Antalya is not just the largest city on the Mediterranean coast, it is the hub of the Turkish Riviera. At first sight it may seem like just your normal seaside city, but luckily, it is so much more than that. The historic monuments in Antalya alone are worth the visit. Combine that with the pearly beaches and warm sunshine and you will never want to leave this sunny slice of paradise.
Antalya was first settled somewhere between 150 and 200 BC and was named after its founder Attalia. Soon after the city was created, it was taken over by the Romans. The Romans were responsible for creating a thriving city and built many of the famous Antalian monuments such as Hadrian’s Gate. Since Roman rule, Antalya has changed hands from such empires like the Byzantine and Ottoman creating a hodgepodge of history and cultures that continue to mingle today. This history of mixed ruling and cultures has allowed Antalya to benefit from industrialization and modernization, while also making it a focus for Turkey’s tourism industry.
Whether your itinerary includes walking through the monuments of the city or sprawling on a sandy beach with sun shining down on you, Antalya will be have no shortage of activities for everyone you’re travelling with.
You’ll know where to start when you see it. Kaleici is the historic city centre of Antalya and you’ll want to start your journey at the main square, marked by an old stone clock tower. This is a perfect place to simply sit, have a quick breakfast or lunch, take in the sights around you, and then head out to the other main attractions through Kaleici.
Head Northeast from the city centre, on Hesapci Street, and you’ll arrive at the famed Hadrian’s Gate. This grand monument is a triumphal arch built for the Roman emperor Hadrian when he visited in the year 130 BCE. Take a tour of Hadrian’s Gate and learn some of the legends about the gate and who may have walked beneath it.
Head North from the city centre, by way of Pasa Camii Street, to the beautiful Tekeli Mehmet Pasa Mosque. This 17th century mosque is one of the most important in the city. The main dome and three supporting semi-domes will make beautiful photographs against the setting sun. The 400 year old mosque is in excellent condition to view and explore. You can enjoy the sounds of call to prayer while gazing upon such a historic establishment.
Make sure to plan a visit to one of Turkey’s largest museums, an impressive location with 13 exhibition halls and an extensive collection of Roman statues, including one of Roman Emperor Hadrian. The Natural History Hall is perfect for biology fans and history buffs alike. You can see replicas of living creatures from man down to one-cell organisms. The children will enjoy seeing the fossils and tools of bygone millennia.
The major history buffs will enjoy the pre-history hall that exhibits works from Karain, Okuzini, and Sehahoyuk. You’ll see works from the Palaeolithic Era all the way up to the Roman Age.
Regardless of what your favourite “type” of museum to visit is, whether it’s a natural history museum, a classical art museum, an architecture museum, you’ll find something you love here. This is an absolute must-visit for your trip. Do not leave Turkey without going here.
Antalya is located right along the Mediterranean Sea and as such has a Mediterranean climate. You can expect hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. You won’t need the heavy snow boots here! Pack accordingly and remember to bring lightweight clothing and proper amounts of sunscreen. You don’t want to spend your vacation with an unpleasant sun burn. Sea temperatures will range between 16-27 degrees depending on the time of year.
Antalya is a less-visited location in Turkey, but one worthy of the attention and worthy of your visit. Get lost in the museums, while away an afternoon in the city centre and generally enjoy the culture and lively vibe this ancient city gives off. Safeguard your travel plans with cover from Cover-More and rest easy knowing your seaside holiday is safe from travel’s little nuisances.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Omer Unlu