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ANTALYA  This region is one of Turkey's most beautiful, with a year round favourable climate, stunning natural beauty and a wealth of history. Lush, mountain scenery gives way to sparkling clear Mediterranean waters and there are caves, waterfalls and many ancient sites - most famously Aspendos and Perge. The thriving coastal town of Antalya has a charming Roman harbour where many of the buildings have been carefully restored. Alexander the Great, the Romans, Byzantines and the Ottomans have all left their mark on this city and much can still be seen today in the old quarter of Kaleiçi. With its palm tree lines boulevards and narrow winding streets contrasting with its abundance of hotels, bars, restaurants and shops Antalya has a cosmopolitan and historical touch. The city's two main beaches are on either side of Antalya. Konyaalti beach, which is primarily a shingle and pebble beach, lies to the west of the city and provides breathtaking views of the mountains, while the popular beach of Lara lies to the east.
Antalya is located in the west of the Mediterranean region. In ancient times the name of the region was Pamphylia which means "the land of all tribes". In the 1st century BC the Pergamum king III.Attalos ordered his men to find the most beautiful place on earth; he wanted them to find "heaven on earth". After a long search all over the world, they discovered this land and said "This must be 'Heaven' " and King Attalos founded the city. When the Romans took over the Pergamone Kingdom, Attaleia became an outstanding Roman city which the great Roman Emperor Hadrian visited in 130 AD; an arch was built in his honour which is now worth seeing. Then came the Byzantines, after which the Seljuk Turks took over the city in 1207 and gave it a different name, Adalya, and built the Yivli Minaret. The Ottomans followed the Seljuks and finally within the Turkish Republic it became a Turkish city and an important port. In the city centre you can visit Antalya Archaeological Museum, which has won "the museum of the year" award 1997. Also there are many ruins from different periods and naturals sites including 3 waterfalls and many beautiful parks.
ART AND CULTURE Antalya is full of exciting cultural activities and entertainment possibilities. The annual Altin Portakal Film and Art Festival held in the autumn. Antalya's Fine Arts Gallery offers performance exhibitions. The Aspendos Open Air Theatre is a wonderful place to see international opera, ballet and symphony orchestras. Every year special classical performances are held here as well as performances by the most popular Turkish entertainers. For evening entertainment, Antalya's Kaleici Marina and Leisure Centre is the best place in the city with many beautiful restaurants, cafes, bars, parks and discos in this area. Near Setur Marina, dining is available on floating seafood restaurants in an unpretentious and nautical atmosphere. For a panoramic view of the area there is a holiday complex and revolving restaurant, 15 km from Antalya, on top of Tunektepe Hill. One can also have a good time at the two water recreation parks Aqualand and Aquapark near the Culture Park. A Culture, Exhibition and Congress Center opened in 1996 in the Konyaalti Quarter. The Congress hall itself is in a glass pyramid.
PLACES TO VISIT
TERMESOS: Gulluk Dagi National Park is 34 km to the northwest of Antalya. The ancient city set inside the park, is located on a high plateau at 1,050 meters on the west side of Gulluk Mountain (Solymos). It is a Pisidyan city with remnants of an agora, theatre and an Odeon. It has a reputation of being the most magnificent necropolis on the Mediterranean. At the park entrance there is a nature and wildlife museum.
PERGE: The Hittites had settlements in this area around 1500 B.C., and St. Paul stopped here on one of his journeys during the time when Perge (18 km from Antalya) was an important city of ancient Pamphylia. The stage of the theatre has very nice marble relief work. On the outer wall is a three-sectioned memorial fountain. Some of the reliefs from the city are displayed in the stadium for easy viewing. Other ruins worth mentioning are the handsome city gate flanked by two lofty towers, a long colonnaded street that was once lined with shops and mosaic pavements, a large agora, and buildings that used to house the baths and gymnasium.
BELEK: Situated 30 kilometers East of Antalya, Belek makes a quaint holiday destination. The ancient and the modern co-exist here to give Belek a unique flavor. A blend of historical sites, beautiful beaches and world-class golf courses together with a salubrious climate make Belek attractive to the young and the old alike. Added to this is a wide range of luxury hotels to make the stay exciting and comfortable. Belek has been developed as a holiday destination for tourists of varied interests. With its natural beauty of the sea and the mountains, its carefully planned golf courses and its rich history, it has something for everybody.
ASPENDOS: A photogenic Seljuk bridge crosses the Kopru River from the road to Aspendos, 49 km east of Antalya. The road continues to the ancient city of Aspendos a site which is dominated by the best preserved theatre of antiquity with seating for 15.000. The galleries, stage decorations and acoustics all reflect the ability of the architect Zenon. Close to the theatre, basilica and agora lay the remains of an aqueduct, one of the largest in Anatolia.
PHASELIS: Situated at the foot of Mt. Tahtali (Olympos), 15 km south of Kemer, the three harbours of Phaselis were the reason for its historical role as a commercial centre. The view of Mt. Tahtali from the south harbour is particularly spectacular. The sheltered, pebbled and sandy beaches around the bays are delightful and the waters here are calm and safe for children and young swimmers. The ruins of aqueducts, agoras, baths, a theatre, Hadrian's Gate, and an acropolis underline the city's historical importance.
OLYMPOS: This ancient city is situated on the southern side of Mt. Tahtali. Whether coming by sea or land do not miss the Olympos Valley shaded with oleander and laurel shrubs and the refreshing quiet pools of flowing water. The design of the mosaics in the Olympos bath is enhanced by the play of light while a temple gate and a theatre are of interest along with the other walls and towers around the bay which date from the Middle Ages. North of Olympos, up from C?ral? Beach, is Yanartas (at a height of 300 m) where, according to mythology the rire breathing monster, Chimaera, was slain by the Lycian hero Bellerophontes who was mounted on his winged horse, Pegasus. Nearby you can see remains from the Byzantines who attached religious importance to the area. Tranquil waters and sandy beaches line the Bay of Cavus, situated south of Olympos. This enchanting bay is yours for an unforgettable experience of water-skiing on glassy water, for discovering the colourful marine life in waters clear enough to see the bottom, or exploring the incredible sea caves on the northern shore.
SİDE: Side is one of the best-known classical sites in Turkey. This was an ancient harbour whose name meant "pomegranate" today, it is a pretty resort town, very popular because of its ancient ruins, two sandy beaches, a variety of shops and plentiful tourist accommodation. Discos are just a part of the active night life. The magnificent theatre of the ancient city, built on colonnaded arches, is the largest in the whole area. Next to the theatre is an agora. The creamy-white columns of the Apollo Temple make a striking contrast against the blue sea. The extensive Roman bath, now a museum, houses one of Turkey's finest archaeological collections.
PATARA: A principal harbour of ancient Lycia, Patara can be reached by travelling west out of Kalkan along a winding mountain road, entering the Esen Valley and then, after 8 km, you come to the ancient harbour. According to mythology, Apollo was born here. Historically, it is known to be the birthplace of St. Nicholas. The ruins are numerous and interesting. This is also the place for beach lovers, for it has 22 km of pure white sand which stretches as far as the eye can see, making it a natural choice for sports like sand-surfing. Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean, it is ideal for a holiday away from the crowds.More information about Antalya is available in the following links:
|A local web site with lots of information||http://www.antalya.gen.tr/Default.aspx|
 http://www.antalyakulturturizm.gov.tr/ This web page has been accessed in 07 April 2010
 http://www.akdenizdiyaliz.com/ This web page has been accessed in 07 April 2010
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