The New Year ushers another chapter for fun and exciting travels. It’s all about discovering new cultures, trying out new things and going to places you’ve never been before. Our first destination this 2016 is the beautiful land of Antalya in Turkey.
Situated near the Taurus Mountains, Antalya is considered as the largest city along the Mediterranean coast and the eighth most populated metropolitan in Turkey. Historical records believe that the city was once part of the Roman Empire under the province of Pamphylia Secunda. However, due to its strategic position, many conquering nations tried and succeeded to capture the area. Among them was the Byzantine Empire which used the city as a naval point between Cyprus and the Aegean Sea. After the empire, the Seljuk Turks came and made the metropolis the capital of Beylik of Teke.
As of today, Antalya continues to thrive as one of Turkey’s most visited cities. And to further prove their dominance against all other cities, Antalya served as the venue for the 2015 G20 Summit held last November in the Regnum Carya Hotel Convention Centre.
Held and participated annually by its twenty member countries, the G20 Summit aims to fight terrorism, discuss global issues, and provide solutions to security crisis. The member countries are Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. Other guests invited for the occasion were from the countries of Spain, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Senegal, Singapore, and Zimbabwe. This year’s conference will be held in Hangzhou, China.
While Antalya has been known for its economic independence, tourism industry takes a big role in enticing more people to visit. Learn more about the city by roaming around its streets and entering inside its many historical structures.
Relax and Explore
The Mardan Palace in Lara, Antalya is a favorite among visitors. The luxury hotel was built under the direction of Azerbaijan businessman Telman Ismailov. It was opened for public use on May 23, 2009. Designed by Architect Valon Nuredini Tetovo Macedonia, the edifice has the largest known swimming pool in the Mediterranean with a submerged aquarium containing over a thousand of marine creatures.
Costing over $1.4 billion, tourists will never get enough of the place as they roam around the 560 rooms of the hotel; swim in its own beach filled with Egyptian sand and relax in its gigantic spa. With the hotel’s gold, crystal, and Italian marble interior details, it is no wonder the Mardan Palace remains as Mediterranean’s and Europe’s most extravagant hotel and resort.
The Mardan Palace only marks the start of your Antalya vacation getaway. Explore and discover Antalya’s charm by riding in the city’s tramway systems bringing all passengers around the famous landmarks and sceneries. The Nostalji Tramsvay brings tourists to various city attractions starting from the Antalya Museum, Kalekapisi, Truvana Hotel, Hadrian’s Gate, Karaalioğlu Park, Lara Plaji beach to the AntRay rail line which brings tourists directly to the old Antalya known as Kaleiçi.
Kaleiçi and Kemer
A trip to Antalya will never be complete without stepping into the cities of Kaleiçi and Kemer. While Kaleiçi stands as the oldest city in Antalya, Kemer is popular for its seaside sceneries.
Kaleiçi, in the English language, means “inside the Kale or castle”. In the city, you’ll find a lot of interesting landmarks: Hadrian’s Gate, also known as The Three Gates, was constructed in honor of Emperor Hadrian of the Roman Empire. The Hıdırlık Tower has a stone structure which was once used as a lighthouse. The Kesik Minare was initially built as a Roman Temple. But due historical conflicts, the place was turned into a Byzantine church and mosque respectively. The Yivliminare Mosque, also known as Ulu Mosque, has minaret looms of over 38 meters.
Kemer, on the other hand, lies along the skirts of the Taurus Mountains. It was once known as Eski Köy or old village until a wall called Kemer was built around to control the flow of the stream water and prevent the town from floods.
Aside from its sea and mountain sceneries, you can also see other breath-taking attractions: The Olympos shows the ruins of the Roman Temple. Mount Chimaera is believed to be the place where the myth of Chimera started. The Phaselis can tell you about the ruins of the ancient Greek and Roman cities. The Göynük Canyon and the Lycian Way are dirt paths popular among bikers.
Also a must see in the city of Kemer is the white clock tower. It is surrounded by markets, bars, restaurants, and shops where tourists can buy souvenirs and other local products.
Of Roman Ruins
Historical buffs should take a field day in the ancient Greek town of Myra in the Lycia region. In the Pamphylia region, they can visit Aspendos and the Greek city ruins of Side.
Strategically situated in Demre, Myra’s most famous landmarks include the Acropolis, the Roman Theatre, the Roman baths, and the Lion’s Tomb adjacent to the river. The Museum of Lycian Civilizations and the Church of St. Nicholas are also historical places to visit. Many restoration plans are held for the church, bringing a combination of different architectural styles from all years of reconstruction.
The Aspendos region is another story. Located northeast of Serik, the region’s most popular landmark is the Aspendos theatre with over 7,000 seats. While surrounding attractions include the agora, nymphaeum, Roman aqueduct and the Eurymedon Bridge, the Aspendos region was recorded as one of the first cities to actually mint coins.
The city of Side takes pride in its most famous Temple of Apollo whose remaining columns create an ambiance of antiquity. Other attractions in the area are the aqueduct, Temple of Dionysus, and the nymphaeum which has its own natural water supply.
Of Waterfalls and Malls
Nature lovers should never miss going on a trip to the Düden Waterfalls. Its pristine waters flow directly to the Mediterranean Sea.
Have a walk to the beaten park, ride a bike, or just simply have a picnic in the verdant scenery of Antalya. If you’re one of those people who take pleasure splurging money through shopping, go to the Mark Antalya Mall. Shop for your favorite brands, try sumptuous local delicacies and watch a movie inside the spectacular theatre.
The New Year comes with new resolutions and new memories to make. Embrace 2016 and the new adventures it will bring. Happy New Year, everyone!