We recently spent six lovely days in Antalya, Turkey. It’s located on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Kaleiçi is the historic area of the town. It started as a Roman town around 150 BC, and was named after it’s founder: Attalos II, King of Pergamon. It later changed hands to the Byzantines, then the Seljuk Turks, and finally passed to the Ottoman Turks.
King Attalos III bequeathed his kingdom to Rome upon his death in 133 BC, and Antalya became part of the Roman Republic.
Antalya was visited by the Apostle Paul, as recorded in the book of Acts: “From Perga, Paul and Barnabas went down to Attalia and sailed from there to Antioch after preaching in Pisidia and Pamphylia” (Acts 14:25-26).
This harbor is where he sailed from!
Antalya was a major city in the Byzantine Empire. It was conquered by the Seljuk Turks in the 13th century. It was conquered by the Ottomans in the 14th century.
Kaleiçi is a lovely place to just wander through the winding streets.
The Broken Mınaret Mosque Kesik Minare has changed hands on multiple occasions through the centuries. It was originally built as a Roman temple in the 2nd century AD. The Roman Temple was later converted into a Christian church during the Byzantine era in the 7th century. It was converted into a mosque in the 13th century, and the minaret was added. Not long after, it was converted back into a church when Antalya was taken by the crusader king of Cyprus. It was reconverted yet again to a mosque, and has remained a mosque since!
The modern city of Antalya started growing after World War II. It is located in a lovely location, surrounded by mountains, facing the beautiful Mediterranean Sea with its beautiful beaches.
I was surprised to find out that Antalya, as the gateway to the Turkish Riviera, is in the top ten of most visited cities of the world!!! It has surpassed Istanbul as a tourist destination. It draws both history buffs and sun-seekers. Most tourists stay in the beach resorts in Konyaalti or Lara.
However, modern Antalya,with its tall buildings and large tourist developments along the coast, didn’t draw me like Kaleiçi did. There are lots of great day trips if you are based in Kaleiçi. Check out these recommendations from Tripadvisor:
Avoid all those crowds…visit Antalya between September and May. April, May, September and October are the best months to find nice weather without so many tourists. We were there in February and enjoyed weather in the upper 60’s and it even hit 70 for a day. Sunshine is amazing, especially after a cold winter in Europe!
Beaches, ancient ruins, the Mediterranean, snow capped mountains, sunshine…what’s not to like? Best of all are the friendly Turks and their wonderful cuisine. We’ll definitely be back!