructed by the Seljuks in the eighth century.
You can find the Historical Marina near Kaleiçi, to the south. The marina, located in the protected bay, is home to dozens of cruise ships. Daily tours of the cliffs and waterfalls are possible with these boats.
Karatay Madrasa is another notable structure in the area (Karatay Medresesi). It’s remarkable to see the niches in the madrasa and the intricate designs on the mihrab.
Among the significant locations in Kaleiçi is Karaalioglu Park. The total land area of Karaalioglu Park is 140,000 square meters. Three streets are running east to west parallel to the sea in the park, each of which ends in a viewing terrace overlooking the water. The flora of Antalya is reflected in Karaaliplu Park’s abundance of tree, plant, flower, and bird species.
You can find the significant Hidirlik Tower (Hidirlik Kulesi) in Karaalioglu Park. The tower, which dates from the 2nd century and was part of the Kaleiçi Walls, is located in the city’s southwest corner. Its base is square, its peak is cylindrical, and it towers 14 meters into the air.
Humanity’s Long-Lost Urban Centers
Perge is 18 kilometers (km) east of Antalya’s downtown. The incredible strategic value of the city’s location can be attributed in large part to the presence of the Aksu (Kestros) River (Aksu Nehri). In addition, it was the city’s main source of irrigation water.
The Antalya Museum (Antalya Müzesi) has a lot of important artifacts that were found when the city was being dug up.
It’s a great idea to start your trip to Perge with a walk along the large fortifications built by Alexander the Great.
Don’t leave Perge Ancient City (Perge Antik Kenti) without checking out the city’s famous aqua duct, colonnaded street, watchtower, Roman bath, agoras, double-door shops, the monumental theater that can seat 12,000 people, floor-to-ceiling mosaics, and horseshoe-shaped stadium.
Termessos, 30 kilometers (km) to the northwest of Antalya, is one of Turkey’s best-preserved ancient cities. The city’s natural beauty and historical artifacts led to their inclusion in the purview of a National Park.
Termessos is in the Milyas section of the Pisidia region and is famous for the resistance of the Termessians during the siege by Alexander the Great. The city was established by the Solym, one of the oldest civilizations in Anatolia. After the Byzantine era, no information about the city can be found in the sources.
Phaselis, which is about 58 kilometers southwest of Antalya and 18 kilometers southwest of Kemer, was established by Rhodes colonists in the seventh century BCE. Due to its strategic location, the city is a major seaport. There are three ports in the metropolis: one in the northern part of the peninsula, another in the northeast, and a third on the southwestern coast.
In 333 BCE, Alexander the Great was welcomed with a golden crown, which was one of the city’s most important events.
After being damaged during the Seljuk siege of the 12th century, the Byzantine city of Phaselis, which had been under their rule in the 5th and 6th centuries, was abandoned beginning in the 13th. Most of the structures from the Roman and Byzantine eras have been preserved. These can be found lining the streets on both the north and south sides of the city’s main axis. Between the theater and the agora, the street widens into a mini-square. The theater and the acropolis can be reached via the steps in the southeast corner of the square. The theater is representative of a small-scale venue from the Hellenistic era.
Located on the southwestern coast of Antalya, not far from Phaselis, is the city of Olympos. Situated 45 km from the heart of the Kemer district and 85 km from the center of Antalya, it is easily accessible. Named after the 2,375-meter-high Tahtali Mountain (Tahtali Dagi), which is located 16 kilometers to the north of the city and is one of the western extensions of the Toros Mountains (Toros Dağlari), the city is located in the Tahtali Valley. Beydaglari-Olympos National Park (Beydaglari-Olympos Milli Park) encompasses this area. No one knows for sure when the city was established.
The temple gate is a well-known city landmark that is only 150 meters west of where the river meets the sea. The Antalya Museum has found a lot of interesting things, but the Tomb of Captain Eudomus (Kaptan Eudomos Mezari) is one of the most interesting.
Located three hundred meters inland from the shore to the east of Olympos, the Cirali settlement is well-known for its beautiful beach, where Caretta Carettas lay their eggs, and its coastal dunes, which are home to many different species of plants.
Myra Ancient City (Myra Antik Kenti) was built on the plain with the same name. It is about 200 kilometers southwest of Antalya’s city center and 45 kilometers southeast of Kas.
The Lycian rock tombs, Roman theater, and Byzantine Saint Nicholas Church (Aziz Nikolaos Kilisesi) are the three most well-known structures from the Ancient City of Myra (Santa Claus).
Due to earthquakes, floods, the alluvium brought by the Demre Stream (Demre Cayi), and Arab raids, Myra lost its importance after the seventh century and had declined to a village by the 12th century. The rock tombs on either side of the theater on the acropolis’s southern edge are all that remains of this structure now. In addition to the well-preserved Roman walls, research shows that parts of the Hellenistic city walls can still be seen on and around the acropolis hill.
Since St. Paul and his companions stopped in Myra, the capital of the Lycian state, in the fifth century AD, Christians all over the world hold the former city in the highest regard.
Place of Worship and Museum of St. Nicholas
Saint Nicholas, who was born in Patara in the second half of the third century AD and rose to the rank of bishop in Myra, was canonized after his death because of his illustrious religious career. Many countries in Europe and the former Russian Empire came to think of Saint Nicholas as their patron saint.
Saint Nicholas was a secular figure at first, but he became part of the Santa Claus tradition in northern Europe. This made him a semi-religious figure that children all over the world loved.
Byzantine art historians consider the St. Nicholas Church (Aziz Nikolaos Kilisesi) to be the finest surviving example of Middle Byzantine Period architecture and decoration. Myra (Demre) was the capital of the Lycian state in the fifth century CE, and its archbishop was the second most powerful religious authority in all of Anatolia after the Bishop of Constantinople. Both of these factors contributed to the city’s rise to prominence following Saint Nicholas’s death.
The small Lycian coastal city of Simena, now known as Kaleköy, can be found between the districts of Kas and Demre, 195 kilometers southwest of Antalya. The area was occupied continuously from the fourth century BCE to the present day, making it an important strategic stronghold throughout that period. Among the ruins, the castle that is still standing best exemplifies this quality. The most beautiful panoramas of Kekova and its surroundings can be seen from this castle.
The Kekova region is made up of the 7.4-kilometer-long island that is 500 meters from the shore and right across from Simena, Teimiussa (Ucagiz), Aperlai Pier (Sicak Iskelesi), Aquarium Bay (Akvaryum Koyu), and Gokkaya Bay (Gokkaya Koyu).
Stone stairs, house ruins, and pier ruins, half of which extend to depths of 4–5 meters, can be found on the northern shores of Kekova Island (Kekova Adas), which overlooks Simena and was partially submerged in the earthquakes of ancient times. The town of Simena sits on the peninsula opposite Kekova Island. Between Kaleköy and Uçagiz, among the small islets that were used as stone quarries for sarcophagi, you can see the remains of the road and dock that were submerged toward the shore.
Limyra Ancient City (Limyra Antik Kenti) is located 108 kilometers southwest of Antalya’s city center, within the borders of Finike district. It includes the acropolis on the southern slopes of Tocak Mountain (Tocak Dagi), where the early buildings are, and the area inside the Roman and Byzantine walls, just south of it on the plain, which is now separated by a road.
The acropolis made up of an inner castle and a lower castle can be found in the northernmost part of the ancient city. The ramparts, cisterns, Byzantine church, and Pericle Heroon can all be found in the lower castle. This theater is at the base of the Acropolis. It was built during the Hellenistic period and got a lot of work done in the year 141.
Some of Lycia’s most impressive rock tombs can be found in Limyra. More than 400 rock tombs dot the ancient city, and many have been identified thanks to Lycian inscriptions bearing their names.
Located 30 kilometers north of Finike district center and 140 kilometers southwest of Antalya city center, Arykanda Ancient City (Arykanda Antik Kenti) is named Arykanda, which means “the place next to the high rock” in the Lycian language. As one of the oldest cities in the area, Arykanda can take pride in having a name that philologically reflects the native Anatolian language. Other than a 2,000-year-old stone ax, it’s hard to piece together the city’s history before the fifth century BCE based on archaeological evidence.
We know that by the second century BCE, Arykanda, a city in the Lycian Union, was minting its coins. Following the dissolution of the Lycian Union by Emperor Klaudius in 43 CE, the Lycian Region became a province along with Pamphylia, and Lycia itself was annexed by Rome. During Byzantine rule, the city was called Akalanda or Orykanda. After a terrible earthquake in 240 CE, part of the city was rebuilt.
Dating back to 3000 BCE, Xanthos was the ancient capital of Lycia and the largest administrative center in the region. Letoon was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988, along with Xanthos. At the time, it was one of the most important religious centers.
Location: East of the provincial border between Mugla and Antalya, separated by the Esen Stream, within Antalya, near the town of Kinik. This is where Sarpedon lived and where a poem to Prince Hector during the Trojan War was written. Four or five kilometers to the west of Xanthos is the town of Letoon, which is located in the Mugla district of Seydikemer.
Both Xanthos and Letoon, with their rich archaeological histories, are worthy of inclusion as part of the World Heritage List. Stone inscriptions containing some of the longest and most significant texts written in Lycian can be found in these towns, which are remarkably close to one another.
With a seating capacity of 2200, the Xanthos Theater (Xanthos Tiyatrosu) is a popular venue in Xanthos. The Roman Agora square is right next to the ancient theater, which was built during the Hellenistic period and fixed up during the Roman period.
There are 36 seats in the theater, inscriptions, a basilica, three temples, a round portico attached to the imperial cult building, and an L-shaped stoa at the 1840-discovered Letoon sanctuary. There was a temple dedicated to Leto and another dedicated to her divine twins, Apollo and Artemis. Leto Temple, to the west, is the largest of these buildings. Towards the east stands the doric-style Temple of Apollo (Apollo Tapna). The Temple of Artemis, which is significantly smaller than the other two, stands between the two larger temples. The lower levels of the buildings are now submerged because the water level has risen since ancient times.
Patara Ancient City (Patara Antik Kenti) is one of the most important and oldest cities in Lycia, and it can be found about 40 kilometers west of Kas and about 200 kilometers west of Antalya’s city center, at the southwestern end of the Xanthos Valley. Archaeologists have been digging up the ruins of Patara’s ancient city since 1988. This makes it important not only for its historical and cultural value but also because it is one of the few beaches in the Mediterranean where the endangered Caretta-Caretta turtle has been laying its eggs for thousands of years.
The city’s name appears in Hittite texts from the 13th century BCE. The Middle Bronze Age is reflected in the ceramics discovered in the Tepecik Acropolis, but the antiquity of Patara is demonstrated by the discovery of a stone ax from the pre-Iron Age on the eastern slope of Tepecik.
During the Byzantine Era, the city maintained its prominence and grew into a major Christian hub. It was in Patara that the saint who became known as Santa Claus was born. Patara was a major city when the Turks arrived, and it remained so throughout the Middle Ages.
Pamphylia is home to the city of Sillyon. It sits atop a relatively level hill with nearly vertical sides. It’s about 30 kilometers from Antalya, and 16 kilometers from Serik.
Most people think that after the Trojan War, the heroes Mopsos and Calchas built Sillyon and other cities in Pamphylia.
Antalya, which still retains its characteristic as the city where Hellenistic defense is best represented, is built on the site of the ancient city of Sillyon.
You’d better be in good physical shape if you plan on visiting Sillyon. The views at the peak, however, are well worth the effort it takes to get there.
About 45 kilometers east of Antalya’s city center is Aspendos, home to the best-preserved Roman-era theater not just in Anatolia, but in the entire Mediterranean. Built on a hillside next to Köprüçay (ancient Eurymedon), one of the region’s major rivers, Aspendos, a port city on the Mediterranean, owes its growth and connectivity to the sea and the Mediterranean to the river that flows through it and the fertile lands it drains. The hill’s plain, against which the theater leans, contains the foundations of other demolished city structures.
During the time of the Roman Empire, when the city’s famous theater and waterways were built, Rome was at its best.
Because of its unique architecture and excellent preservation, the Aspendos Theater (Aspendos Tiyatrosu) is widely regarded as a leading example of a theater from the Roman era. in honor of the gods and emperors of the time. This structure was built using the very last stages of the Roman theater building style.
The aqueducts are the second-most impressive remaining structure in the city after the theater. One of the best-preserved ancient water systems is the Aspendos aqueduct network. The water pressure towers on either end of the roughly one-kilometer-long north-south arched bridge provide the overall perspective.
Aspendos is one of the few cities that survived the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Seljuks. The famous theater shows signs of Seljuk period repairs, most notably in the monumental door extension in the center of the facade and the dark red zigzag-patterned plaster coating on the facade. This Seljuk restoration and protection are largely responsible for the stage building’s continued existence to the present day; it was previously theorized that the structure served as a caravanserai where the Seljuk sultans stayed. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk came here in 1930 and guided the city’s revitalization.
Side was once the most important port city in Pamphylia. It was on a peninsula 80 kilometers east of Antalya and 7 kilometers southwest of Manavgat.
In the 7th century BCE, Side was established as a permanent human settlement. In the sixth century BCE, the Lydian Empire and all of Pamphylia ruled over the city. While it did continue to exist for some time after Alexander the Great’s death, it eventually passed between different kingdoms during the Hellenistic era. At various points in its history, Pergamum’s kingdom, then Rome, and finally the Eastern Roman Empire all exerted control over the city.
In the early 20th century, Cretan immigrants founded Selimiye Village (Selimiye Köyü) on the ruins of Side Ancient City (Side Antik Kenti), a major trade and port center. Like the other cities of Pamphylia, Side is situated on a peninsula, and it is traversed by a monumental street that begins at the city gate. The peninsula’s main street begins at the Great Gate in the northeast and continues in a straight line to the large square by the temples, except an arc in front of the ancient theater. From the Great Gate in the south, the city’s second-largest thoroughfare begins. There are columns on both streets, porticoes with Corinthian capitals on both sides, and a row of stores hidden behind the capitals on both streets.
The Fortress of Alara
The castle is on a sharp hill overlooking the Alara Stream, about 40 kilometers northwest of Alanya and 110 kilometers east of Antalya’s city center (Alar Cayi). The Byzantine ruins were preserved during the 1232 reconstruction that was ordered by Seljuk Sultan Aladdin Keykubat, giving the castle its current appearance. The Alara Inn (Alara Han) and the main trade route were protected by the castle. It was around this time that the ships carrying merchants were likely to have docked in front of the castle. The fortress’s inner and outer walls are fortified with towers. A ladder cut into the rock allows access from the Alara Streambank to the second wall.
Temple of Apollo in Alanya
Alanya Castle (Alanya Kalesi), which is in the middle of Alanya, is one of the best-preserved castles from the Middle Ages in Anatolia. This is because it is hard to get to by sea, land, and air, and it is also in a protected area. The 6.5 kilometers of walls, 140 bastions, nearly 400 cisterns inside, and magnificent, inscribed, and decorated gates make the castle look like an outdoor museum.
The castle’s original settlement dates back to the Hellenistic Period, but the Seljuk Empire Period is when it took on its magnificent appearance as a monumental castle. The 250-meter-high çkale section of the castle is located at the tip of the peninsula, which is the westernmost and highest point. The strong walls on all four sides of the castle make sense given its status as the nerve center of the government and the armed forces. To further fortify the fortress, the Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubad had monumental structures erected.
Museum of Antalya
In 1922, teacher Süleyman Fikri Erten established the Antalya Museum (Antalya Müzesi) to safeguard artifacts that had been salvaged from the looting by occupation forces who had arrived in the region following World War 1. The museum’s current building dates back to 1972 when it was relocated from its previous locations in Kaleiçi’s Alaaddin Mosque (Alaaddin Cami) and Yivli Mosque (Yivli Cami). The modern Antalya Museum covers an area of 30,000 square meters and features 14 exhibition halls, outdoor galleries where sculptures and other artifacts are displayed, and a garden. One of the places with the richest history of Anatolian lands that have witnessed the history of humanity is the Antalya Region, which includes a large portion of the lands once known as Lycia, Pamphylia, and Pisidia. Antalya is a one-of-a-kind open-air museum and an international excavation center due to its wealth of archaeological sites, which attracts scientists from all over the world. The Antalya Museum performs extensive landscaping and salvage excavations in the area.
Despite having archeology and history exhibits, the Antalya Museum is frequently regarded as a regional museum. The ethnographic works were compiled by museum experts from the region, while the majority of the collection was obtained from excavations in the area. The halls display artifacts from the beginning of human history in Antalya to the present day, with each one divided by period and regional topic. The Roman sculptures discovered in Perge and the fascinating and one-of-a-kind artifacts uncovered in the museum’s salvage excavations in recent years have helped elevate the Antalya Museum to the ranks of the world’s foremost museums. In 1988, the Council of Europe named the museum its Museum of the Year.
Hotel complexes with a focus on leisure and relaxation
Antalya is one of the world’s most visited destinations because of its beautiful scenery and rich history. Antalya gets a lot of tourists every year who come to swim in the city’s clear blue waters, relax in the city’s green parks, and learn about the city’s long history.
Luxury resort hotels can be found all over Antalya, but some areas have more than their fair share. When ranking these areas, Belek is at the top. Belek, to the east of Antalya’s city center, is home to a wide variety of accommodations. In addition, some Belek hotels feature championship-caliber sports arenas and golf courses.
Lara, midway between Belek and Antalya, also features some five-star resort hotels. The area of Lara that is home to most of the city’s hotels is even given its name: the Hotel’s Region.
In addition to Belek and Lara, the Kemer district is home to a large number of hotels. West of Antalya’s downtown, Kemer is home to some five-star hotels and a plethora of outdoor activities, cultural sites, and historical landmarks that visitors can enjoy while staying in the area. There are dozens of hotels for visitors to choose from in the heart of the Kemer district as well as in the neighboring cities of Göynük, Beldibi, and Kiris.
There are a lot of five-star resorts in Antalya, and there are also a lot of smaller, more intimate hotels.
You can find boutique hotels in the heart of Antalya, in Kaleiçi. These hotels are easily accessible from the city’s historic streets and will put you in the middle of all the action.
Hotels in the boutique category are available outside of Kaleiçi as well. Small, unique hotels that blend in with the surrounding landscape can be found in every area of Antalya. For instance, the area surrounding Olympos Ancient City has a wide variety of tree houses from which to choose (Olympos Antik Kenti). You can find boutique hotels in rural areas outside of Kemer’s urban core.
Maden, Tekirova, Cirali, and Patara are some of the best places to go camping in Turkey. In the great outdoors, close to waterways that flow into the ocean, it is possible to unwind on vacation.
The village of Ormana can be found in the Ibrad district of the historic Seljuk Konya–Antalya Silk Route. Located close to the old Roman settlement of Erymna, this area has been continuously inhabited from the Hellenistic era right up to the present day. Ormana, tucked away at the foot of the Taurus Mountains, is a veritable paradise that welcomes visitors with its abundance of natural beauty and cultural history. It was a major economic and scientific hub, particularly in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
One of the last undiscovered places in Turkey is Ormana, a place where history and culture blend with nature. The Dümeli Evler, or “button houses,” as they are more commonly known in English, are found in this area. These homes date back hundreds of years and were constructed from stone and wood without the use of mortar. As of now, they are being safeguarded as a form of intangible cultural heritage.
In the spring, Eynif Plain, a vast, flat area surrounded by the majestic Taurus Mountains, is a sight to behold and a place unlike any other. As you walk through the black pines, spruces, and turpentines of Wild Taurus, you’ll see yellow horses, squirrels, hares, goats, and other animals.
The stalactites and stalagmites of Altinbeşik Cave, home to Turkey’s largest underground lake, are a sight to behold. Altinbesik Cave is located in Altinbesik National Park, which is home to 605 plant species, including endemic species, as well as wild foxes, wolves, pigs, and goats.
You can visit truite aquaculture facilities near the village of Üzümdere, forage for morels and wild herbs, sample the world-famous grapes and molasses of Ormana, and celebrate the harvest at festivals that have been going strong for the past half-century during the first week of September.