Warm sea, clean sand and gentle sun – this is what comes to mind first at the mention of Antalya. Attractions from ancient times and modern buildings for all tastes are also an integral part of the area. Every year millions of tourists from all over the world come to this paradise place to have a good rest and learn more about the history of the city.
History of Antalya
Tourists are attracted by the beach vacation, numerous historical and architectural monuments, the unique layering of several cultures. The reason for this diversity lies in the turbulent history of more than 20 centuries.
The city appeared in 159 B.C., the name “Attalia” was almost indistinguishable from the modern one. For a long time the territory belonged to Rome, then to Byzantium. At the beginning of our era, Christianity began to spread, and later, along with the raids of the Arabs, Islam appeared. In the 15th century, the city was conquered by the Turks – the Ottomans, got its present name, gained fame as a major seaport and slave trading center.
At the end of World War I was temporarily occupied by the Italians, after the war of liberation returned to the jurisdiction of the Republic of Turkey. The development of the tourism business began in the 70s of the 20th century, making up a significant part of the state budget. Russian tourists often choose to rest in the resorts of Turkey, maybe because almost all the staff of hotels, hotels, restaurants and entertainment centers speak Russian, which makes the rest comfortable, and communication – relaxed.
Top 18 attractions in Antalya
This ancient city has a very rich history. It is located on the slopes of Falez (southern Turkey). It was founded in 159 BC by the Greek king Attalos II and was originally called Attalia (later renamed Antalya). The ruler’s monument has survived to this day. At the moment it can be seen in the old district of the city. If you intend to visit this city, it is not superfluous to include it in the tour itinerary.
In 133 BC. The area was conquered by the Romans and, even later, by the Byzantines. It is these facts that explain such a variety of architecture.
During the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, stone fortress walls with several gates were built (130 AD). The main purpose of the structure was to protect the city from attacks. Only one gate has survived to this day. It is a monumental portal, consisting of 3 arches, decorated with columns. There is speculation that the structure had a second floor, where the statues of the emperor were located, but there is no reliable information about this.
The second, no less interesting place to visit is the Khydyrlyk Tower. Like the first landmark in Antalya, it was built by the Romans. The location is to the southeast of the Kaleici neighborhood near Karaalioglu Park. In ancient times it was a lighthouse and a fortress at the same time. The tower is visited by at least 300,000 tourists every year.
If you want to explore the beautiful places on your own, you can not ignore the mountain Tyunektepe. It has an excellent view of the Russian district of Konyaalti. There is also an excellent view of the mountainous landscape and the Mediterranean Sea. For tourists on top of the mountain built a restaurant. You can get there by cab or rent a car.
Exploring the city and its surroundings, it is simply impossible to pass by the Antalya Aquarium. The attraction is the world’s largest aquarium tunnel. Visitors can see about 10 thousand inhabitants of the sea. At the exit of the room there is a souvenir shop with a huge assortment of trinkets for all tastes.
The building was erected by Sultan Ala ad-Din Qei-Kubad in the 13th century. The building consists of 6 parts with mosaic drawings and a spiral staircase with 90 steps (there is unreliable information that there were 9 more, and together they formed the number 99, exactly how many beautiful names Allah had). There is a mosque in the immediate vicinity. The minaret is 38 meters high, which makes it possible to look at it from any part of the city.
This area is interesting primarily because you can find a variety of buildings and styles from the Roman to the Ottoman Empire. There are mosques, ancient walls, and churches. Each era has left its characteristic imprint on the architectural features of the local architecture. In fact, Kaleici is the heart of Antalya.
The park is a museum, where amazingly craftsmen have built miniature models, exactly replicating the most important Turkish landmarks. All the exhibits are outdoors. This is a great place where you can not only learn a lot of new informative information, but also to make further route of the journey.
When compiling a list of the most interesting places to visit, we should not forget the natural charm of the region. Duden Falls is one of the most beautiful places, which is located in the eastern part of the city. You can admire the huge swirling streams of water pouring down into the Mediterranean Sea ad infinitum. The landmark is located in the park of the same name.
Ruins of the ancient city of Perge
This architectural monument belongs to the times of Alexander the Great. Mixed echoes of Hellenistic and Roman culture are woven into the ancient ruins. The walls and surroundings of the city have seen the campaigns of famous generals, the fall of Great Rome. It was in this part of Turkey that there was once the famous Pamphylia, of which the ruins of this city are a part.
Resting on the white beaches of Antalya, we can not forget about such an attraction as the Archaeological Museum. The building was built in the 20th century. It contains exhibits from Hellenistic times, the first tools, fossil animals, and Greek statues of the gods. The museum is located in the west of the city, which can be easily reached by city bus.
Aspendos is one of the best-preserved ancient cities half an hour from the center of Antalya. Its heyday was in the 5th century BC, when Aspendos was a major trading center where many caravan and sea routes converged. Wool, oil, salt, jewelry and grain brought profit.
About 35 km. you have to drive eastward to see this amazing architectural monument and archaeological site. The search for artifacts is ongoing, revealing more and more pages of the history of the once great city. People come here to see the amphitheater with a capacity of 15 thousand spectators, to admire the beauty of nature from a height, to feel the breath of time, to admire the skills of ancient architects.
To the west is another, no less famous ancient city. It is located on the territory of the natural park, the main part of the constructions concentrated on the high plateau. The name translates as “High fortress in the mountains,” which at one time corresponded to reality. The city was well protected and had more than 160,000 inhabitants.
Archaeologists regularly find coins on its territory, which the city minted on its own, having the status of an independent.
The city was almost impregnable, protected by cliffs to the east and west, with the only accessible entrance leading through a strong, well-defended gate.
If you walk along the Road of the Kings, you will have a great view of all the significant sights on either side:
- the ruins of the gymnasium;
- temples dedicated to a pantheon of gods.
The theater carved into the rock and the Necropolis, where the rich and noble citizens are buried in sarcophagi, are of great interest during the excursions. Well-preserved specimens are part of the collections of the city museum.
The city’s underground reservoir system is amazing. It consists of 5 reservoirs lined with limestone. They served as an isolated source of water during a siege. Excavations in the area are still going on, which gives hope for new discoveries.
The third ancient city is a pilgrimage site for Christians. Here preached Nicholas the Wonderworker, St. Paul spoke to the inhabitants, there was a miraculous tomb, where people came for healing from illnesses and finding peace of mind. The ruins are located near the coastal strip near the town of Demre. The city walls, the Necropolis, the Greco-Roman theater with unique acoustics, which brought the words of actors to the last rows of the amphitheater.
Murat Pasha Mosque
It is named after the ruler and was erected in the 16th century. The decagonal base is crowned by a large dome. The interior rooms are painted with fragments of texts, the beauty of calligraphy turning them into works of art. The mosque is open for viewing.
You can’t go inside during prayer, you have to wait until after the service.
A popular recreation area stretches along the rocky coastline in the Kılıçarsan area. From the top there is a panoramic view of the city, the bay, the beaches, you can see the mosques and towers. Unique landscapes, a huge number of fruit trees, exotic flowers and shrubs create a fabulous atmosphere. There are fruit-bearing orange and tangerine trees, palm trees, flowers that look like butterflies, you can hear birds singing.
Unusual sculptures and exquisite fountains complete the picture of calm and tranquility. Among the islands of greenery scattered teahouses, cafes, small restaurants. A staircase leads to the coast, down which visitors will find themselves on the beach.
Shopping centers and markets
Choosing a souvenir to remember, it is necessary to remember the time. The process of gambling with vendors is so addictive that you can enter the market in the morning and leave in the evening. But if the whole day is devoted to shopping, you can plunge into the multicolored fabrics, fragrances, spices and cosmetics, admire the amazing jewelry and national handicrafts made of wood and semi-precious stones.
Most often, shoppers pay attention to clothing, shoes, coffee, spices, jewelry, furs, leather, and sweets. The most famous retail outlets: “Sirinyaly” market, “Dedeman” bazaar, shopping centers “Migros” and “Ozdilek Park”.
It has become an amazing box of secrets for archaeologists. Discovered in 1946, the cave equally attracts adventurers, serious scientists, and vacationers. The location at a considerable height saved the vaults from the vagaries of nature and floods. Karain is considered to be the largest underground cavity in Turkey. During the excavations were found statuettes more than 25 thousand years old. The most interesting finds were transferred to the storerooms of the archaeological museum. There is a theory that the first inhabitants were Neanderthals.
The cave is divided into several halls connected by winding corridors. The height of the grottoes is impressive, stalactites and stalagmites, reflecting the light of the lamps, turn into fabulous columns. For the convenience of movement in the underground labyrinth equipped with special trails, stairs, lighting.
The underground part is pretty cool. For a comfortable walk, you need to stock up on a windbreaker and comfortable shoes.
In a small segment is equipped with a museum of Anatolian civilizations, among the exhibits are items made of stone and bone, parts of weapons, arrowheads. The paintings on the walls indicate the ritual significance of some of the rooms. A walk through the cave will be one of the brightest impressions of a trip to Turkey.
Atlantis Water Park
The hot weather makes you look for a shady cool place. And hide from the heat better in the water, especially if it is a modern water park with a large number of attractions, equipped with sites for recreation, children’s and adult pools.
Created by an American design, Atlantis includes open and closed slides, rides with surprises, leisurely descents and extreme heights. On the territory there are cafes, stores, small comfortable restaurants. For children work animators, organized competitions, entertainment programs.
Video overview of sights in Antalya
The unhurried movement around the city has a special appeal. There are many places that do not require a guide. Determining what you can see on your own in Antalya, do not forget about entertainment venues.
Sightseeing map of Antalya
A mix of cultures has led to a list of attractions that includes temples and mosques, ruins of ancient cities and modern skyscrapers, classical statues and avant-garde installations. The huge choice can be confusing, but it is best to get to know the city gradually, starting with the most popular tourist sites. Amazing, contrasting and vibrant Antalya remains forever in the heart, inviting to come here again.