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Yivli Minaret in Antalya
 Untitled Document Antalya, one of the most breath-taking places of Turkey, because of its spectacular location between the Taurus Mountains rising to 3086 meters just behind the coastline and the sparkling Mediterranean. It is accepted as a brilliant jewel surrounded by Termessus, Side, and Aspendos, the ancient cities of history and legend.

Small and large streams up-and-coming from the west of Taurus water the plains on their journey to the Mediterranean. This translucent running water, cascading into the sea at points along the coast, is another striking sight. The plant life is extremely wide varied from tropical plants to thriving oaks and pines as the center of a rich agricultural region and is also an important center for the distribution of citrus fruits, olives, sugar beet and tomatoes.

Four seasons only shown on calendars, for there is no winter there, in 1985 for the first time in 60 years snow fell; it was on the newspaper headlines then. The summers are hot and dry while the other seasons are warm and at times rainy, with an average temperature of 18 C. It is very exceptional for the temperature to drop below zero. The average humidity rate is 64%.

The region was inhabited 50 thousand years ago according to the results of archeological digs made in and around city. Antalya having a population of 500.000 doubles, even triples, it in summers as tourists both Turkey and abroad gather to get pleasure from its offerings. In September, the Turkish movie stars visit Antalya for the awards ceremony of Traditional Golden Orange Film Festival. The local people together with the tourists promenade in the evenings to meet some of these stars and watch the stunning sun set.

A Walk Through Antalya's History

Founded in the 2nd century B.C. by Attalus II, King of Pergamum (Bergama), and named Attaleia in his honor, Antalya has been under the sovereignty of the Hittites during the years 2500-1400 B.C. The tribes coming from Thrace during the 8th and 7th centuries B.C. put an end to the Hittite sovereignty and the city-states of Pamphylia, Lycia and Cicilia were set up. Today Antalya entirely covers Pamphylia and some parts of Pisidya, Cicilia and Lycia.

Two waves immigrated to Anatolia from Greece during the 9th and 8th centuries B.C. resulting in many civilized cities and centers being established. About 100 of these cities can be found within the boundaries of Antalya today. Until the Macedonian commander Alexander the Great's conquering the region on the 4th century B.C. Lydians and Persians reigned. Claudius uniting Pamphylia a Lycia formed a kingdom and Antalya had its most prosperous period. In the 2nd century A.D., Christianity began to spread in the region in the 2nd century A.D. while under the sovereignty of Byzantium and up to the 5th and 6th centuries A.D..

In the 7th century A.D. the influence of Moslem Arabs began to be felt. The region came under Moslem sovereignty in the year 1085 with the advent of Suleyman Shah, one of the Seljuks of Anatolia and then under the dominion of the Ottoman Empire on the 14th century until the I. World War as an important port city. Today Antalya port is exclusively used as a yacht harbor.

The Inner Bailey (Kaleiçi)

The ancient city center surrounded by the sea and land walls is today called the Kaleiçi (Inner Bailey). The streets and buildings still carry the marks of Antalya's history. The characteristic of the houses is not only in their architectural style but also in reflecting the living habits, customs and social ways of the inhabitants of ancient Antalya.

The streets within the bailey are narrow, and extend upwards from the harbor and along by the walls. The difference in the houses shows the economic status of the owners or the purpose for which they were used. However, most of them were built of stonework spread with wood and has a front and back garden. Only very few windows overlook to the street on the first floor while there is a cumba (bay-widow, salient) on the top floors adorned with ornaments and in harmony with the architecture of the building. The inner center of the houses open onto a paved country yard leading to the ground rooms and stairs to upper floors. Today, it is restored and serve as a leisure place with, small hotels, souvenir shops, boutiques, bars and restaurants and even with a supermarket servicing to yachts. Well to visit “Kaleiçi” is a “must” while you are in Antalya. World Federation of Travel Writers and Journalists awarded Antalya with its Golden Apple in 1984 for the careful restoration of the harbor.

The City Walls

The ancient city of Antalya was secluded by two rows of wall, in shape of a horseshoe, both enclosing it along the shore and inland. These walls are dated back to ancient times and were well protected until the end of 19th century. Today only the remains of some walls, a few towers, Hadrian's Gate, the Clock Tower, and the Hidirlik Tower can be visited.

Hadrian's Gate

One of the best-protected monuments in Antalya. This is a Roman construction built in 130 A.D. to honor the Emperor Hadrian. The city walls have enclosed the outside of the gate and that may be why it has not been destroyed up to day. It is considered as Pamphylia's most beautiful Gate. The upper part has three openings in a shape of cupola, and except for the pillars entirely built of white marble. The ornamentation is very amazing. The original Gate has been built in two stories but little is known of the second story. Be sure it is worth to pause for a few minutes in front of the Gate and watch the scene. The modern Antalya with orange and palm trees and ancient Attalia, in other words present and past is divided by Hadrian Gate

The Hidirlik Tower

The tower, having a square base, overcame by a cylindrical construction is located at the southern most point of the land walls. There is a large square block in the interior and the tower is in a very solid structure and thought to be used for defense in the antiquity.

The Truncated Minaret Mosque (Kesik Minare Camii)

A basilica built in the 5th century on an ancient temple of 2nd century and transformed into a mosque in 15th century by the son of Bayezit II, Sultan Korkud with a minaret added. The timber section of the minaret was burnt out as a result of a fire in 19th century and since then called “Kesik Minare (Truncated Minaret). Although it is not functioning as a mosque it is worth to see the remains of Byzantine and Seljuk Empires at the same time.

The Fluted Minaret and Complex (Yivli Minare ve Külliyesi )

Constructed in 1230 during the reign of Seljuk Sultan Aladdin Keykubad, Yivli Minare is considered as the symbol of Antalya. This 38 meter high turret has been built on a square stone base, with eight fluted sections decorated with turquoise tiles and has a 90-step stairs to the top. The Yivli Minaret Mosque is on the west of Truncated Minaret. Although the original mosque has been destroyed in the 14th century a substitute mosque has been built being one of the oldest examples of multi-dome construction in Anatolia with its six semi-sphere domes. The other constructions forming the complex that are also worth to visit are Medrese, Zincirkıran Mausoleum and Nigar Hatun Mausoleum

Antalya Museum

Antalya Museum, open every day except Mondays, one of the best local museums of Turkey with its superbly displayed indoor and outdoor exhibits. The ivory statue and sarcophagi collections together with the coin collection of Midas' kingdom are dazzling. There is also much more worth to see.


Antalya region is not just a place to spend a one-week vacation it is one of the world's most beautiful regions with sandy beaches allowing a period of 8-month swimming. You even cannot find time to visit and admire very small part of it. The mountains, underwater world, fall, caves, crystal clear turquoise colored sea, historical places best-loved touristic resorts, numerous five-star hotels, holiday villages and entertainment establishments are really fascinating. The peaks of Taurus Mountains covered with snow even in summer offers you the taste of skiing first and then descending to the shore to swim. Well, all these beauties are spread through Alanya, Side, Manavgat, Belek, Kemer, Finike, Kaş and Kalkan. A real detailed information including accommodation, cuisine can be reached from the sites given below.

Antalya by Buket Aşçı
The Guide Antalya - 2005
Major Cities
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