The concept of culture has many definitions. The easiest valid definition that comes to mind is:
“Whereas natural forces create, culture is created by man.” Another interesting definition of culture is: “Culture is to man, what water is to fish” In this sense, culture is life itself. Life is dependent on what man produces. Whenever man creates, he then lives accordingly. As cities and villages differ in their modes of production, so do their cultures and lifestyles. Initially production was fully dependent on natüre, but with the increasing weight of technology in production, this dependency has been reduced.
History and sociology tell us that progress in production techniques has also altered culture and hence our lifestyle. Antalya has a unique geographical location that is surrounded by mountains to the North and the sea to the South .
THESE two areas are adjacent to each other, but completely different in terms of production. Two cultures based on sea and land emerged here in ancient times and have evolved to this day.
Since the mode of production in the mountains is different from that of the coast, the way of life and culture of their inhabitants also differs.
Antalya was established in the second century BC by the King of Pergamon Attalos II on the northernmost edge of the Gulf of Pamphylia, at the bay where todays harbour is situated. The harbour was chosen because it didn’t accumulate silt and because of the freshwater resources nearby. The city was encircled with walls in the century following its establishment. There are many Gates built along the city walls leading to the harbour. The most imposing gate was built in the name of the Roman emperor Hadrian, who visited Antalya in the 2ndcentury. The gate still stands today.
The area within the city walls was divided into living and production areas. Harbour structures, residences, streets connecting the different quarters, shrines, bath, fountains, agoras, administrative and military buildings and breakwaters to secure the harbour were built. With the beginning of Seljuk rule in the 13th century, two separate inner walls were built due to security concerns. Thus it was divided into three different living quarters connected to each other through several Gates. According to historical sources, the city began to grow beyond the city walls, and with an increasein the dense settlements around it, began to be known as Kaleiçi(Inner Castle).
Aksu – Kundu
Aksu is one of Antalya’s newest districts. It is one of four districts which lie within the boundaries of Antalya Metropolitan Municipality. Its name comes from the Aksu(Kestros) River which is delineated by its boundary with Serik district to the east. Surrounded by the Taurus Mountains in the North and the Mediterranean Sea in the southit is traditional settling place of Turkmen tribes.
The ruins of the renowned Pamphylian city of Perge are also located in Aksu. The luxurious facilities in the vicinity of Kundu village have made the region one of the most exclusive tourist destinations of Turkey. What used to be a traditional farming district is becoming more and more recognised, thanks to its historical and touristic attractions. This modern tourist area had a positive influence on the whole area, which was once an important roadside settlement. The steady flow of investments has helped transform it into a modern city.
Alanya which is host to many foreign citizens today, is situated on the eastern edge of the Gulf of Antalya and actually established as a prite town. When the audacious prite Tryphon decided to build a castle that would serve him as refuge in times of duress, he saw that the rocky peninsula where today’s Alanya Castle is located was the most strategic place for such a building.
He immediately embarked on the construction of the castle. The rampant piracy threatened the hegemony of Rome in the region and by the middle of the 1st century BC this coluld be stemmed by the forceful actions of Roman commanders. Following Alanya’s conquest in the 13th century by the Seljuks, the city was used as a capital where Seljuk Sultans used to spend the winter months. Alanya was a majör centre of timber production in ancient times and was especially renowned for its cedars high up in the Taurus Mountains. It became a wealthy city, whose wealth was channelled into the beautification of the city. Today it has become a well-developed city with modern amenities.
A quarter of the city’s population is composed of foreigners who have purchased summer residances, making it a truly cosmopolitan centre.
CASTLE: The famed Pompeius struck a heavy blow against the domination of pirates along the Mediterranean coast. He also had the city walls once built by the pirate Tryphon, demolished. The castle was used in later centuries and underwent minör repairs. Most of the castle was built in the beginning of the 13th century on the remnants of earlier fortifications during the are of Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad I who conquered the city. The castle consists of three parts which are separated from each other with inner ramparts. The Sultans’ living quarters are situated on a higher elevation in the smaller part of the castle. Northwest of the castle at a lower elevation are the remnants of the palace cisterns, chapel and dungeon. THE Bedesten, situated in the citadel of Alanya Castle has been recently restored and is used today as a shopping and recreational area. Built by the first military user of the citadel, Akşebe Sultan, it is one of the most visited places along with Sülaymaniye Mosque and the Alanya House, restored by Alanya Municipality.
One of the notable structures in the castle are the cisterns. Besides the many cisterns that are located on the bastions of the defensive walls there are also remnants of cisterns which were used to meet the needs of the population living within the walls. The Kızıl Kule(Red Tower) on the eastern side of the Castle is a unique example of Seljuk architecture. To the South of Kızıl Kule lies the dockyard with its five docks and was built around the same time as the tower. The Castle is one of the most important historical beauties which have to be seen.
Myra, which is surrounded by high mountain ranges, owed its wealth to the Elmalı Valley situated to its North and to the existence of good quality timber trees. This wealth rested on the high production capacity of the region and the imperial grain silos of Andriake.
If the region had not enjoyed this production capacity, neither Myra nor Andriake, where one of the three imperial grain silos was built, could have attained their splendour. It also explains the presence of Myra’s striking theatre and rock tombs that leave visitors spellbound. If a geographical location is recognised for its productivity and wealth, its patron saints will also be acknowledged and respected. Once Apollo, the God of Ligh and the protector of ancient seafarers fell from grace, sailors began to espouse Saint Nicholas as their patron Saint instead and refused to set sail without attaching his icon to their ship’s Wheel. It was these sailors who spread the cult of Saint Nicholas and made him a worldwide phenomenon. A few nautical miles West of Demre are Kekova Island known for its submerged ruins and the ancient settlements of Theimiussa(Üçağız) and Simena(Kale) nearby.
These are among the sites that must be seen by local and foreign tourists.
Gazipaşa on the eastern edge of the Gulf of Antalya is rich in historical and geopraphical attractions. The district of Gazipaşa lies three km inwards on an alluvial plain and was the renowned harbour of Selinus in antiquity. When Roman Emperor Trajan fell during his expedition to the eastern realms of the empire he died in Selinus on his return trip to Rome. The city was therefore referred to as Traianapolis for a certain period. The ancient city of Selinus was established on a high rocky outcrop east of the harbour where one can find the remnants of city Wall and other structures. The remnants of the bath, agora and church where the Hacımusa(Selinus) stream meets the sea are of great interest.
The harbour of ancient Selinus, extending east and West along the coast, received Merchant ships carrying Cargo and passengers from places such as Cyprus to Egypt. The remnants of this harbour serve as a testimony to the rich past of this city.
Gazipaşa is also noteworthy for its caves. The stalactite and stalagmite formations of the Yalandünya Cave, one of the largest caves in Anatolia, are highly impressive. This cave is growing in reputation as it is frequented by those who suffer from respiratory problems.
The Pirate Cave, which can only be reached by the sea, is one of the most visited locations by tourists.
Gazipaşa Airport has been receiving an increasing number of flights since the day of its opening and will be a great boost for tourism in the region. Gazipaşa with its long, beautiful beaches, marina, natural and historical attractions is an ideal holiday destination that will become even more popüler in the near future.
One of the most prominent tourist centres along the Gulf of Antalyai situated on its western shores, is Kaş. It lies prominently on the Teke peninsula and was known as Antiphellos in ancient times. Antiphellos means “Opposite of Phellos”. Antiphellos was a small harbour town tucked between the rising mountains and the sea. Know today as Kaş, it is a leading holiday destination that welcomes thousands of tourists from all over the World. Lying between Central and Western Lycia, Kaş is centrally located between Antalya and Muğla and is linked to Central Anatolia through Elmalı and Korkuteli, Once again the coastal road offers stunning views of the Mediterranean.
The imposing natural setting of Kaş, bordered by mountains and overlooking the island of Megisti and other islets strewn across the bay, is the most compelling reason why it is widely visited by local and foreign holidaymakers. Kaş and the surrounding areas, Kalkan to its West in particular, are one of the most popüler places where foreigners in recent years have preferred to buy properties and settle down. A daytrip or a two-hour short trip will be enough to visit the surroundings. The Saklıkent Canyon, a national park straddling the border of Muğla province, is a natural attraction highly popüler with tourists.
The canyon is situated at the foot of the Akdağ Mountain, where the headwater of the ancient Xanthos River, known as the Kınık River today, springs forth.
The authentic architecture and traditional culture of town of Ormana(Erymna) a few kilometers South complements İbradı. The Avlasun Road(Yaylaalan) which runs along the western shores of the Manavgat River and links the region to Manavgat/Side, passes through the extraordinary landscapes of the mountains and the sea. Ürünlü Village(Unulla) situated on this road is one of the most popüler attractions because of its traditional architectural fabric.
Another popüler site is Altınbeşik Cave after which the national park is named.
The beautiful coastral town of Kemer, at the foot of the majestic Taurus Mountains, lies to the southwest of Antalya. It is at the centre of the South Antalya Tourism Region, where prominent holiday destinations like Beldibi, Göynük, Kemer, Kiriş and Tekirova are situated.
Kemer and other destinations in the district have played a very important part in tourism in Turkey. The hotels of the region have a total bed capacity of more than one hundred thousand and provide a very high standard.
Like other tourism centres around Antalya, Kemer consists not only of sun, sea and beach tourism. It encompasses the ruins of Phaselis with its three harbours, the eternal flames of Chimera and the ancient city of Olympos, which was used as a base by the famed pirate Zeniketes. The bay of Adrasan can be reached through a winding road by exiting the Antalya-Muğla highway, which offers picturesque views along the way. Cape Gelidonya, to the West of the bay, separates it from the Bay of Finike. The numerous ancient cities in the area such as Rhodiapolis in Kumluca, Limyra in Finike and Arykanda to the North enable visitors the experience of an extraordinary ancient geography, as well as visual beauty. The South Antalya Tourism Region extending from Antalya to Muğla province in the West has become one of the foremost holiday destinations in the World thanks to the highquality infrastructure investments made over the years. The tunnels built on the highway near Kemer and connecting these two provinces have significantly improved road safety and reduced distances.
The beaches in Kemer are noted for their cleanliness and have been bestowed the Blue Flag Award.
The Tahtalı Aerial Cableway uniquely combines two classic holiday destinations-the sea and the mountains. Mount Tahtalı, at 2,365 meters above sea level, offers breath-taking views over the whole Gulf of Antalya and peaks of the Taurus Mountains surrounding it.
Kumluca and Finike was notable cult center of the ancient Greek God Apollo and one of the most revered saints of Christianity, St.Nicholas lived and died in the region. Elmalı is the location of the place of worship of Abdal Musa, who was a highly respected figüre in Bektashism, a branch of Islam.
The alluvial plain where the two districts of Finike and Kumluca are located, host the rivers of Alakıri Acıçay, Tatlıçay and Aykırçay, rivers that do not even dry up in summer. Thanks to these rivers, Finike is internationally renowned for its citrus fruits and Kumluca has become a majör exporting center of greenhouse farming products. In the mountains region of Aykırçay a number of small restaurants serve trout and other local dishes.
The wealth of Finike and Kumluca can be attributed to the pine, juniper and cedar forests on the mountains encircling the plain. Wood from the mountains was transported to the port of Finike by way of the rivers mentioned above and was exported to faraway locations. The ancient cities of Rhodiapolis, Limyra, Arykanda close to Finike and Kumluca owed their affluence to the generosity of natüre.
Serik – Belek
Serik is one of the closest districts to the centre of Antalya. Thanks to its natural and historical environment around a thriving tourism area, it has become a shining star of the region. The tourist region of Belek is situated along a long stretch of sandy beach and shaded by lush pine forest. The accommodation facilities harmoniously surrounded with natüre makes Belek an ideal location for holidays. Thanks to the sport of golf in Belek, which is intertwined with natüre, it has become one of majör centres of the sport where World-famous celebrities take part in tournaments.
Belek is surrounded by Aspendos a few kilometers to the east, Sillyum to the West and Selge to the North. It offers a rich historic environment that greatly enhances the holiday experience of visitors. However, the region is not only known for its historical richness. One of Turkey’s foremost rafting waterways, Köprüçay is a majör tourist attraction. Dozens of rafting companies provide a pleasurable experience for visitors. This sporting activity enables tourists to see the natural landscape first-hand.
The Turkmen nomads, who use the area around Serik as their traditional winter quarters, have only recently become sedentary. This can also explain the long-lasting relationship between the Turkmens and the highlands. Serik and its surroundings are among the most important regions where tourists interested in culture, rather than just leisure and entertainment, can witness the traditional lifestyles of the villages and highlands.
Side was not only the most important harbour of Pamphylia in ancient times, but also of the Mediterranean region.
Established on a peninsula, its magnificent theatre, agora(market area), a monumental fountain, and the remains of baths used as a museum today, parts of city walls and the colonnaded Street are still quite well preserved. Located at the southeastern end of the peninsula, the Apollo Temple was restored by clearing the surrounding area and by lifting up a few of its columns. Nowadays this monument is a preferred venue for hosting cultural events. And of course 30 kilometres away from the city, parts of the huge aqueduct carrying water from the springs of Melas(Manavgat River) remain standing today.
The harbour of Side often silted up making shipping very difficult, and required continual dredging to keep it open-so much so that in ancient times the Roman phrase’a harbour of Side’ was used to refer to a job that is never done.
Side could not offer resistance against Alexander the Great, who entered the region in the second half of the 4th century BC and whose inhabitants gave in to all the demands of this powerful king.
According to sources, Alexander turned towards Aspendos when he learned that the people of Side had yielded to his demands.
In 190 BC, the people of Side witnessed the naval battle and defeat Carthaginian general Hannibal against the navy of the city state of Rhodes, who were allied with the Romans. The symbol of the city was the “pomegranate” which was prominently inscribed on coins and monuments.
Manavgat River is one of the majör rivers of the Mediterranean coast and divides Manavgat district into two. The first bridge in Manavgat was built during the Republican era and the river also affected the allocation of village plateaus. The Pamphylian town of Side is enclosed by long sandy beaches on both sides. With numerous lined along Sorgun to itse ast and Ilıca and Kumköy to its West, the region has been transformed into one of the majör tourism centres of the Mediterranean.
The beaches seem endless to the visitor and the extraordinary mountain/highland geography emphasise this feeling. The river symbolises dynamism that adds to the vitality of the region and where people’s lives are directly interwined with it. Manavgat is a boon for those interested in culture and leisure.