Antalya. The Sea Resort among the Ruins.
Located on the Turkish Riviera, Antalya is Turkey’s biggest international sea resort. With shady, palm-lined boulevards; quaint, cobblestoned streets; ancient, wooden houses and the picturesque setting, the city proves to be one of the best tourist destination Turkey has to offer.
1. History of Antalya
Antalya has been around since the 3rd century BCE. King Attalus II used the city to serve as the naval base for his fleet in the second century BCE. He named the city Attaleia. The city changed hands and went over to the Romans when Attalus’s nephew bequeathed it to them in 133 BCE. The city subsequently fell to the Byzantines and the Seljuks. Antalya grew to become a major port, commercial centre and trade hub.
Ottomans took control of the city in 1391. For the next 500 years, the city lived and grew in peace. Antalya became an Italian suzerainty after the First World War. Turkish forces recaptured the city during the War of Independence.
2. Night Life of Antalya
Antalya’s streets are astir with entertainment. Bars, clubs, taverns, live music joints, garden restaurants. The city’s nightlife scene is easily one of the best in the country.
Hesapçı Sok is an amazing place to find bars and garden restaurants. The Harbour District is very popular among the locals and the tourists. The District has a wonderful collection of pubs, discos and bars along with live music joints. Kaleiçi has some of the best clubs in the city. You will also find some traditional taverns around here.
The city becomes even more lively during the Golden Orange Film Festival.
For the non-party buffs, the Antalya Cultural Centre holds regular performances.
3. Safety in Antalya
Antalya is generally safe, but there are always instances of petty crime. Exercise caution, keep your bags in your control, your valuables in your hotel safe. There also have been some instances of thievery and scam. Turks are amazing people, but a few try to exploit tourists, so watch out for that.
Women safety is pretty good. However, they are advised to not walk alone in dark areas at night. Taking the main roads and walking in crowds are good precautions.
4. Living Expenses in Antalya
As a whole, Turkey is not a very expensive country. Antalya is no exception. Hotels can fall a bit on the costly side, though.
Renting a one bedroom apartment in the city centre can costs as much as 800 TL (USD 275). Renting a similar apartment outside the city centre can cost 600 TL (USD 206) at most. The average prices are 650 TL (USD 224) and 450 TL (USD 155) respectively.
Buying a square meter of apartment space in the city centre as much as 4,000 TL (USD 1375). A square meter of apartment space outside the city centre can be priced as high as 1,500 TL (USD 516). The prices average at 2,800 TL (USD 963) and 1,400 TL (USD 481) respectively.
JuBudget hotels in the city have tariffs of about 50 TL (USD 18). A luxury hotel, like the Mardan Palace or Rixos Downtown, can have tariffs as high as 540 TL (USD 186).
5. Cuisines of Antalya
Food in Antalya is not just restricted to the mouth-watering, delicious Turkish cuisine. You will find food from all over the world here. The ingredients most commonly used in the traditional dishes are olive oil, rice, eggplant, fish and spices like cumin and paprika. The city’s signature cuisine, with its Mediterranean and Arabic influences, consists of Piyaz (a salad made with beans, onion, tahini, parsley and garlic), şiş köfte (meatballs cooked around a stick), spicey hibeş (soup), tandır kebab (cubed chicken made with marinated yoghurt and spices), domates civesi, şakşuka (sauteed eggplant, potatoes, garlic, zucchini).
Tea makes a very important part of the Turkish cuisine. Coffee is, usually, taken after meals. The traditional alcoholic beverage is raki.
The Old Town, with its narrow, cobblestone streets, is home to a number of restaurants serving the authentic, local cuisine. Seraser is the best place to try out Mediterranean. 7 Mehmet is a wonderful place to try out Turkish food. In the Harbour district, you will find Club Arma – one of Antalya’s most exclusive places to dine at. Pepenero, in the Antalya Town Center, is known for its innovative mix of Turkish and Italian.
6. Public Transport in Antalya
Antalya Airport has one domestic and two international terminals. For 10 TL (USD 3.44), you can take a Havaş Airport bus to take you from the airport to the city.
Buses are the main means of transport. Other means include the city tram, taxis and mini-buses. Tourists can also rent cars to get around. Bus fares start from 2 TL (USD 0.7). Tram fares are around 4 TL (USD 1.4).
Pollution in Antalya: Antalya’s location and climate gives it an edge over fighting air pollution. The unplanned growth of the city has, however, created a polluted environment. PM2.5 levels aren’t as dangerous in the city as PM10 levels. The city’s PM10 levels are at 40 ppm as opposed to Delhi’s 180 ppm.
7. Statistics of Antalya
Antalya is Turkey’s eighth most populous city and the largest on the Mediterranean coast. The city is spread over an area of 1,417 sq.km with a population density of 478 per sq.km. The city’s population stood at over a million people in 2014.
The majority of the population is Muslim. The minority is split between Christians, Muslims and Jews.
8. Weather of Antalya
Antalya has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate. Summers are hot and dry, whereas the winters are mild and rainy. The average annual precipitation is 1,050 mm.
Summer: June through September. Average low: 22 degrees C. Average high: 34 degrees C.
Autumn: October through November. Average low: 13 degrees C. Average high: 23 degrees C.
Winter: December through March. Average low: 6 degrees C. Average high: 15 degrees C.
Spring: April through May. Average low: 15 degrees C. Average high: 23 degrees C.
9. Culture of Antalya
Although, Antalya is one of the largest tourist destinations in Turkey, the city’s cultural scene is not as rich as Istanbul’s. The city, however, does not leave you disappointed. Annual festivals, such as the Antalya Festival, the Mediterranean International Music Festival, the Golden Orange Film Festival and the Aspendos International and Ballet festivals dot the entire calendar.
The city has one of Turkey’s largest museums. The Antalya Museum has everything, pieces from the Paleolithic Age to Ottoman artefacts.
The Antalya Cultural Centre holds regular events. Tickets and event listings can be found here.
10. Places to Visit in Antalya
Things to do in Antalya: Walk through the historic Hadrian’s Gate; Take a look around the city walls; Visit the Hıdırlık Tower, the Clock Tower, İskele Mosque, Arapsu Bridge, Yivli Minare Mosque, Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Mosque, Yat Limanı and the Kesik Minare Mosque; Relax at the Konyaaltı, Lara and Karpuzkaldıran beaches; Try the nightlife at the top Tünek Hill; Explore the historic city center-Kaleiçi.
Things to do for kids in Antalya: Kids would love the Düden Waterfalls. The Antalya Toy Museum is also a great place to keep the children entertained. The Archaeological Museum holds a lot of curious artefacts for the kids. The Karaalioglu Park and the beaches are sure to give your little nomads the best time ever.
Museums and Galleries: Antalya Archaeological Museum is one of the best in the country. Other museums include the Kaleiçi Museum, the Antalya Toy Museum, Atatürk’s House Museum and the Suna and İnan Kıraç Kaleiçi Museum. Various temporary galleries are put up in the Cumhuriyet Square.
Places Nearby: On the outskirts of Kemer town lie the amazing ruins of Phaselis. Kemer also has a few gorgeous beaches. Explore the Lycian ruins of Myra in the city of Demre. Visit the amazing Roman theater in Aspendos. Pamukkale is home to hot springs and the ruins of Hierapolis.
Offbeat: Çıralı is a highly underrated beach resort. Çıralı is walking distance from the ruins of Olympos and the Chimaera permanent gas vents. Kaş is small fishing, diving, yachting and tourist town.
Author’s Conclusion: Antalya is a city straight out of a child’s picture book. Even Ibn Battuta fell in love with the city when he visited it in 1335 CE. The city’s vibrant nightlife, its magnificent location, delectable dishes, white sandy beaches and the grand, historical ruins around the city will make you fall in love with it too.
|Area||1,417 sq. km|
|Population||1,100,000 as of 2014|
|Currency||Turkish Lira (TL) (1 TL = 0.34 USD as of 18th February, 2016)|
|Time Zone||Eastern European Time (UTC +2)
Eastern European Summer Time (UTC +3)
|Driving||Left Hand Drive, Right Hand Traffic|
|Helpline||Emergency-000, Emergency (Speech Impairment)-106|
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