Antalya was once considered the gateway to the Turkish Riviera. Today the city stands on its own as an attraction in its own right, but the history and classical beauty remains. If you are travelling to Antalya you won’t be able to escape the magnificent museums and castles that are peppered throughout the city—not that you would want to. Get ready to experience superb exhibitions and gaze at ancient wonders when you explore Antalya’s museums and castles.

The Antalya Museum

One of Turkey’s largest, The Antalya Museum includes 13 exhibition halls that are chock full of some of the most interesting historical artifacts. There are a number of archeological sites that give us a unique insight into history and some of the earliest civilizations that lived in modern-day Turkey. You’ll be struck by the immensity of the museum and the vast collections this great museum has on display for its visitors.

Classical Period Hall

In this hall you’ll find works dating from the Mycenaean Age up through to the Hellenistic Age (1400 BCE-31 BCE). You’ll see figurines, wine bowls, and dishes from these time periods as well as various works from the Roman period. These collections make up the largest section of the Antalya museum.

Children’s Section

The first of its kind in Turkey, the children’s section displays windows full of toys and antique moneyboxes. While history may be boring to some kids, this exhibit may have items they can relate to including displays full of toys and moneyboxes from yesteryear. Watch as your children connect to the toys and figure out how things have changed from the time of the artifacts through to current day. It’s a great exhibit to open your mind and get the whole family involved and thinking.

Alara Castle

Alara Castle is a historical fortification located in Southern Turkey. Built during the Byzantine Empire, this 11th century fortress may not be the grandiose building it once was, but where it lacks in perfect preservation, it makes up for it with interesting archaeological finds.

Hike up the 180-step staircase and take in the view from the top of this beautiful castle of its surroundings. It is home to a number of beautiful pieces of Turkish Art. Some of the highlights of the castle are in the citadel inside the outer walls, the accommodation facilities, the on-site mosque, and traditional Turkish baths.

Suna Inan Kirac Kaleici Museum

Housed in a lovely restored Antalya mansion, right in the heart of Old Town, is a small ethnography museum called the Suna Inan Kirac Kaleici Museum. The salmon-red exterior gives way to a bright spacious interior that is a beautiful blend of classic and modern décor dotted with glass display cases that only further brighten the space. Don’t stop at the first floor though; the second floor holds the true magic. As you make your way to the top floor of the museum, you will be surprised with life-sized dioramas depicting some of the most important rituals and customs from Ottoman Antalya.

After you have been through the museum, head to the former Greek Orthodox Church located directly behind the main house where you will find a collection of ceramics. This collection is an impressive one from the Çanakkale and Kütahya people.

Alanya Castle

Jetting out of a cliff and peering over the sea is the medieval Alanya Castle. The Castle was built in the 13th century and has been well preserved since then, mostly thanks to its important historical value. After control was taken by the Ottoman Empire, the castle stopped acting as defensive stronghold and was renovated to include a number of villas inside its walls. You can still view the half dozen cisterns and the shell of the 11th century Byzantine church that was on site.

Everyone has a little bit of adventure in them and as you walk the castles and museums in Antalya you may find yourself swept up in the history and classical beauty the city holds. Protect your historical adventures with international travel cover and you’ll never have to waste your time with worrying.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Rowan McLaughlin; cropped from original