What is Antalya like

What is Antalya like? Antalya has hosted many civilizations throughout its history. It bears traces of many civilizations such as the Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Seljuk State and Ottoman Empire. Therefore, there are many historical monuments in the city. Hadrian’s Gate, one of the symbols of Antalya, and the Kaleiçi region are important visiting points for history lovers.

Antalya is also famous for its natural beauties. Its blue flag beaches, crystal clear seas and beaches decorated with palm trees are indispensable for holidaymakers. Especially Konyaaltı and Lara beaches are important spots preferred by both local and foreign tourists.

Antalya’s natural beauties include waterfalls, caves and nature parks. While Düden Waterfall and Kurşunlu Waterfall attract nature lovers with their magnificent views, Karain Cave and Damlataş Cave also attract history and nature enthusiasts.

Antalya also hosts many events. While cultural events such as the International Antalya Film Festival and Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival attract the attention of art lovers, various sports events are also organized with the participation of athletes from all over the world.

Where is Antalya

Antalya is a tourism city located on the Mediterranean coast in southwestern Turkey. According to 2024 data, 2 million 696 thousand 249 people live in the city. You can check the location on the map below.

History of Antalya

Antalya, meaning “Attalos’ Homeland,” was founded by King Attalos II. After the end of the Kingdom of Pergamon (133 BC), the city remained independent for a while before falling into the hands of pirates. In 77 BC, it was annexed to the Roman territories by Commander Servilius Isauricus. In 67 BC, it became a base for Pompey’s fleet. The visit of Hadrianus to Attaleia in AD 130 contributed to the city’s development. During Byzantine rule, the city, known as Attaleia, was a bishopric center, and it flourished greatly after coming under Turkish control. Due to being built on top of the ancient settlement, modern Antalya has few remains from ancient times. Among the visible remnants are parts of the old harbor, referred to as the harbor mole, and the surrounding walls. The Hadrian Gate, whose restoration outside the park has been completed, is one of Antalya’s most beautiful ancient artifacts.

In ancient times, the area of Antalya and its surroundings was known as Pamphylia, meaning “very fertile,” and the western region was called Lycia. From the 8th century BC onwards, settlers from the western coasts of the Aegean Sea founded cities such as Aspendos and Side here. During the mid-2nd century BC, King Attalos II of Pergamon besieged Side. Failing to capture Side, approximately 75 km east of Antalya, the king came to the present city center and founded a city named after him, Attaleia. Over time, it was referred to as Atalia or Adalya. Antalya derives its name from him.

Archaeological excavations have proven human habitation in Antalya and its region dating back 40,000 years. Since 2000 BC, the region came under the rule of various city-states like the Hittites, Pamphylia, Lycia, Cilicia, and empires like the Persian, Alexander the Great and his successors including Antigonos, Ptolemais, Seleucids, and the Kingdom of Pergamon. Later, it was ruled by the Roman Empire. Antalya was known as Pamphylia in ancient times, and the cities established here, especially in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, experienced a golden age. However, it began to decline by the 5th century AD.

During the Byzantine rule or known as the Eastern Roman Empire in Turkey, it was annexed to Turkish territory by the Seljuks in 1207. During the Anatolian Beyliks period, it came under the rule of the Hamitoğulları, a branch of the Teke Tribe. The Teke Turkmen, one of the largest tribes in terms of population in present-day Turkmenistan, migrated here in the 11th century. Today, the northern part of Antalya and some parts of Isparta and Burdur, known as the Lakes Region, are also called the Teke region. During the Ottoman era, Antalya served as the center of the Teke Sanjak, which was part of the Anatolian province. It was later renamed during the Republican era.

In the second half of the 17th century, the famous Ottoman traveler Evliya Çelebi, mentioned that within the castle, there were four neighborhoods and three thousand houses, while outside the castle, there were 24 neighborhoods. According to Evliya Çelebi, the city’s market was outside the castle. He described the port as capable of accommodating 200 ships. Administratively, Antalya was the center of the Teke Sanjak, which was under the jurisdiction of Konya. In the final years of the Ottoman Empire, Antalya was made an independent sanjak.

Antalya Province has 19 districts (Akseki, Aksu, Alanya, Demre, Döşemealtı, Elmalı, Finike, Gazipaşa, Gündoğmuş, İbradı, Kaş, Kemer, Kepez, Konyaaltı, Korkuteli, Kumluca, Manavgat, Muratpaşa, Serik) and 911 neighborhoods.

Regions of Antalya

Antalya is divided into regions with various natural and geographical features. Here are some of the main areas of Antalya:

Antalya Center: Covers the city center and its surroundings. It includes historical regions such as Kaleiçi.

Kemer: It is a tourist town located in the west of Antalya. It is known for its beaches and natural beauty.

Belek: It is a region in the east of Antalya, where touristic facilities are concentrated. It is famous for its luxury resorts and golf courses.

Side: It is an ancient city located in the east of Antalya. It is known for its ancient ruins and coastline.

Alanya: It is a popular holiday resort located in the east of Antalya. It is famous for its beaches, castles and nightlife.

Kaş: It is a coastal town in the west of Antalya, with magnificent views of the Mediterranean. It is popular for diving and extreme sports.

Manavgat: It is a district located in the east of Antalya. Manavgat Waterfall and its surroundings are known for their natural beauty.

These regions reflect the rich and diverse structure of Antalya in terms of tourism. Each has its own unique features and attractions.


History of Antalya

History of Antalya

Antalya has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. The city was first settled by the Hittites in the 2nd millennium BC and later became part of the Lycian and Persian empires. In the 4th century BC, Alexander the Great conquered the region, and it became part of the Greek empire.

During the Roman era, Antalya was an important commercial center due to its strategic location on the Mediterranean coast. The city was named Attaleia by King Attalus II of Pergamum in the 2nd century BC and became a major port city for the Roman Empire.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Antalya was ruled by various empires, including the Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans. In the 20th century, Antalya became part of the Republic of Turkey.

Culture of Antalya

Culture of Antalya

Antalya has a unique culture that has been shaped by its diverse history. The city is home to various ethnic groups, including Turks, Greeks, and Armenians, which have all contributed to the city’s rich cultural heritage.

One of the most distinctive aspects of Antalyan culture is its cuisine. The city’s cuisine is heavily influenced by Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors, with dishes such as kebabs, meze, and baklava being popular in the region.

Another important aspect of Antalyan culture is its music and dance. The city is famous for its traditional folk music, which is played on instruments such as the bağlama and darbuka. Traditional dance forms such as the halay and the horon are also popular in the region.

Things to do in Antalya

Antalya has a wide variety of attractions for tourists, from magnificent beaches to ancient ruins. Among the things to do in antalya, some of the city’s most popular attractions include:

Old Town (Kaleiçi)

Old Town Kaleici

Old Town, also known as Kaleiçi, is the historic heart of Antalya. This well-preserved neighborhood features narrow streets, historic buildings, and ancient ruins. Visitors can explore the Hadrian’s Gate, the Hidirlik Tower, and the Yivli Minaret, which dates back to the 13th century.

Antalya Museum

Antalya Museum

The Antalya Museum is one of the largest museums in Turkey, showcasing the region’s rich history and culture. The museum features exhibits on the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods, as well as displays on traditional Turkish arts and crafts.

Düden Waterfalls

Duden Waterfalls

The Düden Waterfalls are a series of stunning waterfalls located just outside of Antalya. Visitors can take a boat tour to see the waterfalls up close or hike along the nearby trails.

Map: https://goo.gl/maps/bsmRDC1hmLkDo4sY8

Perge

Perge

Perge is an ancient Roman city located just outside of Antalya. The city was founded in the 2nd century BC and features well-preserved ruins, including a theater, stadium, and baths.

Map: https://goo.gl/maps/BEd95ZwBw6zeHeU7A

Hadrian’s Gate

Hadrians Gate

This ancient Roman triumphal arch was built in the 2nd century AD to honor Emperor Hadrian’s visit to Antalya. The structure is adorned with intricate carvings and features three arches, the central one being the largest.

Aspendos Theatre

Aspendos Theatre

This well-preserved Roman theater is one of the most impressive ancient structures in Antalya, with a seating capacity of up to 15,000 people. The theater is still used today for various events and performances.

Map: https://goo.gl/maps/FMP9xfGEZTmveKwp9

Olympos

Olympos

This ancient Lycian city was founded in the Hellenistic period and features impressive ruins, including a theater, Roman baths, and the remains of a Byzantine church. The city is also known for its stunning natural scenery, with a nearby beach and the Chimera, a natural eternal flame.

Map: https://goo.gl/maps/mmuNUEaXKEbSCU9NA

Myra

Myra

This ancient Lycian city is best known for its well-preserved rock-cut tombs and the impressive Roman theater. The city was also the birthplace of Saint Nicholas, the inspiration for the modern-day Santa Claus.

Side

Side

This ancient city was founded in the 7th century BC and features impressive Roman ruins, including a theater, agora, and the famous Temple of Apollo. The city is also known for its beautiful beaches and natural harbor.

Map: https://goo.gl/maps/8nT2cWcBJpWD8rTz9

Selge

Selge

This ancient city was founded in the 5th century BC and features well-preserved ruins, including a theater, acropolis, and the remains of a Roman bath. The city was known for its strategic location and played an important role in the region’s history

Manavgat Waterfall

Manavgat Waterfall

This stunning waterfall is located about 75 km from Antalya and is a popular spot for swimming and picnics. The falls are formed by the Manavgat River, which flows from the Taurus Mountains and drops over a series of rocky ledges into a tranquil pool below.

Kursunlu Waterfall

Kursunlu Waterfall

This small waterfall is located about 19 km from Antalya and is known for its beautiful natural surroundings and walking trails. The falls are fed by a small stream that cascades over rocks and drops into a series of pools surrounded by lush vegetation.

Hidirlik Tower

Hidirlik Tower

This ancient tower is located in Kaleici and is believed to have been built by the Romans as a watchtower. The tower stands 14 meters tall and features a square base and a cylindrical upper section, with views of the harbor and the Mediterranean Sea.

Yivli Minare

Yivli Minare

This historic mosque is located in Kaleici and is known for its distinctive fluted minaret, which dates back to the 13th century. The mosque features intricate carvings and geometric patterns and is still used for worship today.

Antalya Old Harbor

Antalya Old Harbor

This historic harbor is located in Kaleici and is a popular spot for tourists, with traditional wooden boats and scenic views of the Mediterranean. The harbor features a variety of restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops and is a popular starting point for boat tours and excursions.

Konyaaltı Beach

Konyaalti Beach

Konyaaltı Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Antalya. This long stretch of sandy beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing in the Mediterranean sun.

Antalya is on the list of places to visit in the world

Antalya, which has wonderful opportunities in many areas such as History, Culture, Nature, Beaches, Food Accommodation, Daily Activities, Tours and Shopping, ranks 5th on the list of cities to visit in the world.

If you are planning a trip to Antalya, it is recommended to spend at least a few days in the city to fully experience its attractions and culture. There are plenty of accommodation options available, from luxurious resorts to budget-friendly hostels.

One of the best times to visit Antalya is during the summer months, when the weather is warm and sunny. However, it is also the busiest time of year, so be prepared for crowds and higher prices.

Antalya is a city that is not to be missed when visiting Turkey. With its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning attractions, it is a destination that will leave a lasting impression on any traveler.

For more similar content, you can visit the cultural history category.

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