Antalya, the city and the surrounding area, is one of those places that seem tailor-made for sightseers and holiday makers. It has to have everything. The area is backed by the Beydaglari? and Taurus Mountains that come right down to the sea creating numerous idyllic and picturesque coves and bays. Oh yes, there are plenty of lovely sandy beaches. The best known are Konyaalt? and Lara Beaches.
The picture is further coloured by the fact that Antalya is located on the Eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey. That means it has a lovely warm climate all year round. The city mirrors its mixed and rich history. There are plenty of reminders of that past including Lycian, Pamphylian, Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman architecture and cultures.
The modern too is well represented in Antalya. It has a modern and busy airport, reportedly handling more than 10 million visitors a year. The port and marinas are always filled with yachts, boats of all descriptions and cruise liners. There are plenty of luxury hotels – several belonging to international chains – hotels, bars, clubs, chic restaurants and shopping avenues. No wonder the area is referred to as the Turkish Riviera.
For those looking to get a glimpse of Antalya’s history there is plenty on offer. Antalya has been restored to retain much of its historical character. The work won it the Golden Apple Tourism Prize.
These following are some of the prominent sights and monuments of Antalya:
- The Atatürk Monument at Cumhuriyet Meydan? (Republic Square).
- Kaleiçi: The old centre of the city with its narrow cobbled streets of historic Ottoman era houses.
- Hadrian’s Gate (also known as Triple Gate) was built by the Romans in the 2nd century.
- The City Walls and Hidirlik Tower also date back to ancient times.
- Iskele Mosque: A 19th-century Mosque near the Marina.
- Karatay Medrese: A Medrese (Islamic theological seminary) built in 1250 by Emir Celaleddin Karatay.
- Kesik Minare (Broken Minaret) Mosque: Once a Roman temple which was converted into a Byzantine Panaglia church and then the present mosque.
- Tekeli Mehmet Pasa Mosque: An 18th-century mosque built in honour of Tekeli Mehmet Pasa.
- Yat Limani: The harbour goes back to Roman times.
- Yivli Minare (Fluted Minaret) Mosque: Built by the Seljuks and decorated with dark blue and turquoise tiles, this minaret eventually became the symbol of the city.
Antalya is not all history, architecture, beaches and beauty spots. It has a vibrant cultural life. The main square, Cumhuriyet, is often used to host open air exhibitions and artistic and cultural performances.
To name a few of the events:
- Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival: Turkey's largest national film festival, last week of September.
- International Eurasia Film Festival: International film festival held annually
- Mediterranean International Music Festival: October, 6 days
- Antalya International Folk Music and Dance Festival Competition: Last week of August
- Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival: June and July
- Flower Festival May
The mixture of modern and ancient and the sheer variety create a tapestry and character that endures itself to all who come to this wonderful part of Turkey.