Antalya (Ἀττάλεια) is the fifth-most populous city in Turkey and the capital of Antalya Province.
Located on Anatolia’s southwest coast bordered by the Taurus Mountains, Antalya is the largest Turkish city on the Mediterranean coast outside the Aegean region, with over one million people in its metropolitan area.
The city that is now Antalya was first settled around 200 BC by the Attalid dynasty of Pergamon, which the Romans soon subdued.
Roman rule saw Antalya thrive, including the construction of several new monuments, such as Hadrian’s Gate, and the proliferation of neighboring cities.
Over the centuries, the city has changed hands several times, including the Seljuk Sultanate in 1207 and an expanding Ottoman Empire in 1391. Ottoman rule brought relative peace and stability for the next five hundred years.
In the aftermath of World War I, the city was occupied by Italy but was recaptured by a newly independent Turkey in the War of Independence.
Antalya is Turkey’s biggest international sea resort, located on the Turkish Riviera.
Large-scale development and governmental funding have promoted tourism.
A record 13.6 million tourists passed through the city in 2019.
The city was founded as “Attaleia” (Ancient Greek: Ἀττάλεια), named after its founder Attalos II, king of Pergamon.
This name, still in use in Greek, was later evolved in Turkish as Adalia and then Antalya.
Attaleia was also the name of a festival at Delphi and Attalis (Greek: Ἀτταλίς) was the name of an old Greek tribe at Athens.
Despite the close similarity, there is no connection with the name Anatolia.
King Attalus II of Pergamon is looked on as founder of the city in about 150 BC, during the Hellenistic period.
It was named Attaleia or Attalia (Ancient Greek: Ἀττάλεια) in his honor.
Attalus’ powerful fleet was based in the city.
Excavations in 2008, in the Doğu Garajı plot, uncovered remains dating to the 3rd century BC, suggesting that Attalea was rebuilding and expanding an earlier town.
Attalea became part of the Roman Republic in 133 BC when Attalus III, a nephew of Attalus II, bequeathed his kingdom to Rome at his death in 133 BC.
The city grew and prospered during the Ancient Roman period and was part of the Roman province of Pamphylia Secunda, whose capital was Perga.
Christianity started to spread to the region even in the 1st century: Attalea was visited by Paul of Tarsus and Barnabas, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles: “Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia.
And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalea, and from there they sailed to Antioch”.
Some of the bishops attributed to the episcopal see of Attalea in Pamphylia may have been Attalea’s bishops in Lydia (Yanantepe), since Le Quien lists them under both sees.
No longer a residential bishopric, Attalea in Pamphylia is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.
The 13th-century Seljuk mosque at Attalea, now in ruins, had been a Christian Byzantine basilica from the 7th century.
The Great Mosque had also been a Christian basilica. The Kesik Minare Mosque had been the 5th-century Christian Church of the Panaghia or Virgin and was decorated with finely carved marble.
The archaeological museum at Attalea houses some sarcophagi and mosaics from nearby Perga and a casket of bones reputed to be those of St. Nicholas, the bishop of Myra, further down the Turquoise coast.
Attalea was a major city in the Byzantine Empire.
Byzantine Theme of the Cibyrrhaeots, which occupied the southern coasts of Anatolia, was centered here.
According to Speros Vryonis, it was the major naval station on the southern Anatolian coast, a major commercial center, and the most convenient harbor between the Aegean Sea and Cyprus and points further east.
Besides the local merchants, “one could expect to see Armenians, Saracens, Jews, and Italians”.
At the time of the accession of John II Comnenus in 1118, Attalea was an isolated outpost surrounded by Turkish beyliks, accessible only by sea.
Following the fall of Constantinople in 1204, Niketas Choniates records that one Aldebrandus, “an Italian by birth who was strictly raised according to Roman tradition,” controlled Attalea as his fief.
When Kaykhusraw, sultan of the Seljuk Turks attempted to capture the city in 1206, Aldebrandus sent to Cyprus for help. They received 200 Latin infantry who defeated the attackers after a siege of fewer than 16 days.
Kaykhusraw would take Attalea the following year and build its first mosque.
Christians rebelled and captured Attalea with the aid of Walter of Montbéliard in 1212. Briefly restored Byzantine rule in Attalea was ended by Kaykaus I in 1216.
Antalya has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa) or a ‘humid’ dry-summer subtropical climate (Trewartha: Cf or ‘wet Cs’).
It experiences hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters.
While rainy spells are common and often heavy in winter, Antalya is very sunny, with nearly 3,000 hours of sunlight per year.
The highest record air temperature reached 45.4 °C (113.7 °F) on 1 July 2017, which normally averages as high as 34.4 °C (93.9 °F), and the lowest record dropped to −4.6 °C (23.7 °F) in February, when the low average is as low as 6.1 °C (43 °F).
The mean sea temperature ranges between 16 °C (61 °F) in winter and 27 °C (81 °F) in summer.
In 2010, the Address-Based Birth Recording System showed a metropolitan population of 1,001,318 (502,491 male; 498,827 female).
Source for 1530-1889
Citrus fruits, cotton, cut flowers, olives, olive oil, and bananas are among the agricultural products produced.
Antalya Metropolitan Municipality’s covered wholesale food market complex meets 65% of the province’s fresh fruit and vegetable needs.
Since 2000, shipyards have been opened in Antalya Free Zone, specialized in building pleasure yachts.
Some of these yards have advanced in composites boat building technology.
Corendon Airlines and SunExpress are headquartered in Antalya.
Despite having architectural heritage dating back up to Hellenistic times, most historical architecture in Antalya dates to the medieval Seljuk period, with many mosques, madrasahs, masjids, and caravanserais, Turkish baths, and tombs giving the city a Turkish-Islamic character.
A majority of Antalya’s historical architecture is concentrated in the walled city of Kaleiçi; however, ancient structures are not well preserved in the rest of the city since the modern city is built over the old city.
Kaleiçi, with its narrow cobbled streets of historic Ottoman-era houses, is the old center of Antalya.
Its hotels, bars, clubs, restaurants, and shopping have been restored to retain much of its historical character.
Two walls surround it in a horsenail, one of which is along the seafront, built continuously from Hellenistic to Ottoman times.
The historical harbor is located in this part of the city; narrow streets extend from the harbor and branch off into the old town, surrounded by historic wooden houses.
Cumhuriyet Square, the main square of the city and a spot very popular for tourists and locals, is surrounded by shopping and business centers and public buildings.
There are sites with traces of Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Seljuk architecture and cultures.
There are also examples of the local Greek architecture in the city, with five Greek Orthodox churches in the old town.
A large metropolitan area surrounds the walled city.
With high rates of immigration since the 1970s, this area contains large gecekondu neighborhoods that are not well-integrated into the city’s fabric and suffer from poor economic conditions and insufficient education.
Gecekondu areas are concentrated in the Kepez district, where an estimated 70% of the houses were gecekondus in 2008.
In 2011, it was estimated that there were 50–60,000 gecekondus in Antalya, housing around 250,000 people.
Antalya has beaches, including Konyaaltı, Lara, and Karpuzkaldıran.
Beydağları and Saklikent are used for winter sports.
Historic sites in the city center
• Ancient monuments include the City Walls, Hıdırlık Tower, Hadrian’s Gate (also known as Triple Gate), and the Clock Tower.
• Hadrian’s Gate: constructed in the 2nd century by the Romans in honor of Emperor Hadrian.
• İskele Mosque: A 19th-century Mosque near the marina.
• Karatay Medrese: A Medrese (Islamic theological seminary) built in 1250 by Emir Celaleddin Karatay.
• Kesik Minare (Broken Minaret) Mosque: Once, a Roman temple converted to a Byzantine Panayia church and into a mosque.
• Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Mosque: An 18th-century Mosque built in honor of Tekeli Mehmet Paşa.
• Yat Limanı: the harbor was dating to the Roman era.
• Yivli Minare (Fluted Minaret) Mosque: Built by the Seljuks and decorated with dark blue and turquoise tiles.
This minaret eventually became the symbol of the city.
• Murat Pasha Mosque: A historic Ottoman mosque located in the city center.
• Aya Yorgi Church (Saint George Church): Is a historic church built by the Greeks of Antalya which is currently used as a museum housing exhibition of historical artifacts.
• Saint Alypius Church: A tiny historic Greek Orthodox church still currently a functioning Orthodox Church.
• Sultan Aladdin Mosque: A historic building built as a Greek Orthodox church in 1834 and converted into a mosque in the 1950s and currently used as a Mosque.
• Ahi Yusuf Mosque: A historic mosque built in 1249 and is possibly one of the oldest mosques in Antalya or even the most senior.
• Ahi Kizi Masjid: Historic masjid located in the old town.
• Kara Molla Masjid:Tiny historic masjid built in the 14th century.
• Balibey Mosque: A historic mosque built by the vizier Bali Pasha.
• Müsellim Mosque:A small historic mosque built by Hacı Osmanoğlu Mehmed Ağa in 1796.
• Antalya Synagogue: A historic Synagogue used as a house currently in the Balbey neighborhood between Kavakli Masjid and the Balbey Kesik Minaret Mosque.
• Mevlevihane (Dervish lodge museum): A Former Dervish lodge housing a museum about Dervishes and Sufism.