Turkey // The Mediterranean coast and the Hatay //


The best place to start exploring Antalya’s old town, Kaleiçi, is from the old harbour, where the once-crumbling quays have been rebuilt, gardens laid out and the harbour walls restored. The redeveloped old harbour, now home to day-trip boats, some charter gulets and a few fishing boats, is popular with tourists and locals alike, who frequent the quayside restaurants, cafés and clubs.

From the harbour, head uphill along Uzun Çarşi Sokak, past the eighteenth-century Mehmet Paşa Camii, to Kalekapısı (Castle Gate), the main entrance to the old town. Nearby the Saat Kulesi (Clock tower), a Selçuk tower with inset Roman column drums, is built into a section of the old walls. Kalekapısı is overlooked by the Yivli Minare or “Fluted Minaret”, erected during the thirteenth-century reign of the Selçuk sultan, Alâeddin Keykubad, and today something of a symbol of the city. Facing the Yivli Minare is an early, plain Selçuk han whose crumbling walls have been “restored”, a rather grand term for encasing the ruins in glass and filling the interior with souvenir shops. Above this area, but accessed from Cumhuriyet Caddesi, is an old baths, and a pyramidal mausoleum from 1377.

Bearing right onto Atatürk Caddesi, you’ll soon draw even with the triple-arched Hadrian’s Gate (Üç Kapılar), recalling a visit by that emperor in 130 AD. Hesapçı Sokak, the quietest entry to Kaleiçi, begins here, a cobbled street of restored Ottoman houses that now holds assorted pensions, trinket shops, restaurants and bars. About halfway along, the tower and attendant buildings known collectively as the Kesik Minare (Broken Minaret) form an architectural anomaly that’s done successive duty as temple, church and mosque.

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