ANTALYA

In Antalya, the pine-clad Toros (Taurus) Mountains sweep down to the sparkling clear sea forming an irregular coastline of rocky headlands and secluded coves. The region, bathed in sunshine for 300 days of the year, is a paradise of sunbathing, swimming, and sporting activities like windsurfing, water-skiing, sailing, mountain climbing and caving. If you come to Antalya in March and April, you can ski in the mornings and in the afternoons swim in the warm waters of the Mediterranean. Important historical sites and beautiful mosques await your discovery, amid a landscape of pine forests, olive and citrus groves and palm, avocado and banana plantations.

Antalya Kaleiçi marinaThe Turkish Riviera is Turkey's tourism capital. Its full range of accommodations, from tourist class to deluxe hotels, and the hospitable people of Antalya will make your holiday comfortable and enjoyable. Set amid amazing scenery of sharp contrasts, Antalya, Turkey's principal holiday resort, is an attractive city with shady palm-lined boulevards and a prize-winning marina. In the picturesque old quarter, Kaleici, narrow, winding streets and old wooden houses abut the ancient city walls.

Since its founding in the second century B.C. by Attalos II, a king of Pergamon, who named the city Attaleia after himself, Antalya has been continuously inhabited. The Romans, Byzantines and Seljuks successively occupied the city before it came under Ottoman rule. The elegant, fluted minaret of the Yivli Minareli Mosque in the center of the city, built by the Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubat in the 13th century, has become Antalya's symbol. The Karatay Medrese (theological college) in the Kaleici district, from the same period, exemplifies the best of Seljuk stone carving. The two most important Ottoman mosques in the city are the 16th century Murat Pasa Mosque, remarkable for its tile decoration, and the 18th century Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Mosque. Neighbouring the marina, the attractive late 19th century Iskele Mosque is built of cut stone and set on four pillars over a natural spring. The Hidirlik Kulesi (tower) probably was originally constructed as a lighthouse in the second century. The Kesik Minaret Mosque attests to the city's long history in its succession of Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman renovations.

When Emperor Hadrian visited Antalya in 130 A.D. a beautifully decorated three-arched gate was built into the city walls in his honour. Near the marina the two towers flanking the gate and other sections of the walls still stand. The clock tower in Kalekapısı Square was also part of the old city's fortifications.

In the Atatürk and Karaalioglu Parks, with their colorful exotic flowers and the bay's shimmering water in front of you and the mountains behind, you will have no doubt why Antalya has become such a popular resort. And Aqua Park, on the eastern coast, has every kind of water sports, including many interesting water-slides.

Antalya The award-winning Antalya Kaleiçi Marina and Leisure Center is considered one of the loveliest marinas in Turkey. This center can well meet every tourist's need worth its many souvenir shops, friendly cafes and restaurants as well as yacht moorings and services. Sail in the morning and enjoy the restful peace of the marina in the afternoon. The old city walls, lit at night, lend an atmosphere of serenity and timelessness.

The Archaeological Museum, with remains from the Paleolithic Age to Ottoman times, offers a glimpse of the area's rich history. The Atatürk Museum displays objects used by the founder of the Turkish Republic. (Both open weekdays except Monday)

The Antalya Altın Portakal (Golden Orange) Film and Art Festival, held in the autumn, attracts both participants and visitors. The ancient theatre in Aspendos makes an impressive setting for some of the festival's plays and concerts.

Antalya also hosts annual jewellery fairs.

Daily Excursions

That could be more appealing than dreamlike landscapes, grandiose mountains and the magnificent colours of the sea and plants? Then contrast the lively holiday life with the quiet of ancient ruins and you have a perfect vacation. Near Antalya are many things to see and do; below are some suggestions for day-trips. You can walk behind the cascade, a thrilling experience; at the Upper Duden Waterfalls, l4 km northeast of Antalya. On the way to Lara Beach, the Lower Duden Waterfalls plunge straight into the sea. The nearby rest area offers an excellent view of the falls; the view is even more spectacular from the sea. Kursunlu Waterfalls and Nilufer Lake, both 18 km from Antalya, are two more places of superb natural beauty.

The sandy Lara Beach lies about 12 km to the east. Closer to Antalya, but to the west, the long, pebbled Konyaalti Beach offers a view of the breathtaking mountain range. A little further, the Bey Daglari (Olympos) National Park and Topcam Beach provide more splendid vistas. Sıçan is a lovely nature island. There are camping grounds at the north end of the park should you decide to linger amid the natural beauty. For a panoramic view of the area drive to the holiday complex and revolving restaurant on top of Tunektepe Hill.

Saklikent, 50 km from Antalya, is an ideal winter sports resort on the northern slopes of Bakırlı Mountain at an altitude of 1,750 to 1,900 meters. In March and April you can ski in the morning, eat a delicious lunch of fresh fish at Antalya's marina and sunbathe, swim or windsurf in the afternoon. The wildlife - deer and mountain goat in Düzlerçamı Park, north of Antalya are under a conservation program. On the way, you can stop at the astonishing 115 meter -deep Güver Canyon.

On the eastern side of Can Mountain, 30 km from Antalya, the Karain Cave, which dates from the Paleolithic Age (50,000 B.C.), is the site of the oldest settlement in Turkey. A single entrance, lit by the morning sun, opens onto three large interconnecting chambers. Although the little museum at the entrance displays some of the finds, most of the artifacts are housed in various museums throughout Turkey.

The ruins of the city of Termessos, set inside Güllük Mourn, a national park northwest of Antalya, is perched on a 1,050 meter high plateau on the west face of Güllük Mountain (Solymos). A wild and splendid landscape surrounds the monumental traces of this city. (A nature and wildlife museum is to be found at the park entrance.)

North of Antalya

BurdurRenowned for its unspoilt landscape and flora and fauna, the Goller Bolgesi (Lake District) lies in a mountainous area 150 km north of Antalya. Burdur is known throughout Turkey for its beautiful lakes, as well as for its carpets and kilims. The city preserves excellent examples of Ottoman regional architecture, in particular the Tasoda, Kocaoda (also known as Çelikbaş), and Mısırlılar Konaks, or mansions. Dating back to the 17th century, both the interior and exterior decorations reveal much of the Ottoman aesthetic, (Open weekdays except Monday). The Burdur Archaeological Museum houses some very important artifacts from around the region. (Open weekdays except Monday)

Burdur Lake, with nice beaches for swimming, is a superb location for water sports. A climb to the top of Susamlık Hill gives you a panoramic view over the city and lake. The Insuyu Cave, 10 km south on the road to Antalya, is 597 meters long, with nine distinct pools, and chambers filled with stalactites and stalagmites. A hundred kilometres southwest of Burdur, in Golhisar (Cibyra), are ruins, mostly from Roman times, of an important ancient northern Lycian city with a stadium, lower and upper agora, theatre, necropolis and large aqueducts. Also in the region, trapped in the mountains 1,050 meters above sea level, is beautiful Lake Salda, an ideal location for relaxation and cooling off on the sandy beaches or in the lakeside cafes, hotels and restaurants.

Between Burdur and Isparta, near the town of Aglasun, is the ancient site of Sagalassos, a Pisidian city with ruins from Roman times including a monumental entrance gate, colonnaded street, agora, temple and magnificent theatre.

ISPARTA

Isparta Yalvaç Augustus tapınağıIsparta, high in the Taurus Mountains, is a city of lakes with lovely coastal areas overgrown in the spring and summer with an exuberance of wild flowers. In the city you should stop at the Ulu Mosque built in 1417 by the Seljuks. The Bedesten, or covered bazaar, dates from 1561. Firdevs Paşa Mosque was built in the 16th century by the great Ottoman architect Sinan. Be sure to see the 14th century Isparta Castle. Rose gardens that produce rose oil for the cosmetic industry surround the city and fill it with their sweet scent. Other souvenirs include a thickly piled Isparta carpet. In the nearby hills, the districts of Kirazlıdere and Sidre are popular with visitors who want to relax and enjoy the view. South of Isparta, Gölcük Lake, encircled by aromatic pine forests; rests at an impressive 1,405 meters above sea level.

EGIRDIR LAKE

Isparta Eğirdir LakeEgirdir, at the southern end of Lake Egirdir, is set in idyllic natural surroundings. Among the man-made monuments, Eğirdir Castle built by the Lydian King Croesus shows the additions and renovations of the Romans, Byzantines and Seljuks. The Seljuk Kemerli Minare has felt the changes of the modem world - today it stands in the middle of a road. At lakeside restaurants you can sample white bass, the local speciality. A boardwalk connects the shore to Eğirdir Island where weavers erect their looms and work outside their houses. On the western side of the lake, up in the hills, Barla's guest-houses provide a wonderful opportunity for relaxation. Kovada National Park, 30 km south of Lake Eğirdir, surrounds Kovada Lake, a pristine and cool mountain getaway.

Isparta YalvaçNortheast of Isparta, Yalvac stands near the ancient city of Pisidian Antioch. This area was visited by St. Paul and St. Barnabas in 46 A.D. Among the ruins be sure to see St. Paul's Basilica, the aqueducts, Augustus' Temple, the theatre and public baths as you walk along the city's marble streets. The Archaeological Museum in Yalvaç itself displays several important regional artifacts. Tourists will find not only leather clothing but many interesting traditional souvenirs made of animal hide. East of Yalvaç, atop Karakuyu Hill, is the sanctuary of the Moon God, Men, and the view from it some is breathtaking. Giant cedar trees grow in Kızıldag National Park, south of Yalvaç, amid one of Turkey's most splendid landscapes.

The Coast West of Antalya / The Coast of Light

The mountains of the Toros (Taurus) Range is up immediately behind the coast, the whole length - from Konyaaltı Beach to the Kırlangıç Peninsula - is a national preserve, the Bey Daglari (Olympos) National Park. The history of this area, the ancient Lycian Peninsula, can be traced back to the Neolithic Age to the settlements at Beldibi.

Antalya Kemer marinaThe 42 km of road from Antalya to Kemer pass through spectacular mountain scenery. This resort town has been carefully designed to blend in with the surrounding scenery and offers an ideal environment for a wonderful holiday. A fully equipped Kemer marina has facilities for all activities so that yachtsmen can enjoy the unspoilt bays and beaches south of the town. Shoppers will delight in the wonderful range of high quality souvenirs for sale. A beach promenade north of the marina has steps leading down from its cafes and shops directly to the beach. Kemer Beach is a Blue Flag beach. The term "Blue Flag" coined by the European Union means clean beach. In the Yörük (Nomad) Theme Park you can watch traditional craftspeople at work. The adjoining bay is a charming and delightful spot with many sports and daily entertainment facilities discreetly hidden among the pines. April is the month for the colorful Kemer Carnival. Also in the spring are the yacht races between Kemer and Girne in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Kiziltepe, Goynuk (Blue Flag) and Beldibi (Blue Flag) north of Kemer and Çamyuva and Tekirova (Blue Flag) to the south, are tourist centres full of various activities. The holiday villages are all designed to blend into the forest that encircles them. At the foot of Mt.Tahtalı (Olympos),15 km south of Kemer, the three harbours of Phaselis were once a major commercial center. The ruins of aqueducts, agoras, baths, a theatre, Hadrian's Gate and an acropolis reveal the city's historical importance. From the south harbour, look up at Mt. Tahtali for a spectacular view. The sheltered sandy beaches make a superb playground, and the waters are calm and safe for swimmers.

The ancient city of Olympos is situated on the southern side of Mt. Tahtalı. Oleander and laurel bushes shade the Olympos Valley, which you can approach by land and sea. The play of light on the quiet pools of water enhance the mosaics in the bath. A temple gate and theatre also remain from antiquity. The outer walls and towers around the bay date from the Middle Ages.

North of Olympos up from Cırali Beach, is Yanartas (at a height of 300 meters) where according to mythology the Lycian hero Bellerophon, mounted on his winged horse Pegasus slew the fire-breathing monster, Chimaera. Gas which seeps from the earth burns brightly at night at this site, which the Byzantines also considered a religious area.

South of Olympos, tranquil waters and sandy beaches line the Bay of Cavus. Here you can waterski on calm waters, discover the colorful marine life or explore the incredible sea caves on the northern shore.

An entry port west of Olympos, Finike is surrounded by citrus trees and gardens. A sandy beach stretches to the east, and to the west are rocky bays and coves.

Limyra, an ancient Lycian city, is 10 km inland from Finike, via Turunçova. The fourth century B.C. Pericles mausoleum, decorated with caryatids, is a magnificent example of ancient art. The city walls and Roman theatre are also of interest.

Farther on this road is the Lycian city of Arikanda. Set high on the mountain overlooking one of Turkey's most beautiful valleys, the extensive ruins include the agora, theatre, stadium, bouleuterion, water system, gymnasium, baths and scattered sarcophagi.

Antalya MyraAt Demre (Kale), the ancient Myra, (25 km west of Finike), many splendidly carved rock tombs overlook the magnificent Roman theatre. St. Nicholas was the bishop of this Mediterranean city during the fourth century, and died here in 342. Every year in December the Santa Claus Commemoration Ceremony attracts . many tourists who spend their Christmas holidays on the sunny coast of ancient Lycia.

Dalyanagzi, the ancient harbour of Andriace, west of Demre, has a good beach for swimming and sunbathing.

Kekova is an island an hour from Dalyanagzı by sea as well as the name of a whole ensemble of picturesque islands, numerous bays and ancient cities. These bays provide natural harbours in all seasons, and yachtsmen particularly enjoy exploring the unspoilt landscape. Along the northern shore of Kekova Island at Apollonia, earthquakes have disturbed the land causing some of the ancient houses to sink under the clear water, creating a sunken city. Kalekoy Castle (Simena) offers a bird's-eye view of the bays, inlets, islands and colorful yachts sailing peacefully on the glassy water.

Continuing west out of Kekova, you come to Kas, a lovely spot surrounded on three sides by mountains. The friendly local fishermen are happy to run a water taxi service to take you to a favourite bay, cove or beach along the coast. The swimming and diving are excellent in the clear cool water around Kaş.

Of ancient Antiphellos, as Kas was once known, only the Lycian rock cut tombs and sarcophagi are left. But the charm of the town remains, and it is a pleasure to wander through the streets, stopping to examine souvenir shops that offer Turkish handicrafts, leather goods, copper and silver items, cotton clothing and the inevitable handmade carpet.

After shopping stroll along the flower-lined Akdeniz Promenade or relax under the shade of a palm tree. Kaş's bars and restaurants offer plenty of nightlife. The mountains that surround the town provide their share of activities and sights. You can walk through forested hills to visit remote villages and ancient ruins. The energetic may want to attempt the highest peak in the area, Mt. Kizlar Sivrisi (3,086 meters), or the second highest, Mt. Akdag (3,030 meters).

Along the scenic Kalkan road, Kapitas has a beautiful beach, at one end of which is the Turquoise Grotto.

A little distance to the west is Kalkan, a lovely small hilltop town that overlooks a tiny bay. Its quaint, traditional, white-washed houses, shuttered windows and balconies garlanded with brilliant flowers that cascade to the streets below, make it the ultimate in a peaceful holiday town. Narrow winding streets lined with souvenir shops lead down to the charming marina. Every morning boats busily take tourists to one of the nearby beaches or small bays. As the sun sets it is Kalkan style to meet on the roof terraces for a drink before dinner and enjoy the comings and goings of the yachts, the business of the marina and the panoramic view.

A principal harbour of ancient Lycia, Patara is reached by following a winding mountain road before descending to the site. Here, according to mythology, Apollo was born. More concrete history reveals that this town was the birthplace of St. Nicholas. The ruins are, of course, numerous and interesting. But Patara is also a place for beach lovers. Its 22 km of pure white sand stretches as far as the eye can see, making it a natural choice for all types of beach sports. The remoteness of this undiscovered corner makes it feel like your own private getaway.

The ancient Lycian capital of Xanthos, today in the Turkish village Kınık, lies 18 km north of Patara. The theatre, Tomb of the Harpies, Nereid Monument, agora, and Inscribed Pillar, among a mixture of ruins from Lycian, Roman and Byzantine times, create the special atmosphere of this site. At the holy Lycian center of Letoon, six km farther, three temples dedicated to Leto, Apollo and Artemis, familiar gods of mythology, await the exploring tourist.

The Coast East of Antalya / The Coast of Light

Wide, fertile plains parallel the endless sandy beaches east of Antalya until you come to Alanya. Abundant modern tourist facilities and well- preserved historical sites give you several options for a day's activities.

An important city of ancient Pamphylian, Perge (18 km from Antalya) was originally settled by the Hittites around 1500 B.C. St. Paul preached some of his first sermons here.

The theatre's stage has finely carved marble reliefs; other carvings from around the city are displayed in the stadium. Amateur archaeologists will want to see the handsome city gate flanked by two lofty towers, a long colonnaded road once paved with mosaics and lined with shops, a large agora, the public baths and a gymnasium.

Swimmers and sunbathers alike enjoy Belek, a modern luxurious holiday center and golfer's paradise, 40 km from Antalya. The National Golf Club located in Belek features a wide variety of water sports as well as a championship 18-hole golf course and 9 hole academy course. Visitors may sample some of Turkey's finest cuisine and enjoy open air discos for evening entertainment.

A photogenic Seljuk bridge crosses the Köprü river from the road to Aspendos. The road continues past the Aspendos Jewellery Center to the Aspendos Theatre -the best-preserved theatre of antiquity, with seating for 15,000. Still used today, the theatre's galleries, stage decorations and acoustics all testify to the architects success. Nearby stand the remains of a basilica, agora and one of the largest aqueducts in Anatolia.

And if you have ever wondered how gold dust becomes a fine piece of art or how precious stones are engraved, be sure to visit the Aspendos Jewellery Center, where jewellery making can be observed at every stage in the large workshop.

Northeast of Antalya, at the turn off for Taşağıl and Beskonak, is the scenic route that leads to the Koprulu Canyon National Park. The twisting road crisscrosses over mountain streams and passes through virgin forests. It is often a slow drive as the view at every turn is more beautiful than the last. The park, 92 km from Antalya, is a valley of wild beauty rich in flora and fauna. The canyon stretches for 14 km along the Köprü River and is 400 meters deep in some places. Fish restaurants dot the rest areas. The Roman Oluk Bridge, which spans the canyon, and the Bugrum Bridge over the Kocadere stream, are engineering feats of antiquity. From this park you can make two possible excursions - to the ancient city of Selge and to the Dedegol Mountains. Dedegöl, the highest peak in this mountain range rises to 2,992 meters. An important city of ancient Pisidia, Altinkaya (Selge), northwest of the Koprulu Canyon National Park, is reached by a winding mountain road. The city walls, towers, cisterns, temple to Zeus, agora, stadium, theatre, gymnasium and necropolis remain from this commercial city that stood at an elevation of 950 meters. Historians verify that Selge had direct trade with Antalya, which brought it prosperity.

Although the Manavgat Waterfalls are not high, milky white, foaming water rushes powerfully over the rocks. Next to the waterfalls shady tea gardens and restaurants make the falls a pleasant, cool resting spot, especially welcome after a day of sightseeing. You can take a delightful boat trip up the Manavgat river to explore this lovely area further.

Side, one of the best-known classical sites in Turkey, was an ancient harbour whose name meant pomegranate. Today a pretty resort town, its ancient ruins, two sandy beaches, many shops and extensive tourist accommodation attract throngs of visitors. There are numerous cafes and restaurants with a view of the sea, and the shops that line the narrow streets sell typical Turkish handicrafts including leather goods and Turkey's famous beautiful gold jewellery. The magnificent theatre of the ancient city, built on colonnaded arches, is the largest in the whole area. (Closed for restoration) Other monuments include the agora, the Apollo Temple, which is situated near the sea, a fountain and necropolis. The extensive Roman baths, now a museum, houses one of Turkey's finest archaeological collections.

East of Side, tucked in pine forests the holiday resorts of Sorgun, Titreyen Göl (Blue Flag) and Kızılağaç are both popular for their sandy beaches and sparkling sea. The atmosphere is relaxed, the accommodation plentiful and the activities endless.

Side AmphitheatreWest of Side, the holiday centres of Kumköy, Çolaklı and Kamelya also offer sun and sea, in close proximity to ancient sites. In the Pamphlyian Seleucia (Bucaksıhlar),15 km northeast of Side, are the remains (in good condition) of Roman baths, temples, churches, a mausoleum, theatre and agora. One of the most interesting and well known caves in Turkey is located in Altınbesik Cave National Park situated 12 kilometres southeast of Aydınkent (İbradi) and 55 kilometres north of Manavgat. Lakes and interesting rock formations within the cave area as well as travertines and streams make this area especially fascinating. Altınbesik Cave is situated on the western slopes of the Manavgat River Valley and can be reached via the village of Ürünlü which is an authentic village that is a must-see when travelling through this area.

The 13th century caravanserai, Alarahan, was built by the Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubat on the banks of the Alara River. On the top of a nearby hill the Alara Fortress commands a view of the whole area.

The large popular resort center of Alanya lies at one end of a rocky promontory which juts out into the Mediterranean between two long sandy beaches. A 13th century Seljuk fortress - one of the most magnificent sights on the coast - crowns the headland. About 150 towers punctuate the walls of the well-preserved, double-walled citadel. Within the outer walls are ruins of mosques, a caravanserai and a covered bazaar; in the inner walls are a ruined cistern and a Byzantine church. Although Alanya's history dates back to Roman times, it rose to prominence under the Seljuks, when in 1220, Alaeddin Keykubat made it his winter residence and naval base. The surviving buildings reflect the importance of the city in Seljuk times. Besides the impressive citadel tourists should explore the unique dockyards and the octagonal Kizil Kule (Red Tower).

Alanya is a beautiful holiday center of modern hotels and motels, numerous fish restaurants and cafes and bars. The cafes that ring the harbour have become popular gathering places for tourists. From the town's lovely park, the road runs along the coast to the harbour, lined with countless boutiques that tempt tourists with handicrafts, leather, clothes, jewellery, handbags and the amusing painted gourds, a symbol of the area. In August, when Alanya hosts a colorful International Folklore Festival the atmosphere is charged with vitality and gaiety.

If you enjoy exploring you should visit the Damlatas Cave to see the eerie misshapen rock formations. Nearby is the Archaeology and Ethnography Museum, (Open weekdays except Monday). A boat can take you to the three sea grottoes: Fosforlu Mağara with its phosphorescent rocks, the Kizlar Magarasi, where pirates imprisoned their female captives, and the Aşıklar Magarasi.

When the intense sun overpowers you, take a day trip to the Dim Cayi Valley, 15 km east of Alanya, where you can relax in the shade of this scenic valley and listen to the stream rushing by.

Avsallar (İncekum), about 25 km from Alanya to the west, is a holiday resort center with fine sandy beaches. If you travel east from Alanya towards Gazipasa you will discover and no doubt linger on the exceptional beaches.

30 km east of Alanya, Aytap, the historical harbour city lotape, is a great excursion site, with Roman ruins, secluded beaches and bays.