As a tourist, at the top of your list of places to visit in the City of Antalya is the historical old town known as Kaleiçi with its award winning yacht harbor.
Antalya Kaleiçi is located in the heart of the City and was once home to many conquering civilisations. Founded in the second century BC the King of Pergamon ( Attalos II) was searching for paradise on earth. On his travels, he found a unique location on the Mediterranean coast, miles of golden, sandy beaches at Konyaaltı and Lara, bright sparkling waterfalls, pine forests, exotic flowers, the magnificent backdrop of the purple Taurus Mountains and of course, beautiful weather for almost 300 days of the year.
Antalya has also been conquered by the Greeks, Byzantines, Selçuk and Ottoman Turks. Many notable historical figures such as Alexander the Great and Hadrian have also passed through Antalya at one time or another. For many centuries, four cultures (Turks, Greeks, Jews and Christians) co-existed together side by side in harmony. Today, Kaleiçi is visited by nearly every tourist who comes to Antalya.
There are countless hidden gems in Kaleiçi and the simplest way we can describe Kaleiçi to first time visitors to Antalya is like this;
Kaleiçi nestles in the cliffs that winds along the Antalya coastline from Konyaaltı to Lara flanked either side by two parks, Ataturk and Karaalioğlu park. The views from both parks in every direction are truly sublime, stunning and breathtaking.
The ancient Roman walls majestically traces around the outskirts of Kaleiçi sloping gently down to and along the natural harbor. Within the walls, there are hundreds of narrow, winding cobbled streets lined with nearly three thousand Ottoman houses and the inspirations have been derived from Helenistic, Roman and Byzantine architecture. These once derelict grand Ottoman houses have been painstakingly restored back to their original features and character with protruding balconies, arched windows, ornately hand carved wood doors and decorative motifs and Islamic calligraphy. Today, many of the Ottoman houses have been tastefully transformed into shops (selling an abundace of ‘original designer reproductions’ as well as quality gifts, souvenirs, spices and local handicraft), bars, restaurants, nightclubs, boutique hotels, museums, antique shops, art galleries, patisseries, coffee shops and so much more. The streets are vibrantly adorned with bougonvillea flowers and the enchanting fragrance from the Jasmine flowers further embodies the quintessential charm of Kaleiçi.
Wherever you may be in Kaleiçi, the views of the breathtaking Taurus mountains, cliffs, the golden expanse of Konyaaltı beach and the turquoise and blue waters of the Mediteranean are truly awe-inspiring. Unlike other popular tourist resorts along the Mediteranean and Aegean coastline (distinctive Greek architectural influence), walking around Kaleiçi gives you the sensation you are embracing the legacies left by the Seljuks and Ottoman empires.
In the evenings, Antalya Kaleiçi takes on another mesmerising facade as the sun sets beyond the Taurus Mountains creating a magical siluohette as daylight merges into night. The historical landmarks such as Hadrians gate, Roman clocktower, Hirdirlik tower, broken mineret(Byzantine cathederal and mosque) the imposing Roman towers that once gaurded the City, Tekeli Mehmet Mosque, The Yılvı Minaret are all alluminated as they stand majestically as prime advocates of Kaleiçi’s formidable past. The ‘İki Kapılı Han’(covered bazaar), once a centre of trade for aromatic spicies, fruits, vegtables and vibrant silks in the 14th century has been painstakingly restored and trading of the modern kind takes place until midnight (during the summer).
The main square known as Cumhüriyet Square plays host most evenings to the dancing fountains accompanied to classical, contemporary music and a visual lazer show which is not to be missed.
The mouthwatering aromas of kebabs from Kebab street waft through the air drawing you closer to a delicous döner feast.
Guests kindly note, in particular those with mobility issues. Next to the Roman Clocktower take the road on the right and enjoy strolling through the vibrant winding streets whichs leads along the base of the Yılvı minaret(fluted minaret), underneath the natural arch. After the historic arch, look to your left hand side and you will see the newly constructed lift that automatically brings you to Cumhüriyet Maydan(Republic Square). After the lifts turn left and walk down the slight gradient and welcome to the pictureresque and enchanting Antalya yacht harbor.
How to get to Kaleiçi by using the Antalya Municipality public transport system – From the main road infront of the Liberty Hotels Lara, cross to the other side of the road where there is a bus stop. The Antalya Municipality buses run every 10 minutes. There are 4 bus numbers to look out for; LC07, LC73, LC37 & 511. Ideally take the LC07 as it is more frequently and a more comfortable bus than the others which are mini-buses. Get off at the Central bank of Antalya bus stop (Merkez Bankası otobüs durağı). Walk 15 metres in the direction of the traffic flow until you reach the crossroads. At the crossroads turn left and walk straight ahead for approx 200 metres and you will see the Roman Clocktower(Saat Külesi). The Roman clock tower is a central focal point and there are signs giving directions to other historical landmarks as stated above in Turkish & English. To return back to the Liberty Hotels Lara please make your way to Cumhüriyet Meydan(Republic Square). At the end of the square you will see the one way street. At the corner of the street is the bus rank where the buses will stop and pick up passengers and take them on to their destinations. Always remember the four buses as stated above are the only buses which return back to the resort of Kundu.
The journey time from the Liberty Hotels Lara to the Central bank of Antalya bus stop (Merkez Bankası otobüs durağı) is around 45 minutes to 1 Hour. The Fare is 2TL.
Kapalı yol - predestionised promenade between Muratpaşa Mosque (Mark Antalya shopping centre) and The Roman Clocktower. Formally known as Şarampol Caddesi.
As a tourist you can begin walking down the predestianised promenade from Muratpaşa Mosque, the oldest mosque in the city (The mosque is made famous by the ‘İznik’ tiles and the cedar tree which is rumoured to be older than the mosque). The pleasant, leisurely stroll brings you to the Roman Clock tower next to the Castle Gates known as Kalekapısı. In-between the two historical landmarks the predestian boulevard is a bustling hub for locals and tourists alike to shop, meet, relax and enjoy the vibrant ambience. The senior citizens will sit for hours on the many public benches reminiscing about Antalya past and present. Most definitely worth taking a stroll up and down Kapalı yol connecting modern Antalya with its historical past.
How to get to Kapalı Yol using the Antalya Municipality public transport system
From the main road infront of the Liberty Hotels Lara, take the LC07.
Get off at the Mark Antalya Shopping centre on Adnan Menderes Boulevard. Walk to the front entrance of the shopping centre and on the opposite Side of the road you will notice the Muratpaşa Mosque. Look beyond the mosque and you will see the predestianised walkway. Walk all the way down to the bottom and you will arrive at the Statue/fountain of Attolos and the Roman Clocktower(Saat Külesi).
The journey time from the Liberty Hotels Lara to Mark Antalya Shopping centre is around 45 minutes to 1 Hour. The Fare is 2TL.