Host Town: Antalya
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Antalya is a city of history, nature, and culture. The city and the surrounding towns promise you a great history through temples, theathers, harbours, waterways, and cities dating back to the Greek and Roman Empires and mosques and old houses from Seljuk and Ottoman Empire times. The beach lies to the east and west of Antalya, the waterfalls bring their beauties to the sea, the rivers in the canyons around Antalya provide great rafting opportunities, the caves hold ruins from ancient humans, and the mountains are inviting you for ski. Several festivals spice up the social and cultural life in the streets of Antalya, where you can relax in nice restaurants and shop in local markets or modern malls. Below, you will find detailed information about Antalya.
Antalya, the Turkish Riviera, is the most stunning part of Turkey's Mediterranean coast. It is a thriving modern city, with a historic heart in the centre of Kaleiçi within the old city walls. No cars are allowed in the narrow streets of the old town so it is a good place to soak up the atmosphere around the charming harbour. The symbol of Antalya is the fluted minaret or Yivli Minare built by the Seljuks in the 13th century. There are plenty of interesting pieces in the Archaeological Museum (or Antalya Museum), from the Palaeolithic Age right through to Ottoman times.
Antalya has a backdrop of stunning mountain scenery, and the city is set high on cliffs, with several grandest hotels overlooking the sea on the outskirts of the town. The beach area of Lara, approximately 12 kms to the east is home to the best beach in the area, known for its golden sand, which is rapidly becoming a resort in its own right. To the west, the long pebble beach of Konyaaltı is also popular. Heading up into the mountains, you can make the most of the beautiful scenery by visiting the spectacular Düden or Kurşunlu waterfalls. At Saklıkent, just 50 kms away from the city centre, you can even ski, where they usually have snow on the slopes until early April. Antalya has a large number of 5 star hotels, many of which have meetings facilities, and this, together with the Pyramid Congress Centre which can hold up to 3000 delegates make it a popular venue for conferences.
Cultural life is colorful in and around Antalya. The city hosts the Golden Orange Film Festival, which has been organized since 1963 but the roots dated back to the mid-1950s. It is one of the oldest and the longest running film festivals in Turkey and it has been gaining the attention of both Turkish and International cinema lovers as a meeting platform for Asian and European cinema. Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival, which is also considered one of the best opera festivals in the world, is held in the ancient Aspendos theather located 50 kms to the east of Antalya in June and July.
There are several caves and waterfalls around Antalya. Karain Cave, Damlataş Cave, Altınbeşik Cave, and Dim Cave are among the most popular ones. Karain Cave is known to be a human settlement even in the Paleolithic age. Dim Cave has connections to waterfalls around Antalya and innerland lakes.
All streams in the region find their way to the Mediterranean and flow down the slopes of the Taurus, sometimes above and sometimes under the ground until they reach their destination in the shape of spectacular waterfalls. There are more than 20 waterfalls in the region. The most beautiful of these are the Düden Waterfalls (15 km north of Antalya), the Kurşunlu Waterfalls (18 km from Antalya, on the Antalya-Alanya highway) and the Manavgat Waterfalls (3km north of Manavgat).
The area has sunny weather for 10 months a year, in summer the average temperature is between 28-36 degrees. In January the average temperature varies between 10-20 degrees. Snow doesnt fall in Antalya center except for the high mountains which surrounds Antalya. It is very rare for the temperature to drop below zero. During the last 40 years the highest recorded temperature was 44.6 °C. In Antalya the average humidty rate is 64%, whereas the seat temperatures are 17.6 °C in January, 18.0 °C in April, 27.7 °C in August and 24.5 °C in September.
|Average Maximum Temperature (°C)||15||15,3||17,9|
|Average Minimum Temperature (°C)||5,6||5,7||7,4|
|Average Sunbathing Duration (Hours)||5,3||6,1||6,9|
|Average Rainy Days||12,4||10,4||9|
|Maximum Temperature (°C)||22||23,4||28,2|
|Minimum Temperature (°C)||-2,0||-4,0||-1,6|
|Average Sea Water Temperature (°C)||17||17||18|
Popular Historic Sites of Antalya Region
Aspendos: Just 50 kms east of Antalya, Aspendos was an important centre of trade during Roman times. Today, the most impressive aspect of Aspendos is her stunning theatre, which was built in approx. 162 AD. It seats 15,000 and has been beautifully preserved. Each year it hosts the Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival which takes place in June and July and gives you the opportunity to see performances of classics in a magnificent setting. The aqueduct, which supplied water to the city is also still relatively intact and is an impressive sight.
Phaselis: The three harbours of this Lycian port city were once a major commercial centre. In the shelter of Mount Tahtalı, it is a popular stopping off point for yachts, and its clear waters and sandy beaches are popular with sun-seekers. The remains are mostly Roman and include a theatre, baths, aqueducts, Hadrian's Gate, an agora and an acropolis.
Perge: Just 18 kms from Antalya, Perge was an important city in Pamphylia and was visited by St. Paul during his missionary journeys. Today, the city gate flanked by lofty towers, theatre and baths are of interest.
Demre: Also known as Kale, the ancient city of Myra, is mostly famous for its connection with St. Nicholas, who was a bishop here in the 4th century. His church is the focus of the annual ceremony which takes place to commemorate him on or around his feast day of December 6th. It is well worth seeing the Roman theatre which remains here, overlooked by spectacular rock tombs, dating from the 4th century BC.
Side: The ancient Greek city Side is the home of several great ruins from the Roman Empire such as the Temple of Apollo (dated back to the 2nd century AD) and the ancient amphitheather. Side lies 75 kms to the east of Antalya on a peninsula surrounded by beautiful beaches. Its unique location made it an important harbor and a trade center. The city ruins include the city walls, city gate, public bath, and temples.
Eating Out in Antalya
Whether you are looking for a traditional Turkish restaurant, an Italian Bistro, a pub, bar or cafe Antalya can come up with something to fit the bill. The city is roughly divided into sections which have their own atmosphere and their own cafes, bars, bistros and restaurants.
Kaleiçi, The old town within the Roman city walls, has its own unique blend of bars which cater to the young crowd. Further down you will find the Yat Limani (yacht habour) which lives up to its name with up-market fish restaurants, bars and clubs to dance the night away. The area of Isiklar is packed with stylish yet relaxed European-style cafes, bars and bistros frequented mostly by locals. For a taste of a typical Antalyan fish house where the food is simple but tasty even if the surroundings are somewhat primitive go no further than the Halk Pazari or Peoples Market. Amongst the clatter and noise and smells of the sea you will have a genuine Turkish experience.
Shopping Out in Antalya
There is a wealth of handicrafts available to the discerning shopper. Traditional items such as the world famous hand made kilims (rugs) in bold colours, beautifully hand-painted ceramics, copper and brassware and ornate Meerschaum pipes make charming souvenirs and gifts.
Excellent quality gold, silver and leather goods are to be had at prices considerably less than outside Turkey. Busy street markets (the most central one takes place on Wednesdays between Isiklar Street and the Talya Hotel) are packed full of stallholders jostling to sell you their best tasting fruit and freshest vegetables. Aromatic spices and herbs such as cinnammon, saffron, paprika and mint entice the senses.
For more stylish boutiques Antalya can offer excellent quality fashion clothes and accessories for a fraction of the price in Europe. Look no further than Ataturk Street, Konyaalti street, or the recently opened shopping mall called Migros 5M (situated on the Konyaalti Beach side of town). There is also an outlet mall, Deepo, located in the east of the city, close to the airport. Carpets and rugs are very much part of the Turkish tradition. The Yörüks, who are semi nomadic, live throughout the winter on the plains. They hand produce carpets using vegetable dyes and wool from their own sheep. The design and patterns used in the carpets reflect their nomadic culture which is expressed in the harmonious use of blues, dark greens and reds. This traditional style of carpet making is concentrated in the villages around Antalya.