ANTALYA is both a large and very fashionable, attractive city and a resort town on the central Mediterranean coast, which is also called THE TURKISH RIVIERA of Turkey (Turkiye).
Antalya (the Ancient Atteleia) offer beautiful sunshine for 300 days a year. In Antalya lovely natural beaches and citrus fruit orchards everywhere found and there are also lovely parks. Antalya airport is 6 miles(~10 km) east of the city center.
In this region the pine-clad Taurus Mountains (TOROS DAGLARI) which sweep down to the sparkling clear Mediterranean coast. This lovely mountainous region forms an irregular coastline of rocky headlands and secluded coves.
ANTALYA has wonderful climate with full sunshine for 300 days a year. This beautiful region offer Turkey's most beautiful beaches. The most frequently visited beaches are KONYAALTI and LARA.
They are a absolute paradise for sunbathers and swimmers. Sporting activities such as wind surfing, water skiing, sailing, mountain climbing, hurtling, and caving are also popular here.
This region is of historical significance. During the second century B.C. the King of PERGAMUM, ATTELAI the 2nd, founded the area. Believing this spot on the Mediterranean was ideal for a harbor, he gave his own name to this city. The Romans, Byzantines, and Seljuks' in turn occupied the city before it came under Ottoman rule.
Antalya itself has a number of places of cultural and historical interest. In the center of the Antalya... KALEICI district (inner castle) you will find HADRIAN's GATE, the YIVLI MINARE (The Grooved Minaret). And the Archeological Museum, the Karatay Medresesi (The Ological College), Kesik Minaret, the Hidirlik Tower (Hidirlik Kulesi) are all worth seeing.
When the Roman Emperor Hadrian visited Antalya in 130 A.D., a beautifully decorated gate with three arches was built into the city walls in his honor. The gate was contracted for and built as a victory arch. The gate is incredibly well-preserved, and the two towers flanking it as well as some sections of the wall are also still standing.
Antalya's landmark and symbol, the elegant Fluted Minaret of the YIVLI MINARE MOSQUE (The Grooved Minaret), was originally a BYZANTINE CHURCH. It was turned into a Mosque during the reign of ALAEDDIN KEYKUBAT, the Seljuk Sultan (13th century). This beautiful minaret is decorated with dark blue tiles. Today it is used as a small archaeological museum.
It is particularly impressive since it contains treasures dating from the Bronze Age.
In the region, several one-day trips are possible outside Antalya. Natural attractions include the MANAVGAT WATERFALLS (Manavgat Selalesi), the Upper and Lower DUDEN WATERFALLS (l4 km northeast of Antalya) and the fascinating KADINYARI cliff.
To explore the natural splendors, a trip to the Taurus Mountains and the KOPRULU CANYON NATIONAL PARK also is recommended. Antalya is also a good base for visits to nearby archeological sites such as Aspendos, Olimpos, Perge, Phaselis, Side and Termessos.
DEMRE (Myra), PATARA and PERGE (Murtuna)
On the west side of Antalya, when you drive 16 mi (25 km) further west from FINIKE you'll see Ancient MYRA, where the St.Nicholas Church is located. MYRA is located just outside of the Turkish town of DEMRE (also known as KALE), 50 miles (~80km) drive from Antalya, includes the eternal flame of the Bay Mountains to PATARA, where St. Nicholas, the "real" Santa Claus, was born. Patara is located about 6 miles (~10 km) beyond KALKAN.
When you visit these areas we suggest you start your journey early. The curved mountainous road cannot be traveled fast, so a considerable time needs to be allowed for safe driving.
PATARA is also a place for those who love beaches. Its 9 mi(14 km) long pure, white sand stretches as far as the eye can see, making it a natural choice for all types of beach sports. Visitors can find accommodations in the nearby city of KALKAN.
PERGE is another ancient city. This city is located 11 miles (~19 km) from Antalya on the east side. Perge was originally settled by the Hittites around 1500 B.C. St. Paul preached some of his first sermons here and he also visited this city. Perge was well known during the time of Alexander the Great (334 BC). The city features the remains of a theater and a marvelous city gate. Other notable sights include the ruins of the agora, or market place, and the stadium.
This magnificent theater was build in the Second Century, A.D. and can host 15 thousand guests
ASPENDOS (BELKIZ)Aspendos also known locally as BELKIS or/and BELKIZ is situated 31mi (50Km) east of Antalya (~3 miles(5km) off the main highway) and has been made famous by the presence of one of the best preserved Roman amphitheatre in the world.
In ancient time ASPENDOS was a major port and commercial center on the Mediterranean coast. Aspendos today lies inland. Its theater was built by order of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius ( 1601-1800 A.D.) by the architect ZENON. The stage of this magnificent
theatre has several stories and the auditorium could hold up to 20,000 spectators.
This magnificent amphitheatre is the best preserved in the world and is known for its unusual acoustics.
Even today, it is still used for concerts. Here, every year in the month of May; during THE ASPENDOS FESTIVAL, a large symphonic orchestra plays classical music. How exciting it is to be a concert-goer surrounded by such history! It is just like attending an extraordinary world premiere.
SIDE and TERME (Termessos)
50 miles(~80km) from ANTALYA along to ALANYA, on a small peninsula, 2 miles (~3km) off the main highway, you will want to go to THE RUINS OF SIDE. These ruins like near golden sandy beaches. The exact date of this city's foundation is not clear, but major development took place in the 7th century B.C. when it was colonized by the Greeks.
The HELLENISTIC city Side was a major PAMPHYLIAN port, which became a principal slave market during the ROMAN period. In this area are many ruins worth visiting. They are the Pamphylian Theater, Agora Temple and the Roman Bath
The impressive ancient theatre is the only one in Turkey which was not built on a hillside. SIDE offers modern hotels on the sweeping sandy beach, lively cafes, discos and restaurants. You will also enjoy browsing and shopping in the many colorful shops.
Terme(Termessos) ruins are located above Antalya, on a plateau of South Gulluk Mountain (Solymos) and it is 5490 ft (~1650 meters) above sea level. TERME is now part of the GULLUK NATIONAL PARK and the road is well maintained. History tells us that Terme had two periods of prosperity during Hellenistic time and Roman rule.
By the way; not far from SIDE, near the village of MANAVGAT, are the MANAVGAT WATERFALLS (Manavgat Selalesi) which are very famous for their spectacular scenery and trout fishing. The falls are not high, but the current is very powerful and the river rushes milky white over the rocks and the streams are full of trout.
There is a lovely terrace in mid-stream and a cafe so it is a cool place to relax and is especially welcome after a summer day of sightseeing. Yes... MANAVGAT SELALESI is absolutely beautiful !
If you visit Turkey during fall DON'T MISS IT! Every year in October Antalya hosts an annual festival of featuring artistic and dramatic groups, folk dances, motion movies and music: Golden Orange Film Festival (Altin Portakal Film Festivali)
DID YOU KNOW? In the 4th century St. Nicholas (SANTA CLAUS) was a bishop of MYRA in southwest Asia Minor (now is Turkey)?
St. Nicholas Church still stands just outside the Turkish town of DEMRE... formerly a large commercial town of MYRA, opposite of Rhodes Island. He was born in 280 AD in the city of PATARA, and died in MYRA on 6 December 345. His generosity, and his kindness to children became legendary.
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