Antalya’s origins date to the Hellenic period of the 2nd or 3rd century BC, when the town of Attalea was an important naval port. Subsequently, the area was ruled by the Roman and Byzantine Empires, when the Mediterranean and Aegean regions of Anatolia was an important locale for the budding religion of Christianity. In the 13th century AD, the city was conquered by the Seljuk Turks, who ruled over the city until the conquest of the Ottoman Empire. After World War II and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, Antalya was briefly ruled by the Italians until the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923.
Throughout its history, Antalya served as an important port city, particularly for the export of agricultural products from the fertile surrounding regions and the import of products for the Anatolian interior. Since the 1970s, the city has undergone major redevelopments, particularly oriented towards the tourism sector. The population of the city has nearly tripled in the past 25 years, making Antalya a cosmopolitan destination situated in the Turkish Riviera.
As with so many destinations in Turkey, Antalya’s rich and layered history is reflected in the city’s architecture. The city’s historic center (Kaleici, or “Inside the Castle”) is home to narrow cobbled streets and restored Ottoman homes that house modern bars, clubs, cafes, and hotels with an historic charm. Five Orthodox Greek Churches are still located in the heart of Antalya, and many city landmarks, such as the Kesik Minare Mosque, bear traces different eras that demonstrate the transition from Byzantine to Seljuk to Ottoman times. The historic wall surrounding the Kaleici also demonstrates this progression, while Hadrian’s Arch remains as a remarkable monument from the Roman era.
LEISURE AND ENTERTAINMENT
Antalya is a very popular tourist destination, attracting over 12 million visitors per year. People are mainly drawn to the area’s beautiful beaches and warm water . However, you can also take advantage of water parks, golf courses, scuba diving, and rafting in the Koprulu Canyon National Park. For those who want to go shopping, head to Ataturk Boulevard to browse for premium Turkish coffees, jewelry, souvenirs, and perfumes. This area is also home to plenty of restaurants, cafes, and kebab houses, where you can get a taste of Turkey’s wonderful cuisine.