Antalya is a city where three out of four seasons are spring and the other is summer, where you can ski on a magnificent mountain in the morning and swim in the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean in the afternoon.
When King Attalos first set eyes on Antalya he called it “Paradise on Earth”. Its fertile soil and natural harbour made it favourable for settlers throughout the ages. Therefore Antalya has a rich cultural heritage with many remains of an outstanding history. The Persians, Alexander the Great, the Romans, the Arabs and many more have left their mark on the area over the centuries but no one more than King Attalos of Pergamon who in 159 B.C. gave the region its name Attaleia, which leaded to the modern name Antalya.
In the western part of Antalya one of history's first major confederations, the Lycian Union, was formed. This league, once the most powerful in the region, had its member states represented by a system of one, two or three votes, depending on the size and importance of the states. Starting from the west end of present day Antalya and stretching to Fethiye in the province of Muğla, Lycia - the land of light - covered a very large area for those days. To the east stretched the state of Pamphylia, the land of all tribes.
Antalya and its environs enjoyed a golden era in the first and second centuries A.D. reflected in the magnificence and multitude of cities of that époque, like Side and Aspendos in the east and Phaselis, Olympos and Xanthos in the west, just to name a few.
Those days of glory began to fade however during the Byzantium period at the turn of the 3rd century A.D. with the fall of Constantinople.
Later the Arab invasions with their plundering signalled the final demise of these great cities. In 1207 the regions Antalya and Alanya came to be associated with the Seljuk. Antalya changed hands between rules of small kingdoms until the 14th century when it fell to the Ottomans.
Today the city of Antalya is a cultural and tourism hub with much on offer to satisfy the discerning visitor. The region attracts nearly half of the tourists coming to Turkey and the hotels are new and of high standards. The tourism areas east and west of Antalya feature different concepts, there are the two beaches of Antalya itself, Lara and Konyaaltı, the Kundu area is popular for the Theme Hotels and Belek with its 11 golf courses has become an important golf destination of the Mediterranean. While Alanya is well-known for its nightlife and choice of entertainment facilities, Kemer, a small resort west of Antalya, makes its visitors fall in love with its magnificent surroundings and beautiful landscape.
Antalya keeps up with the innovations and developments in the tourism sector while preserving its cultural heritage and the charming Anatolian way of life. Everything relating to history, nature, culture, tradition, shopping and dining exists in this region – combined with the cordial hospitality of the Turkish people.
The ancient city of Antalya was protected by two walls, in the shape of a horseshoe, one running along the shoreline and the other inland. There were also walls built specifically to separate settlements from each other and watch towers were built every fifty feet or so along the outer walls. These walls date back to ancient times when the Romans built on the Hellenic foundations. Eventually these were widened and repaired by the Seldjuks.
Many stone blocks with ancient inscriptions were used and the walls were well protected until the 19th century. Some remains of the walls can still be seen today as well as a few turrets, Hadrian's Gate, the Clock Tower and the Hıdırlık Tower. Nowadays the ancient city centre surrounded by sea and land walls is called the Kaleiçi. The streets and buildings still bear the marks of Antalya's history. The characteristics of the old houses tell not only a tale of architecture but also reflect the social lives, customs and habits of the people who dwelled in old Antalya and provide us with much valuable information about that time.
The streets in the old town are narrow and slope upwards from the harbour. Some very interesting historical sites to visit within the old town are the mosque with the truncated minaret, the fluted minaret (Yivli Minaret) the Keyhusrev Medrese, the Karatay Medrese, the Iskele Mosque and the Tekeli Mehmet Pasa Mosque and various old chapels especially the Church of St. George which has been beautifully restored by the Suna-Inan Kiraç foundation. The presence of churches in the old town reflects the recent chequered history of the area. During the 19th century there were many inhabitants of Greek and Armenian origin who lived and traded happily alongside their Turkish counterparts. And it is this multicultural aspect of the old town that gives it its very distinctive atmosphere.
The yacht harbour and surrounds offer awe-inspiring views both day and night that have moved many a local and foreign painter, poet and writer to achieve great works.
Evidence of human habitation dating back over 200 000 years has been unearthed in the Carain caves 30 km to the north of Antalya city. Other findings dating back to Neolithic times and more recent periods show that the area has been populated by various ancient civilizations throughout the ages.
• Records from the Hittite period (when the first recorded political union of Anatolian cities was set up calling itself the Lycian league) refer to the area as the Lands of Arzarwa and document the lively interaction going on between the provinces in 1700 BC.
• Historical records document how cities developed independently, how the area as a whole was called Pamphilia and how a federation of cities was set up in the province. There is also a record of the migration of the Akha Clan to the area after the Trojan war.
• The reign of the Kingdom of Lydia in the west Anatolia came to an end in 560 BC after the Persians defeated it during the battle of Sardis in 546 BC.
• From 334 BC until his death, Alexander the Great conquered the cities of the area one by one - leaving out Termessos and Silion- and so continued the sovereignty of the Persians.
• With the defeat of the Seleucid army at Apamaea began the reign of the Kingdom of Pergamon. In 150 BC Attalos the 2nd, king of Pergamon, founded the city of Attalaia (today’s Antalya) to base his powerful naval fleet.
• When Attalos the 3rd, the last king of Pergamon, died in 133 BC he left his kingdom to the Romans. The Roman and subsequent Byzantine Empires ruled the area for the next 13 centuries.
• In 1207 A.D. the Selchuk Turks conquered Antalya and then Alanya in 1220 A.D.This marked the end of Roman/Byzantine rule.
• Ottoman rule began in 1391. The brief occupation of the area by the Italians came to an abrupt end after the First World War with the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923. The area is now registered as a province of the Republic of Turkey.
Majestic cruise along Antalya's beautiful coastal scenery
Sites include Düden Waterfalls, Rat Island & Akyarlar Beach
Entertainment, swimming & fun for the whole family
Picturesque landscape with steep cliffs & lush green hills
Opportunity to relax, sunbathe & explore the coast
Open buffet lunch
Local alcoholic or soft drinks, tea, and coffee
Round-trip transportation to and from your Antalya hotel
Live tour commentary provided in English