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Antalya first came to the limelight with the discovery of the Karain Cave, one of the oldest human settlements in the world. It hosted many civilisations from near and far thanks to its favourable climate and abundant plant and animal life. Located in southwest Anatolia, the Gulf of Antalya was known as the Gulf of Pamphylia in ancient times. Even though Antalya was established much later than other cities on the Gulf like Side, Aspendos, Perge and Phaselis,it grew at a rapid pace due to its natural harbour and its mountain passes which enabled access to the interior regions.

While these prominent cities of the past were abandoned over time, Antalya not only continued to exist, but flourished and is today one of the most important cities in the Mediterranean region. In the second half of the 20th century, strides made in the tourism sector bore fruit in a very short time. With its natural environment, historical attractions and world-class facilities Antalya has become one of the most important tourist centres in the world.

Old City

Antalya was established in the second century BC by the King of Pergamum 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 city 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, baths, 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 increase in the dense settlements around it, began to be known as Kaleiçi (Inner Castle).

International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival


While celebrating its 19 th Anniversary, International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival makes significant contributions to our country’s international promotion by bringing together the unique historical properties and the extraordinary acoustic of 2000 years old Aspendos Antique Theatre with Antalya’s natural beauties and the peaceful nature of art that reaches beyond the boundaries of language, religion and race. International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival, being the only opera and ballet festival of our country, has been the most important organisation of the Directorate General of State Opera and Ballet since 1994, gained an international recognition in 1998, and is nominated among the world’s most famous festivals.

The fact of being held at an antique theater like Aspendos, whose history goes back to 166 A.D, gives a distinct meaning to the International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival.

The audience, among whom % 70 are foreign tourists, has been seeing the performances of our festival every year. 
With its increasing spectators year by year, International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival has become a visual carnival where history, music and a large number of people from several nations come together.

Our Festival, was accepted to EFA-European Festivals Association which is among the most respectful organisations in Europe, on October 24, 2003 and thus has confirmed its distinguished place among other festivals in the world once more.

In 2004, as the result of a research done by The Independent, newspaper published in England, International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival ranked the 5th among 10 best opera festivals selected from among the renown opera festivals organized all over the world. Furthermore, International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival was given place within the first 10 among the Best Festivals of 2005 by the Festspiele Magazine, published in Germany, investigating all the festivals over the world.


International Antalya Piano Festival

The International Antalya Piano Festival organised by Antalya Metropolitan Municipality meets lovers of music each year with its special programmes. In 2012 the festival, whose curator is the world-renowned pianist and composer Fazıl Say, will take place between November 25-December 17 at the Antalya Cultural Centre.

Each year the festival brings together celebrated artists and groups in Antalya and offers an unforgettable feast of classical music. The festival is noted for its wide repertoire and colourful programme.


International Antalya Golden Orange Festival


The Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival is one of the deepest-rooted festivals in Europe and Asia, and one of the oldest and the longest running film festivals in our country. While the International Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival, which has become a great cinematic activity by carrying the experience and success gained at home on to the international platform since 2005, embraces Antalya and Turkish cinema, it takes firm steps forward to become an assertive film festival in the platform of world cinema.

The National Documentary Film Contest and National Short Film Contest are also organised as well as National and International Contests within the scope of the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival. Also films of the prominent and reputable figures of world cinema, especially from Asian and European cinema meet cinema lovers at our festival.

International Antalya Jazz Festival

This dream dedicated to art, history and culture comes true with Antalya Jazz Festival to be held at the world-renowned Ancient Theatre of Aspendos, which is an Ancient Roman survival, in Turkey on July 20-24.

Hosted by The General Directorate of Information of The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the festival will bring all jazz lovers together in Antalya which is the center of attention in world tourism. The Antalya Jazz Festival at Aspendos is one of the most important values of Antalya which is a candidate for the world’s tourism capital will become one of the most important events in the city.


International Antalya Theater Festival

The Antalya International Theatre Festival began with the aim of exhibiting the most contemporary plays. It offers a whole new experience to the audience where plays take place in the many ancient amphitheatres of the region. It is an event where the fabric of history meets an international platform.