Because of the archaeological and natural riches of the area, Antalya is also known as the Turkish Riviera. The sun, sea, nature and history combine to form a very popular resort, highlighted by some of the cleanest beaches in the Mediterranean. The 630km shoreline of the province is liberally scattered with ancient cities, harbours, memorial tombs and beaches, secluded coves and lush forests, many of which are easily accessible from the city.
With its palm-lined boulevard, internationally-acclaimed marina, and old castle with traditional architecture, all set amidst a modern city, Antalya is a major tourist centre in Turkey. In addition to the wide selection of hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and shops, the city also plays host to a number of sporting events throughout the year, like international beach volleyball, triathlon, golf tournaments, archery, tennis and canoeing competitions. The Cultural Centre, which opened in 1995, hosts cultural and art events in the fields of music, theatre, and creative arts. The main area of interest in the city is central old quarter within the Roman walls,known as Kaleici, and there are many good museums.
The Archaeological Museum,with artefacts from the Palaeolithic Age to Ottoman times,offers a glimpse of the area's rich history.Two-coloured ceramics dated at 5400---8500 BC are worth seeing.The Ataturk Museum displays objects used by the founder of the Turkish Republic (Both open weekdays except Monday)
The Antalya Altin Portakal(Golden Orange) Film and Art Festival,held in the autumn ,attracts many participants and visitors.The ancient theater in Aspendos makes an impressive setting for Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival.Antalya also hosts annual jewellery fairs.
Upper Duden Waterfalls,
The Upper Duden Waterfalls, 14km northeast of Antalya,you can walk behind the rushing cascade for a thriling experience.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 and the view is even more spectacular from the sea.Kurşunlu Waterfalls and Nilufer Lake ,both 18 km from Antalya,are two more places of superb natural beauty.
The 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 enviroment for a wonderful holiday.The fully-equipped Kemer Marina allows yachtsmen to enjoy the unspioiled 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 down from its cafes and shops leading directly to the beach.Kemer Beach is a Blue Flag beach.
The ancient city of Olympos is situated on the southern side of Mt.Tahtali.Oleander and Iaurel bushes shade the Olympos Valley.which can be approached by land or sea.The light playing on the quiet pools of water enhance the mosaics in the bath.A temple gate possibly built during the reign of Marcus Aurelus,part of a bridge,and a Roman theater also remain from antiquity.The outer walls and towers around the bay date from the Middle Age.
The ancient city of Myra,now called Demre or Kale is 25 km west of Finike.It was inhabited as early as 500 BC.Many splendidly carved rock rombs dating from the 4th century BC overlook the magnificent Roman theater.St.Nicholas,who was born in Patara,was the bishop of Myra during the fourth century AD,and died there in 345.Every year in December the St,Nicholas Commemoration Ceremony attracts many tourists who spend their Christmas holiday on the sunny Mediterranean coast of ancient Lycia.
Contunuing 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 Kas.
Kas was founded in the 4th century BC as Antiphellos.Now only the Lycian rock tombs,sarcophagi and a theater are left.But the charm of the town remains.and it is a pleasure to wander throught the streets,stopping to examine souvenir shops that offer Turkish handicrafts leather goods ,copper and silver items,cotton clothing and the inevitable handmade carpet.
Perge (18 km from Antalya) was an important city of ancient Pamphylia,originally settled by the Hittites around 1500 BC,St,Paul visited this city on his first missionary journey.The theater stage has finely carved marble reliefs and 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.
Along the road past the Aspendos Jewellery Center to the Aspendos Theater,the best --preserved theater of antiquity,with seating for 15,000.Still used today,the theater's galleries,stage decorations and acoustics all testify to the architecht's success.Nearby stand the remains of a basilica,an 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.
one of the best-known classical sites in Turkey,was an ancient harbour whose name meant pomegranate.Todaya pretty resort town,its ancient ruins,two sandy beaches,numerous shops and extensive tuorist accommodation facilities 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 theater of the ancient city,built on colonnaded arches,is the largest in the whole area.Other monuments include the agora,the Temple of Apoolo,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.
Antakya,the biblical city of Antioch,lies on the Asi River on a fertiles plain surrounded by grand mountains .Once the capital of the Seleucid kings,it was notorious for its wealth and luxury,In Roman times,the city continued to thrive with commerce and culture.It featured prominently in early Christinaity where the name "Christian" was first coined.
The Hatay Archaeology Museum houses one of the richest collections of Roman mosaics in the world .These fantastic mosaics in stone were uncovered mostly at excavations in Antakya and nearby Daphne.Outside the town is the Grotto of Peter the apostle.In 1963 the church was declared a sacred site by the Vatican.Other places of interest include a bustling bazaar and the Mosque of Habib Neccar.
South of the gotto,the Iron Gate was on of the actual entrances of biblical Antioch.Strolling through the old part of town ,you can't help recalling the Paul ,Peter,Barnabas,and others walked these streets,for little has changed since that time.The Castle of Antioch,set high above the city,offers a magnificent view over the city and the plain.