Antalya Kaleici region (Turkish name: Kaleiçi) has more than two thousand years of history. Many historical artifacts have been collected here. Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans all left their mark on this region through unique architectural structures. While relaxing in Antalya, wander the streets of Kaleici, inhaling the distinctive aroma of ancient and medieval history.
Antalya Kaleici History
More than two thousand years ago, Attalus, the ruler of Pergamon, decided to establish a city by choosing the most beautiful place in the world for this. His subjects traveled the world for several months, searching for an earthly paradise. One day they found themselves in a beautiful region where the Taurus Mountains rose on one side, and the clear waters of the Mediterranean splashed on the other. The city, founded here by order of King Attalus, was named Attalia in his honor.
In 133 BC, the city’s power was in the hands of the Romans. They were the ones who founded the Kaleici district. In the 15th century, the dominance of Antalya passed to the Ottoman Empire, and traditional Islamic structures emerged in Kaleici and Roman and Byzantine forms.
Places to See in Kaleici
You can follow the history of Antalya Kaleici from its beginning to the present perfectly. Now let’s talk about the most famous sights of Antalya Kaleici:
It is a well-preserved monument of ancient history. The gate in Antalya’s Old City, or Hadrian’s Gate, was erected by the inhabitants of Antalya in 130 BC in honor of the Roman emperor Hadrian’s visit to the city.
It would be best to start your acquaintance with Kaleici from these two-story doors with arches, columns, and marble-covered cornices. On the left side of the gate, you can see the preserved coat of arms of Emperor Hadrian, as well as sculpture fragments. It locates on the modern street of Ataturk.
Yivli Minaret Mosque
A unique 38-meter Yivli Minaret Mosque was erected next to the Christian church, which was converted into a mosque by Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad in the 19th century.
The minaret owes its name to the original design, consisting of 8 half-cylinders decorated with brick and tile mosaics. Thanks to the architects’ decision, the minaret looks elegant and light, despite its massiveness.
You can admire the sea and city views from the Hidirlik Tower. Rising above the sea, the 14-meter tower was erected by the ancient Romans in the 2nd century BC. According to one version, its purpose was to guide sailors.
According to the other, it was a lighthouse, and the soldiers used it as a defensive fortress. Some time ago, scientists who discovered a large stone block inside the building suggested that it was the mausoleum of a noble Roman citizen.
Antalya Sea Bazaar
When you arrive in the Antalya Kaleici region, you will find yourself in the Antalya Sea Bazaar, which covers a whole street. You will find many exciting things in many shops and souvenir shops, from leather goods to gold, from spices and seasonings to hookahs and dyed scarves and ceramics.
One day may not be enough to see the sights of Antalya Kaleici. Here are some helpful tips to help make walking around Kaleici as fun and rewarding as possible:
- You can drink Antalya’s cheapest freshly squeezed fruit juices here.
- Shops near the square aren’t suitable for buying expensive clothes and souvenirs, but at the same time, they can not boast of high quality.
- Meanwhile, the shops on the street perpendicular to Hadrian’s Gate are more suitable for shopping.
- While walking around Kaleici, you should check out the gift shop where an artisan works who makes beautiful lamps from ordinary pumpkins.
- Since there are active mosques in Kaleici, it is necessary to dress appropriately for walking.
- You can and should even bargain when buying something from the shops in the market. Thus, you can sometimes buy the product you like for 40% cheaper than its original price.
How to go to Antalya Kaleici?
To go to Antalya Kaleici, focus on the center of Antalya. There is no access to public transport directly on the territory of this old city. Here people move on foot and by taxi. AntRay, the route of the Antalya high-speed tram, passes by Kaleici. You can easily walk to Antalya Kaleici from here.
You can also go to Kaleici by sitting at the last stop of the Nostalgia tram. It is located at the beginning of Konyaalti beaches, next to the Rixos Antalya Hotel. Part of its route runs along the outer border of the old city of Kaleici.
Is Antalya Kaleici worth it?
Antalya Kaleici, or Old City, is a historic and tourist-friendly neighborhood in Antalya, Turkey. It is located in the city’s center and is known for its narrow streets, historic houses, and cultural attractions. Many people consider Kaleiçi a place worth visiting because of its rich historical and cultural significance. It is also a popular destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment.