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ANTALYA

In the 1st century BC, King Attalus of Pergamum ordered his men to find “the most beautiful piece of land on earth”. He named the city founded on this land after himself, “Attaleia”. Soon afterwards, the Romans took over the Pergamene Kingdom and in 130 AD the city was visited by Emperor Hadrian, and the Hadrian’s Gate, an ornamental marble arch was constructed in his honor. The Byzantines lost it in the 13th century to the Seljuk Turks, who renamed the city Adalya and constructed the Yivli Minaret with its dark blue and turquoise tiles before losing it to the Ottomans. Today, Antalya is a modern port city and a world-class resort, attracting holiday-makers to its beaches and cultural sites.

The Kaleici (Old Town or Inner Citadel) was protected by two walls, one running along the shoreline, the other inland. These walls date back to ancient times when the Romans built on the Hellenic foundations. Their remains can still be seen. The presence of churches in the old town reflects the recent checkered history of the area. During the 19h century there were many inhabitants of Greek and Armenian origin who lived and traded here alongside their Turkish counterparts.

Among the interesting places in the vicinity of the city of Antalya are the Upper and Lower Duden Falls, Kursunlu Falls, Saklikent, which is a winter sports center, Gulluk Mountain National Park, with its famous ancient city of Termessos and the Karain Cave, which was a settlement place in the Stone Age.

Kemer, on the coast to the west of the city of Antalya, is a lively holiday city. Phaselis is to the south of Kemer. It is an historical port. The historical city of Phaselis, which has many natural coves, is surrounded by forests. To the south of Phaselis is the ancient city of Olympos. The ruins of the city are surrounded by bay forests. To the north of Olympos there is a sacred area, at an elevation of 300 meters, called Cirali. The gas, which emerges naturally from between the rocks here, burns when it combines with the oxygen in the air. According to mythology, the flames come from the mouth of the monster who was killed by Bellerophon, the Lycian hero.

The eastern region of Antalya, which is called the Antalya Plain, used to be called the Pamphylia region in history. The region, with its long and sandy beaches along its shores, is known today for its holiday villages and towns, historical cities, and agricultural areas. The ancient city of Perge, 18 km to the east of Antalya, was founded by the Hittites. Most of the architectural works which can be seen today in the city are remains from the Roman Period. Among the historical structures the theater, stadium, city gates, avenues, agora and baths are interesting for tourists. Large, modern holiday complexes extend along the Belek coast, which is 40 km from Antalya. Belek is surrounded by pine trees. The ancient city of Aspendos, which is 50 km from Antalya, was one of the most important cities in the Pamphylia region in the past.

Side is one of the most important historical cities in Turkey. It is located on a small peninsula 80 km to the east of the city of Antalya. Its theater with a 25,000 capacity is the largest theater in the region. The remains of the baths were restored and transformed into a museum. The most frequently visited places in the city are the agora, monumental fountains, Temple of Apollo, city walls and the remains of the port.