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Antalya SightsAntalya has been transformed into a modern city attracting many Turkish and foreign tourists with its numerous cultural, historical and natural attractions. The city has developed with an international flair featuring many shopping centres, international and traditional restaurants, luxury hotels, cafes and bistros and popular coffee chains. The city has many shopping areas in the old city area of Kaleici and along the ancient city walls which line Ataturk Boulevard. This area retains a uniquely Turkish atmosphere and is a great place to find handmade Turkish ceramics, kilims and carpets, art, gold jewellery, leather goods and clothing. There are also fruit and vegetable open-air markets known as Pazartesi which are open every day of the week in various parts of the city. At these markets you can find everything from fruits and vegetables, clothing, shoes, spices and nuts to household items like pots, pans, dishes, and blankets. Antalya was founded two millennia ago because of its good harbor and became a major Mediterranean port in Asia Minor. The harbor is still the center of Antalya culture and history especially in Kaleiçi - Old Antalya. Restaurants and Cafes line the narrow streets of Kaleiçi and make it a perfect place to dine or have drinks with friends. Boats docked at the harbor now are no longer commercial ships but private yachts and the Turkish Gulets that take visitors out on fishing trips, day excursions along the coast, or on Bluecruise voyages along the coast to Göcek, Fethiye, Marmaris, and Bodrum.

Antalya SightsThis small historic section called Kaleiçi in the center of Antalya was Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk Turkish until finally becoming an Ottoman Turk town. The growth of Antalya did not begin until after World War II and prior to that time Kaleiçi pretty much made up what there was of Antalya. Now the massive stone walls, narrow wandering streets, and old houses have either become small boutique hotels and pensions offering comfortable to luxurious accommodations with fine dining, or bars and cafes with extremely appealing atmosphere. During the Roman era Kaleiçi was where the abundant produce of the plain that stretches east from the city under the southern slopes of the Taurus Mountains was shipped from. Today Kaleiçi is a protected district with strict preservation guidelines for the renovation of historic buildings and even stricter regulations for any new building. There are some tasteless modern buildings in Kaleiçi but they are being eliminated as the district gains in atmosphere. Being under continuous settlement for centuries Kaleiçi suffers the common fate of continuously inhabited locations. The disappearance, decay and the continuous building-over being done by new construction over centuries. In Kaleiçi you can notice many ancient building components re-used in newer walls or if they have any inscriptions on them being ornamentally displayed at the entrance to pensions gardens. To enter the old quarter of Kaleiçi the most convenient is Kalekapısı, and the most inviting and historic is through Hadrian's Gate. Most of Antalya's historic buildings can be seen along the narrow, winding streets of Kaleiçi. Noteworthy sites include: Yivli Minaret, Karatay Medresesi, Hıdırlık Tower, Ahi Yusuf Mescidi, İskele Mosque, Murat Paşa Mosque, Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Mosque, Balibey Mosque, Musellim Mosque, Seyh Sinan Efendi Mosque, Hadrians Arch, and the Clock Tower. Booking a small family owned pension like Sabah Pansiyon in this district is a sure way to enjoy your stay in Antalya.

Antalya SightsHadrians Gate - Hadriyanüs Kapısı was built by and named for a King of Pergamum named Attalus. Attaleia - as it was named then became a Roman city upon the death of the last Pergamene King. Attaleia was surrounded by defensive stone walls with several gates that could be closed and barred in case of an attack. The most impressive of these is Hadrian's Gate - Hadriyanüs Kapisi, a massive triple-arched entry-way similar in appearance to a Roman triumphal arch. Hadrians Gate was built in 130 AD to commemorate Emperor Hadrian's visit to the city. The large stone towers that frame the gate are from different historical periods. The southern tower is Roman with a carved stone plaque set in it as proof. The north tower was rebuilt in the Seljuk Turkish era by Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat I as attested by another plaque set in it. The remarkable thing is that the gate is still in use as a gate. Hadrians Gate leads into Kaleiçi and Hesapçi Sokak with its narrow wandering streets lined with pensions, boutique hotels and cafes. According to the legend, Sultan Belkis, the Queen of Sheba, is said to have passed under those gates and enjoyed a happy day in the palace in Aspendos on her way to visit King Solomon.

Antalya SightsAntalya's Hıdırlık Kulesi is an ancient landmark stone tower, whose foundations are said to date from the 2nd century AD, is situated where Kaleiçi meets Karaalioğlu Park. The 14 meter tall tower is set in a small park overlooking the cliffs of Antalya and the Kaleiçi yacht harbor. No one is quite sure of its purpose and this remains something of a mystery. Some think it was built as a tomb for a great leader because of parts of a fresco within it seem to support this conjecture. But where it is situated is a perfect location to serve as a lighthouse or signal tower. Because of the amount of shipping from the Antalya harbor the lighthouse theory seems to be the probable purpose of the structure. It no longer has this purpose today but serves as a picturesque reminder of the citys past. Its location at the western end of Karaalioğlu Park makes it a place to enjoy spectacular views of the Gulf of Antalya as it has for two millennia. Many of Kaleiçi's charming pensions and boutique hotels are near the Hıdırlık Kulesi along the southern end of Hesapçi Sokak providing a delightful place to stop for a drink or dine on traditional Turkish cuisine.

Antalya SightsAntalya's traditional market area - Turkish: çarsi is conveniently located just inland from Kalekapisi along Kazim Özalp Caddesi. Antalya's old çarsi and market district starts at Kalekapısı and extends north along Kâzim Özalp Caddesi which is also known by its former name of Sarampol Caddesi. Look for the statue of Attalus - the King of Pergamum for whom Antalya was named. The statue is just across the street from the stone tower of Kalekapısı. Stand back to back with the statue of Attalus and you will be facing north up Kâzim Özalp/Sarampol Caddesi. Kazim Özalp Caddesi is a pedestrian-only street which is pleasant to walk and window-shop. As you walk from Kalekapısı along the first block of Kazim Özalp Caddesi to the right of the Attalus statue is a area of tiny narrow streets packed with small shops mostly selling jewelry and souvenirs. This was Antalya's central bazaar for many years and the city's prime place to go to buy food and just about everything else. If you have never been in a Turkish bazaar you will find it very strange and foreign. All the narrow streets of Kaleiçi are interesting and make for an enjoyable afternoons outing. At the beginning of Kâzim Özalp - Şarampol Caddesi is also the place to find many bank ATMs and currency exchange offices. These can be helpful if you need to change money butlook for the best rates as they can vary substantially amongst each other.

Antalya SightsLara Beach - Turkish: Lara Plaji east of Antalya is a long beach with gentle waves, dark colored sand, and some small pebbles. At Lara Beach you will find services offering beach chairs, sun umbrellas, snacks, beverages, showers and ocassionally some entertainment. The beach starts east of the Antalya cliffs just past the lower Düden Waterfall - Turkish: Aşağı Düden Şelalesi. East of the waterfall a promentory extends into the Gulf of Antalya with hotels, restaurants and bars. The real sand beach starts on the east side of the promentory and extends for several kilometers. The first major beach area is Lara Halk Plaji with beach services organized by the city of Antalya. Beyond this municipal beach are various private commercial beach areas which bear numbers 1 to 8 as well as fantasy names. If you don't want to rent a beach chair and umbrella or make use of any of the other services available then find one of the vacant parts of the beach, use your own beach towel and sit back and soak up the sun. To Lara Plaji from the center of Antalya by dolmush minibus take No. 18, 30 or 77. The minibuses run all the way along the beach to the end of the public access area. The ride from Antalya city center near Kalekapısı to the eastern end of the beach will take you about 45 minutes and only a few minutes less if you're only going as far as Lara Halk Plaji. Antalya's other beach - Konyaalti Plaji has coarser sand and small stones but it has better beach services and is quicker and easier to reach by tram or minibus from Kalekapısı. If you want a more crowded and active beach then go to Konyaalti Plaji, but if you are not much into crowds then Lara Plaji is the beach to go to.

Antalya SightsKonyaalti Beach - Turkish: Konyaalti Plaji on the west side of Antalya is a long strand of pebbles backed by a park, some hotels and residential areas. It's closer to the center of Antalya than Lara Plaji on the eastern side of the city. To get to Konyaalti Plaji take the tram westward from Kalekapisi at the center of Antalya to the end of the line near the Antalya Museum and the Hillside Su and Sheraton Voyager Hotels. If you walk from there downhill for 10 minutes you will reach Antalya Beach Park and the eastern end of Konyaalti Plaji. Antalya Beach Park has shade trees, snack stands, restaurants, cafes and bars, showers and other services. There also beach chairs and sun umbrellas for rent. Behind Antalya Beach Park is a large parking lot for visitor cars. Further west away from the city and toward the dramatic backdrop of the Beydaglari mountains is an area where there are fewer services but still sufficient services in many places. Usually you will see the blue flag flying along Konyaalti which signifies that the water is clean and safe for swimming. The easiest way to reach Konyaalti from the center of Antalya at Kalekapısı is to step aboard the tram pay the fare and get out at the last stop. Be sure you're boarding the westbound tram toward the mountains.

Antalya SightsAntalya Museum - Turkish: Antalya Müzesi - The province of Antalya includes numerous important ancient Hellenic, Hellenistic and Roman cities and towns, and other ancient archeological sites and the best artifacts from most of them have been brought to Antalya to form this museums outstanding collection. Artifacts from the many wealthy cities in the region including numerous Roman marble statuary and sarcophagi are preserved here. The Antalya Museum is a must-see for anyone who is interested in the diverse archeological history of Turkey's Mediterranean coast. A fine-grained black and white marble statue of a dancer was discovered in 1981 during the excavation of the Gallery of Claudius Peison at the South Bath of in the ruins of the ancient city of Perge. It is one of the most significant discoveries among all the statues found in the area. It uses an interesting technique with two colors of marble - black for the hair and clothing and white for the face, neck and arms. This was accomplished by using large and small pieces from different size blocks. One hundred and three broken and weathered pieces of marble excavated were placed together for the restoration. The sweeping ends of the belt on the statue emphasize the twisting motion of the figure. Due to this obvious motion in the the figure it received its name of "Dancer". She is a second century copy of an original statue that belonged to the Rococo style of the Hellenistic period. Source: "Sculptures of the Museum in Antalya" by Edip Özgür. An easy and inexpensive way to reach the museum from Kalekapisi is to take the tram westward toward the mountains to the end of the line. The museum is open daily except Monday.


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