History of Antalya City
Antalya which means “the home of Attalos” was founded by Attalos II. Following the fall of Kingdom of Pergamon (133 BC), the city was independent for a while but then fell into the hands of pirates. It was later incorporated into the Roman Empire by Commander Servilius Isauricus in 77 BC. In 67 BC, the city then became a naval base for Pompeius. In 130 AD, the visit of Hadrianus provided progress for Attalia city. Attalia which was accepted as the centre of episcopacy during the Byzantine period made a great advancements after possessed by Turks. Since modern city is located on the ancient settlement, the ruins of antiquity can barely be traced. The first one of the ruins that can be seen is the part of harbour pier that indicates the old harbour and the walls surrounding the harbour. Hadrian’s Gate with ongoing restoration works on the other side of the walls is one of the unique ancient monuments of Antalya.
In antiquity, Antalya and its surroundings were known as “Pamphilia” meaning “very productive” and the west side of the city was known as “Lycia”. The people who migrate from the west coasts of Aegean Sea founded the cities like Aspendos, Side in VIII century BC. The King of Pergamon who reigns in II century besieged Side. The King, who could not capture Side, came to a place where now Antalya city centre is located, and founded the city. The city was named after him as Attaleia. In time, people called the city Atalia, Adalya. The name Antalya originated this way.
In the archaeological excavations, people were proved to have lived in Antalya and its environs 40.000 years ago. From the date 2000 BC, this region was ruled under the control of city states such as Hittite, Pamphylia, Lycia, Cilicia and Persia, Alexander the Great and its successors Antigonos, Ptolemais, Selevkos and the King of Pergamon. Roman Period later started to reign. The ancient name of Antalya was Pamphylia and the cities built in this area lived their golden age especially in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Towards the 5th century, they began to lose their glory.
While the city region was under Eastern Roman Empire or, widely known name in Turkey, Byzantines, in 1207 the Seljuks took over the lands. In the period of Anatolian Principalities, the city entered into sovereignty of Hamitoğulları which was a family from Teke tribe. Teke Turkmens are also one of the largest populated tribe in today’s Turkmenistan, old Turkish homeland. In the 11th century, a part of this tribe came to Antalya. Today Teke Area is another name of the Region of Lake (Göller Yöresi) which covers the north of Antalya and some parts of Isparta and Burdur. In the Ottoman period, today’s Antalya city centre is the centre of the Teke District of Anatolia Province. In those years, this place is called Teke Sanjak. The current name of the Antalya city is a little bit changed form of her ancient name and has been given in the Republican period.
Evliya Çelebi, the Ottoman traveller, who came to Antalya in the second half of the 17th century, stated that there were 4 quarters and 3.000 houses inside the ancient walls and 24 quarters outside the walls. The market of the city was outside the walls. According to Evliya Çelebi, the Harbour had the capacity of 200 ships. Antalya which was the centre of Teke district connected to Konya administratively was made an independent district in the last period of Ottoman Empire.
Kaleiçi (Old city): It is surrounded inside and outside by horseshoe shaped walls most of which were demolished and disappeared in time. The ancient walls are the joint monument of the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods. The walls have 80 bastions. Inside of the walls, there are approximately 3000 houses with red tile roof. The characteristic structure of the houses not only gives an idea about the history of architecture in Antalya, but also reflects the life style and traditions in the region. In 1972 Antalya marina and Kaleiçi district have been put under protection by High Council of Immovable Monuments and Antiquities as a protected area due to its unique texture. Due to the restoration project of “Antalya Kaleiçi Complex” Ministry of Tourism was awarded the Golden Apple Tourism Oscar by FIJET (International Journalists Association of Tourism) in April 28, 1984. Today Kaleiçi became an entertainment centre with its hotels, pensions, restaurants and bars.
Old Antalya Houses: Since Summers are very hot and the winters are mild in Antalya, providing coolness and the protection from sun rather than cold have been much more important. Shady backyards and stony places are facilitating the air circulation. The houses were built as three floored with the entrance that serves as a storeroom and hallway.
Yivli Minaret: First Turkish monument in Antalya. It is close to marina in the centre. According to the epigraph on the monument, it was built in the reign of Anatolian Seljukian Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat (1219 -1236). Its brick laid body consists of 8 semicylinders. If there was a mosque adjacent to this minaret, it should be demolished because the mosque near the minaret belongs to 1372, a later period. It was built by an architect named Tavaşi Balaban in period of a Turkish principality, Hamitoğulları.
Ulu Cami (Ulu Mosque): It is known as Kesik (Truncated) Minaret. It was actually built as a Basilica in V. century. Less survived from the original monument, then it underwent some changes in the Byzantine period. The monument was repaired during the Ottoman period, a part of it used as Mevlevihane (whirling dervish hall) and then opened to service as a mosque.
Karatay Madrasah: It was one of the significant Turkish – Islamic monuments and built in the middle of XIII century.
Evdir Han (Evdir Caravanserai): Until the beginning of the 20th century, transportation was provided by horses and camels and also goods were transferred by this way. The caravans accommodated in “Han” and caravanserai on the road. Evdir Han is one of them. It is on the road to north from Antalya. It is located 1 km east of Antalya – Korkuteli Road and 18 km away from city centre. The part that attracts most attention is its sharp pointed, arched portal. It is a Seljukian monument which was built in XIII century.
Kırkgöz Han: Kırkgöz Han is the second stop on the old Antalya-Afyon road. Kırkgöz Han is located in Kırkgöz, Pınarbaşı district that is 30 km away from Antalya. It is in very good condition.
Düden Waterfall: The waterfall which is one of the natural beauties that symbolizes the city is located approximately 10 km northeast of Antalya city centre. It falls down from a height of 20 metres. The main source of the stream is in Kırkgöz area. However lower part of Düden Waterfall is on the road to Lara Beach. It is on the southeast of city centre and floods from 40 metre high cliffs. It is one of the natural beauties that symbolize Antalya.
Kurşunlu Waterfall: It is on 7th km after the turning point to Isparta road which is on the 24th km of Alanya road on the east of city centre. This wonder of nature is one of the most frequently visited places as well. The waterfall is place like a dreamland. It is inside of the deep green valley. The whole place of the waterfall can be seen approximately in half an hour. There are plenty of fishes in the water which forms small lakes in some places. It also attracts attentions with its rich fauna. Düden, Kurşunlu and Manavgat waterfalls were used while shooting many Turkish movies. All can be reached easily by bus.
Lara-Konyaaltı Beaches: The natural beauty Lara beach which is approximately 10 km east of Antalya city centre and Konyaaltı beach which is on the west coast of city centre are the best coasts of the city.
Perge: Perge is 18 km east of Antalya, near Aksu district. It is an important Pamphylian city since it is situated on the Cilicia-Pisidia trade route. The foundation of the city coincides with other Pamphylian cities (VII. Century BC). Perge was important for Christians. Saint Paulos and Barnabas came to Perge. The riches such as Magna Plancia provided significant monuments here. In Perge which the first excavations started in 1946 by Istanbul University, the ruins such as theatre, stadium, main road with columns and agora were found.
Karain Cave: The remains in Karain Cave situated 27 km northwest of Antalya within the borders of Yağcılar belong to Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze ages. This cave is one of the places that should be seen.
Ariassos: It is 1 km inside from the turnout on 48th km of Antalya-Burdur highway. Situated on mountain slope, Ariassos is worth seeing with its hamams and rock tombs. At the beginning of Ariassos valley, the most glorious remain the entrance gate rises. This monument which belongs to Roman period, called “Üç Kapı” (Three Doors) by local people since it has 3 arches, thus 3 entries. The most astonishing feature of the city is that three out of four of the whole city is the remains of necropolis with magnificent tombs.
Life Style: There are heritages of two lifestyles prevailing in Antalya and the region. When the Turkish people first came here, they immediately oriented the settled lifestyle and built villages, towns and cities. Another part of the population continued the unsettle life as they did before they came to Anatolia. According to a lifestyle called semi settled 15-20 and sometimes hundreds families in relation live in hair tents and migrate to mountains in summer and then warm lowlands in winter called “Kışlak”. They raise sheep, camel, and sell or exchange the products they made from these animals with ones of settled people. They produce meat, milk, oil and weave hair tents and carpets with the madder. There are also people who bread crops, vegetables even in the confined areas. There were even big unsettled groups (aşiret, oymak) that rose horses to Ottoman Army.
Turkish carpets glamorizing the most important museums in Europe are the handicrafts of these people. The big part of our current folk music culture is a heritage from these nomads. The most significant poets of Turkish Folk Poetry and music Karacaoğlan, Dadaloğlu are the representatives of this culture. Since the old times the people who lead a settled life generally call themselves peasant, native, while when you go to a village with high population of Yoruks (Turkish nomads), they say “here is Yoruk village”. You can witness these kind of remarks all around Turkey. However even if people emphasize these differences that go long way back, they all have the same root and they all are Turkish. They do not see different each other and accept this as a richness.
Today, Turkey is one of countries that conformed in modern contemporary world and uses technology in a best way. However nowadays there are only small unsettled groups that lead a life which is thousand year old and has both nostalgic and cultural value. The number does not exceed couple hundred. Sadly only camels have left from this lifestyle. If you happen to come to Belek, Manavgat and Alanya in summertime, you will see camels carrying tourists with bells and rattles on them. These are remembrances from those days. Moreover you can see Yoruk tents for local and foreign tourists in Kemer and on Antalya Kumluca road. You can eat pancake with buttermilk in these tents which look like a half museum. The native people of Antalya immigrate to Plateaus such as Gömbe, Sütleğen, Alanya even today whenever they get a chance. This tradition is a memory from their ancestors. And also you can witness the snow which was preserved in holes in Taurus Mountains in some counties and brought to the centre of county then reduced to juice are sold by peddlers. This is again another old tradition of Yoruks.
Local Foods: The husbandry and the products provided from wheat determine the base of nutrition style of Yoruks. Although raw vegetables are produced leastwise in coastal line wheat and dry vegetables gain importance in the inner regions. It is possible to find all of the world cuisine in touristic hotels and restaurants. However local meals special to the region are Saç kavurması (dried lamb fried on iron plate), Tandır kebabı (Tandoor kebab), Kölle (stewed wheat, bean, pea and horsebean), Domates Cilvesi (meal with tomato), Hibeş (spread of tahin, cumin, red pepper flakes and lemon juice), Arapaşı.
Climate: In Antalya prevailing Mediterranean climate, winters are temperate and rainy, summers hot and dry.
Transportation: provided by highways, airline and maritime line. Antalya airport is open to international air traffic.
Source: Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism