In recent years, the gulf of Antalya, with a coastal strip of some 200 km with bays and coves of exceptional beauty filled with the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean, has become one of the most popular tourist resorts in Turkey. The coastal plain is covered with banana plantations and orchards of citrous fruit, as well as pine forests and groves of palm trees.
The peaks of the Taurus mountains, from which tall trees descend in places right down to the shore, remain covered in snow right up until the middle of summer. Antalya itself, as well as the nearby tourist centers of Kemer, Beldibi, Belek, Side and Alanya, are thronged with tourists through every season of the year.
The coves, valleys and forests in the vicinity offer picnic sites of extraordinary beauty. Besides the ancient cities, there are waterfalls and caverns and many other natural beauties waiting to greet the visitor.
The city of Antalya is situated on cliffs at the extreme and of the gulf. The city center is located in the region contained within the old defense walls surrounding the yacht harbor, but, since the 1970's and 1980's the city has expanded very rapidly towards the west and north. In last twenty years, immigration from central and eastern Anatolia has raised the urban population by some 400%.
The production of cotton on the fertile soil, the huge greenhouses and of course, tourism all contribute to local wealth and prosperity. Antalya also contains a number of summer-houses owned by residents in other parts of Turkey.
Although the surrounding region has been inhabited for nearly 50.000 years, the center of the province of Antalya is a fairly recent settlement.
While the other ancient cities in the vicinity date back as far as 1000 B.C. Antalya was founded in the 2nd century A.D. by Attalus, King of Pergamon, who named the city "Atteleia".
The ancient city, whose main source of income were the trade in salt, olive oil, fish cereals, cedar wood and saddle beasts, was incorporated under the Roman Empire in 133 BC in accordance with the bequest of the last Pergamene king. Famous personalities who visited the city in ancient times included St Paul and Barnabas in the 1st century AD and the Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd. Its fertile soil, its warm climate and its exceptional geographical situation exposed Pamphylia, which actually means land of all tribes, to invasions by a number of very different civilizations throughout the course of its history.
In 1207 the region was captured by the Seljuks and in the 15th century by the Ottomans, after which it was populated mainly by Turks.
In 1918-1921, after the end of the First World War, the whole region was occupied by Italian forces.
Antalya is also one of the most important centers of art and culture in Turkey and is enlivened by various cultural activities such as the annual Art and Film Festival and Jewel Festival. Another of the specialties of the region is the preparation of jams made from all sorts of local fruit and vegetables.
The harbor area is undoubtedly the most interesting part of the city. Although construction was begun at the time of the foundation of the city the surviving remains generally date back to the 3rd century AD with traces of Roman and Ottoman restorations work in the upper parts of the walls. The marina is surrounded by numerous bars, cafes, restaurants and tea- gardens, and from the tea-gardens, set on the top of the cliffs, high above the harbor, one can enjoy a marvelous birds eye view of the loveliest part of the old city; Since the 1970s, many of the old stone or wooden Ottoman houses that line the narrow streets contained within the old defense walls have been restored and converted into pensions, hotels and restaurants.
The Fluted Minaret in Republic Square, which has he come the symbol of the city, belongs to the multi-domed mosque built by the Seljuk Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad at the beginning of the 13th century.
The minaret itself, which rises to a height of 38 m, rests on an octagonal base supported by a square stone plinth. Among the monuments located within the walls, the most interesting is the Truncated Minaret.
This minaret, which was partially destroyed by an earthquake, was added in the 14th century to a large edifice originally constructed as a temple in the 2nd century A.D. This was converted into a church during the Byzantine period and, finally, into a mosque by the Ottomans.
The Hıdırlık Tower, which rises to a height of 14 m on the cliffs to the south of the harbor entrance, was built as a lighthouse in the 2nd century AD
From the tower, a short walk takes one to the Karaali Park, whose tea- gardens, with their trees and pools, offer delightful coolness and shade on a hot summer afternoon together with a marvelous view over the city with the peaks of the Taurus Mts. in the background.
The section of the city walls on the east towards the ancient city of Perge contains a very well-preserved triple- arched monumental gate in the form of a Roman triumphal arch. Built in 130 AD on the occasion of the Emperor Hadrians visit to the city, it is known as Hadrians Gate after the Emperor to whom it was dedicated. One of the places that must definitely be visited during a visit to Antalya is the modern Archaeological Museum in the western part of the city. In 1972 the Antalya Archaeological Museum was transferred to this new building situated by the side of several 5-star hotels at the top of the road leading down to Konyaalti beach. The exhibits were re- arranged in 1985.
Here are preserved the most interesting of the findings discovered in the region, beautifully arranged in thirteen sections, with a large number of statues and excavations exhibited in the garden. All the well-preserved findings unearthed during the excavations carried out in the ancient cities around the region are brought here for exhibition. The museum contains an extraordinarily rich collection of objects ranging from prehistoric stone implements to statues of the gods, from Roman imperial sculpture to Roman and Greek coins, and from ancient floor mosaics to ethnographic artifacts of the Ottoman period.