Antalya is a Turkish resort city with a yacht-filled Old Harbour and beaches flanked by large hotels. It’s a gateway to Turkey’s southern Mediterranean region, known as the Turquoise Coast for its blue waters. Remnants remain from Antalya’s time as a major Roman port.
Antalya is the fastest-growing city in Turkey, and tourists from around the world are discovering its fabulous mix of great beaches and traditional Turkish culture. Kids will love the Beach Park, which features Aqua Land (a waterslide-fanatic’s dream) and Dolphin Land (home to dolphins, sea lions and white whales). Make sure to explore the old town centre and to see Hadrian’s Gate.
Since its founding in the second century B.C. by Attalus II, a king of Pergamon, who named the city Attaleai after himself, Antalya has been continuously inhabited. The Romans, Byzantines and Seljuks in turn occupied the city before it came under Ottoman rule. The elegant fluted minaret of the Yivli Minareli Mosque in the centre of the city built by the Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubat in the 13th century has become the Antalya’s symbol. The Karatay Meese (theological college) in the Kaleici district, from the same period, exemplifies the best of Seljuk stone carvings. The two most important Ottoman mosques in the city are the 16th century Murat Pasa Mosque, remarkable for its tile decoration, the 18th century Tekeli Mehmet Pasa Mosque. Neighbouring the marina, the attractive late 19th century Iskele Mosque is built of cut stone and set on four pillars over a natural spring. The Hidirlik Kulesi (tower) was probably originally constructed as a lighthouse in the second century. Today a church, the Kesik Minaret Mosque attests to the city’s long history in its succession of Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman renovations. When Emperor Hadrian visited Antalya in 130 A.D. a beautifully decorated three arched gate was built into the city walls in his honour.