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Getting Lost in the Old City

The Old City of Antalya, also known as Kaleiçi, is an essential place to visit for those who would like to get a better understanding of Antalya’s recent history and wish to get lost in its tangled streets. It is almost like an open air museum. The characteristic features of its buildings not only give an idea of Antalya’s architectural heritage, but also reflect the lifestyles and traditions of the region.

The Old City of Antalya

Whilst strolling the narrow alleyways of the old town, visitors will come across many art galleries and painters. It’s a treat to buy a painting that might feature any given moment in the Old City.

The Suna&Inan Kıraç Kaleiçi Museum in the Old City of Antalya is housed in three different buildings that are registered cultural heritage sites. The prominent Tekelioğlu Konak in the Old City was taken as the model for the museum building. It was restored by incorporating ceilings with wood-strip embellishments and ornamental paintings on the walls and encapsulating an atmosphere that represents the second half of the nineteenth century. This valuable building is arranged as an ethnographical museum that displays hints of life in the Old City from days gone by. The museum has a rich ceramic collection and many oil paintings that depict an accurate portrayal of Antalya’s past. Another prominent part of the museum is the photographic exhibition that features the old street vendors of Antalya.

The Suna & İnan Kıraç Kaleiçi Museum

The newly opened Antalya Aquarium on Aspendos Boulevard in Konyaaltı is must see location for the world’s biggest tunnel aquarium (131 meters length and 3 meters width) and thousands of species of underwater creatures it houses. Immediately behind the Aquarium is Mini City. This is ideal for those would like to become Gulliver just for a day and see famous buildings in their miniature form.

The museums of Antalya, Side, Alanya, Elmalı, Isparta and Burdur showcase how intertwined the tribes and cultures were with the arts throughout the centuries. Visitors should definitely take their time in these museums which are all arranged according to the latest trends in museum planning and elegantly display the region’s past. The Antalya Archaeological Museum received the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award in 1988.

A visit to the Red Tower and Old Shipyard in Alanya district, which houses artefacts from the Ottoman period, is highly recommended. Here visitors can see an unfinished Ottoman ship in one of the chambers of the dockyard and a hoist and ship’s burton dating to ancient times. The objects and prehistoric anchors in the Red Tower and at the entrance of the dockyard have to be seen.

Yet another meeting place of Alanya’s art lovers is the Alanya Cultural Centre, noted for its striking and elegant building. The Centre also has an exhibition venue that brings together thousands of people every year.

At the same time, to the west of Antalya, the Kalkan Culture and Art House building with its 140 year history opens its doors to other artistic events.