Attalia

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It is uncertain when the site of the current city was first inhabited. Attalos II, king of Pergamon, was believed to have founded the city around 150 BC, naming it Attalia and selecting it as a naval base for his powerful fleet. However, excavations in 2008 in the Doğu Garajı district of Antalya have uncovered remains dating to the 3rd century BC, suggesting that the city was founded earlier than previously supposed. Antalya became part of the Roman Republic in 133 BC when King Attalos III of Pergamum willed his kingdom to Rome at his death. The city grew and prospered during the Ancient Roman period.

Christianity started to spread in the region after 2nd century. Antalya was visited by Paul of Tarsus, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles: "From Perga, Paul and Barnabas went down to Attalia and sailed from there to Antioch after preaching in Pisidia and Pamphylia" (Acts 14:25-26).

Antalya was a major city in the Byzantine Empire. It was the capital of the Byzantine Theme of Carabisiani (Θέμα Kαραβησιάνων, Thema Karavēsianōn), which occupied the southern coasts of Asia Minor and the Aegean Islands. At the time of the accession of John II Comnenus (1118) it was an isolated outpost against the Turks, accessible only by sea.[2] The following year, with the aid of his commander-in-chief John Axuch, John II drove the Turks from the land routes to Antalya and reconnected the city with the rest of the empire.

The city, along with the surrounding region, was conquered by the Seljuk Turks in the early 13th century. Antalya was the capital of the Turkish beylik of Teke (1321–1423) until its conquest by the Ottomans. The Arabic traveler Ibn Battuta who came to the city in between 1335-1340 noted:

From Alanya I went to Antaliya [Adalia], a most beautiful city. It covers an immense area, and though of vast bulk is one of the most attractive towns to be seen anywhere, besides being exceedingly populous and well laid out. Each section of the inhabitants lives in a separate quarter. The Christian merchants live in a quarter of the town known as the Mina [the Port], and are surrounded by a wall, the gates of which are shut upon them from without at night and during the Friday service. The Greeks, who were its former inhabitants, live by themselves in another quarter, the Jews in another, and the king and his court and Mamluks in another, each of these quarters being walled off likewise. The rest of the Muslims live in the main city. Round the whole town and all the quarters mentioned there is another great wall. The town contains orchards and produces fine fruits, including an admirable kind of apricot, called by them Qamar ad-Din, which has a sweet almond in its kernel. This fruit is dried and exported to Egypt, where it is regarded as a great luxury.[3]


Hadrian's GateIn the second half of the 17th century Evliya Çelebi wrote of a city of narrow streets containing 3,000 houses in twenty Turkish and four Greek neighborhoods. The town had grown beyond the city walls and the port was reported to hold up to 200 boats.

In the 19th century, in common with most of Anatolia, its sovereign was a "dere bey" (land lord or landowner). The family of Tekke Oglu, domiciled near Perge, though reduced to submission in 1812 by Mahmud II, continued to be a rival power to the Ottoman governor until within the present generation, surviving by many years the fall of the other great beys of Anatolia. The records of the Levant (Turkey) Company, which maintained an agency in Antalya until 1825, documented the local dere beys.

In the 20th century the population of Antalya increased as Turks from the Caucasus and the Balkans moved into Anatolia. By 1911 it was a city of about 25,000 people, including many Christians and Jews, still living in separate quarters around the walled mina or port. The port was served by coast steamers of local companies. Antalya (then Adalia) was picturesque, but ill-built and backward. The chief attraction for visitors was the city wall, and outside a promenade -a portion of which survives to the present. The government offices and the houses of the higher classes were all outside of the walls.[4]

The city was briefly occupied by the Italians from the end of the First World War until the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923.

Antalya is in south-west Anatolia, on the Mediterranean Gulf of Antalya, approximately 546 kilometres (339 mi) from Ankara, 562 kilometres (349 mi) from Adana, 466 kilometres (290 mi) from Izmir, and 727 kilometres (452 mi) from Istanbul.

The Taurus mountain range of southern Anatolia runs parallel to the Mediterranean in an east-west direction, resulting in the formation of narrow coastal plains surrounded by mountains on three sides and the sea on the fourth. Some parts of the coast feature mountains plunging sharply into the sea, forming small natural bays and peninsulas. Antalya is situated on one such plain where the mountains recede from the shore, consisting of two flat areas formed of travertine rock at a mean height of 35 metres (115 ft); the town center is located on the rocky plain closest the coast, with urban sprawl extending to the Kepezüstü Plain further inland.

TourismMain article: Tourism in Antalya

Antalya cityKaleiçi, the restored historical center of the city -with its hotels, bars, clubs, restaurants, and shopping- retains much of its historical character; its restoration won the Golden Apple Tourism Prize.

The city includes sites with traces of Lycian, Pamphylian, and Hellenistic -but mainly Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman- architecture and cultures.

Cumhuriyet Square, the main square of the city, on occasion features temporary open air exhibitions and performances.

Kaleiçi, with its narrow cobbled streets of historic Turkish and Greek houses, is the old center of Antalya- now mainly hotels, gift shops, and bars. New hotels, such as the Sheraton, stand along the coast above the Konyaalti and Lara beaches.
 
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