One of the most famous resorts of the Turkish Riviera has a lot to offer. Sunny weather, golden and extensive beaches as well as access to the Mediterranean Sea open up a long list of attractions of the metropolis where the cultures of East and West intertwine creating an intriguing mosaic.
The symbol of the city is undoubtedly Yivli Minare Mosque (also called Fluted Minaret) – one of the oldest Islamic monuments in Antalya. The mosque serves the function of a popular, 38 meter-high landmark. The building is open to tourists, but it is worth bearing in mind that to get to its top, you have to overcome ninety stairs.
In the old town
If you like to get lost in a maze of narrow streets or just take a leisurely stroll, go to Kaleiçi, the oldest district of the Turkish metropolis. This is where the magnificent Hadrian’s Gate is located – a triumphal arch built in the name of the Roman emperor Hadrian. Although the top story of the monument did not survive to our times, the construction is considered the most beautiful in Antalya.
The Kaleiçi district is fronted by a harbor that dates to the Roman era. It is worth staying here because of the breathtaking Mediterranean panorama. The view of the bay also extends from the Hıdırlık Tower from the 1st and 2nd century AD. Interestingly, it is difficult to say exactly what the object function was in the past. The most common hypothesis is that the monument used to be a tomb, whereas some say that the tower served as a lighthouse or a church.
A green point
In the southern part of Kaleiçi, in Karaalioğlu Park, you can wind down while walking along green avenues. The park also offers numerous playgrounds for children, as well as special cat house designed for furry felines. In Kedi Evi, our pets can sleep on comfortable mattresses as well as eat and drink. The Turks care for cats – on the streets you can find bowls full of water and food, and often encounter these animals at street stands, shops and even shopping malls.
Equally interesting as Antalya itself are its surroundings. Upper Düden – the highest waterfall in this part of Turkey, which flows into the Mediterranean with a wide stream, is located approx. 11 kilometers from the city. On the other hand, you can enjoy the sight of the Lower Düden Falls next to the road leading to Lara beach in Antalya. If you like contact with nature, take advantage of the rich tourist offer and set off on a day trip. Typically, the program includes – in addition to visiting the complex of waterfalls, a trip to the Kurşunlu Waterfalls National Park.
In the past
Side, a city which in the ancient times was “famous” for the trade of slaves and piracy, is located between Antalya and Alanya. Up to this day, it is possible to admire the remains of Roman culture such as well-preserved Roman Theater, or ruins of Apollo temples whose antique columns, reconstructed in the 1980s, are in close vicinity to the sea shore. It is best to spend at least one day on exploring the town and taking advantage of the resort’s attractions.
In a Turkish bath house
When in Turkey, you should definitely hit the Turkish bath house called hammam. Traditional baths are not co-educational – on particular days of the week, they are open to either women or men. Sometimes they have two separate rooms. Bath houses offer washing, peeling, massage and, of course, sauna services. Hammam is an extremely important part of Turkish culture. In the past, people met here to celebrate important family events, such as weddings, while maintaining the principle of gender division.
Tastes of Antalya
It is worth trying Turkish coffee and original kebabs with mutton, lamb or poultry. For Turks, kebab does not mean a specific dish, but the way of preparing meat – in this case horizontally (şiş) or vertically (döner) meat stacked on a spit. Take advantage of the closeness of the sea and enjoy fresh fish and seafood grilled. Interestingly, in Turkey, they are served with a glass of anise-flavoured vodka. People who prefer sweets should try Maraş ice cream made from goat’s milk.