The detailed explanation is below the pictures.
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.
Antalya Archaeological Museum
One of the best museums in the country, the Antalya Archaeological Museum is definitely worth a visit for those who have time to appreciate its many sights. With exhibits ranging from the Stone Ages to Hellenic times, arranged chronologically with nice descriptions in both English and Turkish, the display is rich and interesting throughout. The Roman statuary is especially impressive, with all 15 classical gods represented. There are older pieces, and some newer ones as well, among them many Phrygian pieces and some impressive religious icons, including pieces from the skull and jaw of Old St. Nicholas.
The Roman theatre standing in Aspendos is its most famous and most impressive monument. It is among the very best ancient theatres in the world. In fact, it is so well-preserved, that it is still used today, seating over 20,000. Don’t miss an opportunity to see a show here! Filled with throngs of people and echoing with sound, the theatre in use is a truly magical place, capable of bringing the excitement of the past alive as few others places can. And thank Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic, who upon seeing it, demanded that the theatre be used rather than converted into the museum, for the experience.
Duden Water Falls
Surrounded by a nicely forested park, the Duden Falls are less than 10 kilometers (6 miles) outside of the city center of Antalya and easy to get to, making them a relaxing and easy get-away. Not overwhelmingly spectacular, but pleasant and refreshing in that way those only waterfalls can be.
Built to commemorate Hadrian’s visit to Antalya in AD 130, this monument has been restored to its original appearance in more recent times. With its three imposing marble arches, each with three tiers, flanking columns, and a shaded surrounding park, this area is a good spot in which to stroll around or to catch your breath and relax before you head off to see the city’s other sights.
Kaleici, “inside the castle”, is the historic center of Antalya, located directly on its gorgeously rounded harbor. Now a protected historic zone, the area has been renovated and restored in recent years, and made more accessible to visitors. It is pretty easy to walk around the area, as many of the streets are now pedestrian-only. Kaleici offers a welcome chance to stroll and explore, and there are plenty of streetside and marina-side cafes at which to relax and enjoy the view with a cold glass of your favorite beverage.
At 18 kilometers (13 miles) outside of Antalya, the Kursunlu Falls are more serene, and more beautiful, than some of the closer falls. The lush green surroundings and the falls emptying into a pool lined with ferns and filled with fish make this spot quite lovely. You will follow a canyon-lined, stepped path leading to the falls, on which you will find many a well-placed table, making these falls come highly recommended for picnickers.
The Manavgat River, which springs from deep within the imposing Taurus Mountains, is at the center of the Turkish government’s plans to export desperately-needed water to the Middle East. The town that shares its name with the river is best known, however, for its Monday Market, and for the waterfalls which are the heart of its small but burgeoning tourist industry. These horseshoe-shaped falls are reachable by boat, about 4 kilometers upstream, and nearby are plenty of places for you to grab a meal, a snack or some tea before taking a few pictures, relaxing and heading back down the river.
A prosperous city in the time of Alexander the Great, Perge is thought to have been in existence since the 4th century BC, and is home to the most extensive display of ruins of any of the Pamphlyian cities. Walk down cobbled streets grooved by the wheels of chariots and horse-drawn carts and into a broad, colonnaded street leading to a giant theatre and stadium, an impressive complex of ancient baths, enormous Hellenistic and Roman gates, an agora, an acropolis, and a necropolis scattered with ancient tombs. A walk through Perge will no doubt bring visions of a glorious and tempestuous past to life.
Beautiful and romantic, with three small bays surrounded by pine forests, Phaselis was founded by colonists from Rhodes around 690 BC, and due to its location and fine harbor, became a prosperous trading city. The city does contain some Byzantine and Roman relics and ruins, but the better examples are nearby in Perge and Aspendos. Its real draw, as you will see, is the beauty of the setting, which is best appreciated with a sunset, a glass of wine, and with absolutely no effort at all.
Dramatically situated on a promontory jutting into the Mediterranean, Marc Antony and Cleopratra supposedly chose Side as a secret rendezvous spot once upon a time long ago. Since then, word has gotten out, and scores of other significants, lovers and travelers alike have visited this pretty coastal town. Though quickly becoming a very popular holiday.
The Fluted Minaret
“Yivli Minare” in Turkish, this red and turquoise minaret stands directly in front of Kaleici. Part of a Seldjuk complex originally built in the 13th century, the minaret itself is the only part of the ancient complex that still stands, the mosque itself having been rebuilt. It has become the symbol of the beautiful city of Antalya.
It’s a 3 kilometer walk to the top of the hill on which the Alanya Castle sits, so if you’re just going for the view, you might prefer a taxi or a bus. Once to the top, look out over to the sea below and the fantastic views across the horizon, as the castle is directly on the side of a steep vertical cliff. The Alanya Castle was built by the Seldjuk Turks after their conquest of Alanya in 1221, and the castle wall even has a place specially designed for throwing prisoners to their deaths, so if you happen to have brought any along…
This “dripping stone cave” has somehow staked its claim as a favorite destination for visitors. Although, admittedly its claims to fame are many: constant high temperatures, dripping wet stalactites (the ones that hang from the ceiling), and 95% humidity, year around! On top of all that, this impressive cave, because of the density of the air inside, is held by many as a “magic cure” for asthma, though please don’t take that as genuine medical advice.
Constructed in 1226, the Red Tower of Alanya, standing more than 30 m (48 feet) high, is almost as intimidating today as it must have been nearly 800 years ago, when it was a base from which to fire arrows and missiles upon suspected besiegers by sea. Most ships sailing into harbor these days don’t experience such hostility, but it doesn’t take much imagination here to rekindle the harrowing days of old.
An unassuming farming town criss-crossed by fields of grain and tomatoes, greenhouses, and orchards, Letoon gets its name from Leto, a nymph beloved by Zeus and tortured by Hera, who is said to have spent much of her time roaming the Lycian countyside- compelled by Hera’s divine command rather than choosing to do so. You can still pay tribute to her here, as three temples remain standing: one to Leto, who became the Lycian national deity, and one to each of her children, Apollo and Artemis.
Oludeniz means “Dead Sea” in Turkish, though most likely the name comes from the stillness of the lagoon rather than from the absence of life here. Stunningly beautiful, this is one of the most photographed places in Turkey, and probably figures in most brochures you may have seen, for good reason. Few places on Earth are so pleasing to look at… a long strip of white sandy beach extending out into the water, a still lagoon bordered by pine forested hills, and the turquoise Mediterranean just in the distance. Of course, with its more recent popularity it’s no longer just a serene, empty locale, especially during the summer. But a little partying doesn’t seem to bother most people who come here to soak up the sun, take in the scenery, and pay tribute to Dionysus, the God of Wine.
You wouldn’t expect the namesake of Santa Claus to come from a sandy beach town on the Turkish Mediterranean coast- but it’s true… St. Nicholas, the 4th-century Byzantine bishop, was born here. St. Nick himself may have had a hearty laugh if he knew that most children today place him in the frigid North Pole, while in reality he probably spent many a sunny day admiring, maybe even tanning on Patara’s fabulous 9 kilometer (5.6 miles) stretch of golden sand, one of Turkey’s finest beaches. Back then, it probably housed more loggerhead turtles, now endangered, and fewer tourists, though development is carefully managed, allowing the area to retain its natural splendor.
Telmessus is the ancient name of the modern-day town of Fethiye. Walking around the town, you will see a few Lycian sarcophagi left untouched by robbers who took much of the city’s wealth, as well as what’s left of a 6,000-person stadium. The Tomb of Amyntas, a Doric temple that dates from the 4th century BC, is meticulously carved into the side of a cliff above the town. Of course, when someone says there’s a site near a “cliff,” you should probably expect a bit of a hike, and this is certainly no exception, so be prepared. Anyway, the walk is good for you, the air is pleasant, and the view is well worth the effort.
The story of the city of Xanthos, one of the most interesting and attractive sites on the Mediterranean Coast, is a tragic one. In its heyday, it was the capital of Lydia, and the richest and most powerful of the Lydian cities. In the 6th century BC the Lydian Empire was at war with the Persian Empire, however, and the Persian commander Harpagos was laying ruin to Xanthos. Rather than fighting to the death and watching their beautiful city overtaken by the Persians, the warriors of Xanthos went back and burned their city, including all of the women and children inside, their wives and mothers, in 545 BC. In the 5th century BC the rebuilt city was again ravaged by a great fire of unknown cause. In 42 BC Xanthos was again devastated, by Brutus, and was rebuilt by Marcus Antonius a year later. Not surprising for a city of such a history, Xanthos is known for its monumental tombs, testaments to loss. According to the Lycian faith, the lid of the tomb is shaped as an overturned boat, for “Life is like a boat flowing down the river, and with death, the boat sinks.” Only Xanthos’ stunning natural beauty matches its scope of history. Today Xanthos is scattered with many impressive ruins, including a Roman theatre and agora, Lycian pillar tombs, an arch in honor of the Emperor Vespasian, a Byzantine basilica, and a 5th century BC stone obelisk, which has been translated to relate the story of the young man unfortunately entombed inside that very obelisk.
Kekova and Simena
You can visit these islands by boat from nearby Kas or Demre. The boat ride is an amazing trip in itself even if you don’t drop anchor and tramp up to explore the hillsides scattered with Lycian ruins, or Simena’s castle and the rustic, charming appeal of the town above. Passing along the numerous coves and inlets, looking down into the crystal-clear water of the Mediterranean, you may catch glimpses a city long since submerged, a real Atlantis, with remains of buildings, streets, and even an underground harbor visible just below the surface.
An ancient Lycian city, once a ‘metropolis,’ Myra was abandoned sometime in the 11th century due to an unfortunate combination of earthquakes and Nomadic raids. Left to the ages and the elements, ruins are of course what visitors now come here to see. Myra is best known for its rocky scattering of Lycian tombs, which lie among ruins of an acropolis, theatres, and other vestiges of an ancient and prosperous city. To see some of the really touching sights, like the carvings of deathbed scenes and warriors with their pages, you’ll probably have to clamber up rocks and ladders a bit, as unfortunately the ancient city’s planners evidently didn’t bear in mind that visitors some 1,000 years later would be coming, interested to catch a glimpse, however fleeting, into their everyday lives.
The Church of St. Nicholas
When St. Nicolas died in 343 AD his remains were taken to this small church built about a century before his passing. Restored by the Byzantines and later by Tsar Nicholas I of Russia (St. Nicholas is the patron saint of Russia, as well as being the inspiration for Santa Claus), and finally by modern Turkish archaeologists, the church is more storied, mythologized and dignified, than strikingly impressive.