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Having entered the scene in 150 BC as Attalia, named after its founder, Attalos II, king of Pergamon, Antalya has ever attracted a wide array of travellers, including Paul the Apostle, and Ibn Battuta among others. Antalya had replaced Phaselis—beautiful ruins of which now lie to south of the city, between Kemer and Olympos—as the main harbour of the surrounding region during the reign of Seljuks, in early 1200s, but the lack of a large hinterland (or, rather, lack of good connections with its mountainous hinterland) meant for much of its history eversince that it was a provincial coastal town, albeit with a multicultural community of Muslims, Christians, and Jews. As the centre of a region with beautiful beaches, verdant mountains, and a mindblowing number of ancient ruins, the tourism investments started in 1970s, which changed the fate of the city considerably. However, as most of the visitors (make no mistake—they are in the range of millions annually) to the region are actually on “all-inclusive” vacation packages nowadays, they are immediately taken from the airport to the huge resorts lining the coastline of hundreds of kilometres, where they stay until the end of their holidays except perhaps a raid or two to the nearest and the most popular attractions, so Antalya itself, especially the old town (Kaleiçi), is more of an independent traveller destination, where you will meet the other travellers of a similar mind, and the locals.

Around April, when you can perfectly get a suntan and the weather is much more bearable than summer months, is one of the best times to visit the city.

Kaleiçi The old quarter

Kaleiçi, has narrow, winding streets enclosed in ancient city walls, which now protect the peaceful quarter from the noise of the concrete metropolis of a million people. The northern part (Selçuk and Tuzcular sections) of Kaleiçi is mostly touristy shops and restaurants lining the narrow mazelike streets. The Kilinçarslan section is a little more quiet and still charming. Although there are other entrances, it is best to enter and exit the old quarter from charming Hadrianus Gate, built by the Roman emperor Hadrianus as the entrance arch to the city. Hadrian Gate will lead you to Kilinçarslan district.

  • Fluted Minaret Yivli Minare – In this area, you can see the famous 125 feet tall fluted minaret and the mosque. Nearby is an old market building with an interesting entrance, and a ruined gate or two.
  • Clock Tower area Saat Kulesi – Ottoman-era clock tower and 18th century Paşa Camii mosque.
  • Fortified Roman port Yat Limanı – A beautiful harbour surrounded by town walls built during the Roman Era. Nearby is the İskele Camii mosque.
  • Broken Mınaret Mosque Kesik Minare – beautiful ruins of an old Roman temple, which eventually was converted into a Christian church and finally a mosque.
  • Hıdırlık Tower Hıdırlık Kulesi – a tower on the edge of the town walls with scenic views of the marina and the harbour.
  • Atatürk’s Home Atatürk Evi (just outside the Kilinçarslan district, walk to Karaalioglu Park along Atatürk Cd.) – house where the first president of Turkey stayed at during his visits in Antalya.

Konyaaltı Beach (West of town)

  • Aqualand, which is a large complex of waterpark and beach park. (2013-08-08: Opening hours where 10:00-17:00 and entrance fee 47 TL for adults, information that they don’t display on their homepage)
  • Migros MMM – a large shopping centre with a traditional American-style mall food court lined with American fast food chain restaurants as well as some Turkish restaurants.
  • Antalya Aquarium – boasts the world’s largest tunnel aquarium.
  • Aktur Lunapark Antalya – a fairground with various rides

Lara Beach (East of Town)

  • TerraCity – a huge shopping mall.

North of city

  • Antalya Zoo and Nature Park – 400 acres of Zoo, accessible by taking the tram to the last stop.
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