Historical Overview of Antalya

A famous district of Antalya, Finike is a holiday town known for its orange gardens. To the west of Finike is Demre, with its historical name ‘Myra‘. The sympathetic grandfather of the children of the world, Santa Claus lived here. The church where the tomb was built was later transformed into the Santa Claus Museum. The Santa Claus Festival is held every year in Demre.

Another holiday resort on the western coast of Antalya, Kalkan reflects the splendor of history, nature, and art with its beautiful architects who are reminiscent of the European Renaissance. Europe’s longest beach, which is north of Patara, Xanthos and the historical capital of Lycia still takes place in the holy city Letoon, of Lycia. Further to the north are ancient cities like Pinara and Tlos.

Antalya’s east was historically called Pamphylia Region. The ancient city of Perge, 18 km east of Antalya, was first established by the Hittites. Most of the architectural works in the city are from the Roman era.

There are large and modern holiday complexes in the Belek coast, which is 40 km away from Antalya. In Belek, which is covered with peanut pines, the taste of playing golf in the international standard green areas is a top priority.


Historical Sites

Kartalli Cave
Alanya Castle
Apollonia Ancient City
Laertes Antique City
Aperlai Ancient City
Red Tower
Phaselis Ancient City
Alara Castle
Gelidonya Lighthouse
Ariassos Ancient City
Hadrian’s Gate
Paul Road
Soura Ancient City
Antiphellos Ancient City
Yivli Minare (Grooved Minaret)
Andriake Ancient City
Simena Castle
Zeytintasi Cave


Cultural Activities

Antalya, where cultures and arts are savored intensely, brings together the power of history and dynamism of modernity. The region, which is situated on the slopes and the shores of the Taurus Mountains, has witnessed an extraordinary history. This geography, where various civilizations lived, became the center of culture, art, mythology, and architecture throughout history.


Dazzling Antique Theaters

Aspendos Antique Theater, which has been standing upright since the 5th century BC, is dazzling with its 2500 year history. With its outstanding acoustic qualities, it’s now the scene of a festival that has been organized every year since 1994. The International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival is a visual feast of history, music and many national artists and audiences coming together every year. Recognized as one of the most respected festivals in the world, this valuable event presents 10 spectacular shows starting from August and spreading to mid-September.


The City’s Symbols: Orange and Cinema

Antalya Film Festival

International Antalya Film Festival (previously known as Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival), organized by the Antalya Culture and Arts (AKSAV) with the support of the Antalya Metropolitan Municipality, gained an international status in 2007. In addition, the festival has the rightful pride of leaving half century behind.


Piano Sounds Jingling on the Streets

Another event of the region, International Antalya Piano Festival every year in November and December swells piano jingles in the city like a musical magic. The festival, where Turkish composer and pianist Fazıl Say performs arts directorship, is attended by famous virtuosos every year. This piano festival has become a meeting point for many valuable musicians such as Buika, who skillfully melted flamenco, jazz, soul and funk music, Brad Mehldau Trio and world-famous American jazz pianist and composer Chick Corea.


Concerts in the Enchanting Atmosphere of Antique Theaters

Another ancient theater about 70 kilometers east of Antalya and another festival: Side International Culture and Art Festival

Side Culture and Art Festival

The centuries-old antique theater welcomes its guests at the entrance of Side. The finds reveal that the ancient theater, which fascinated us with all its glory today, has been used for the same purpose since the time of the Romans. It is known that it took its present state in the middle of the 2nd century AD. This valuable building is now the stage for the “Side International Culture and Art Festival” orchestras from around the world. More than 10 concerts are available for free. Festival shows take place in the fascinating atmosphere of the Temple of Apollon rising with all the glory in the sky at the south end of the Side Peninsula as well as the ancient theater.

In addition to Antalya State Symphony and Opera Ballet orchestra, the famous bands and soloists have participated to the chain of concerts. The “Side International Culture and Art Festival”, which was accepted as a member of the European Festivals Association in 2010, has so far opened the stage for a large number of groups such as the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, the international group Marphe String Quartet and Ten of the Best Trumpets.

At the same time, the ancient city of Phaselis in Kemer district in the west of Antalya is hosting another organization. Phaselis Festival, which is being held at the theater of Phaselis Ancient City, presents a series of concerts of different cultures with the participation of master musicians at the beginning of September every year. Organized by the Kemer Local Promotion Foundation (KETAV), the festival will be repeated for the 12th event in September 2018. In the years that we left behind, Phaselis Festival introduced the concerts given by the famous Turkish pianist Idil Biret and the Eskisehir Metropolitan Municipality Symphony Orchestra, as well as Sufi music and sema shows.


Alanya Invites Jazz Passionists

Alanya Jazz Days, which was first organized in 2003, takes place with magnificent concerts in this place famous for its history and nature. Turkey and the world famous jazz musicians are experiencing unforgettable nights filled with music in the unique atmosphere of the historic Red Tower.

It is one of the most important and prestigious events of the region organized by Alanya Municipality and supported by Alanya Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ALTSO), Alanya Touristic Operators Association (ALTID) and Alanya Tourism Promotion Foundation (ALTAV). In the past years, the festival came to the forefront by bringing together the famous names of Turkish jazz world such as Ayhan Sicimoglu, Kerem Gorsev Trio, Nilufer Verdi Quartet, Kursat Basar, Ilhan Ersahin. This event brings jazz to its audience during the month of September with the magic of the historic Red Tower.


A Festival in Lycian Style

Built on Antiphellos, a Lycian city, Kas is the destination where the Aegean and Mediterranean waters are mixed. This town has been hosting the Lycian Culture and Art Festival since 1995. Dance shows and performances by the Antalya State Opera and Ballet performers are having a great night in June in the magical atmosphere of the ancient theater, with spectators from all over the world. Antiphellos, built in the 1st century BC, has a distinctive feature due to its location facing the sea. At this point, festival shows in the ancient theater are becoming more impressive.


Making Sand Sculptures – Sandland

Antalya Sand Sculpture Festival

Organized with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, this traditional festival is one of the largest sand sculpting events in the world. Up to 30 professional sculptors from over 10 countries turn 10 thousand tons of sand into giant sculptures each year in different themes. The event, in which sculptors perform in May and the official opening of which was held in June, is available every day until the end of October.


Meeting Points of the City

Two important art centers in Antalya are Erdem Beyazit Cultural Center and Yenimahalle District House. They organize concerts, theater, dance shows and numerous other events such as panels and conferences. In addition, the exhibitions in the foyers provide valuable contributions to the artistic life of the region.

Open Air Theatre, located in the beach park of Konyaalti Beach, is an important point of activity for long summer nights with its 4,000 person capacity.

Suna & Inan Kirac Kaleici Museum serves as a museum in three registered buildings as cultural assets. The museum building was inspired by Tekelioglu Konagi, considered as one of the most important examples of civil architecture in Kaleici constructions. Wooden ceilings and pen work are adorned with ornaments and restored to the original example. This invaluable building has been organized as a very different ethnography museum where sections of Kaleici life are presented with special effects. In addition to a rich collection of ceramics, you can also watch an exhibition of ancient oil paintings of ancient Antalya.


Cultural Spots

Alanya Archeology Museum
Stove Museum
Ataturk’s House Museum
Antalya Toy Museum
Alanya Museum
Side Museum
Kaleici Museum
Alanya Kizilkule Ethnography Museum
Christmas Church


History & Culture
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