All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page added in June 2008.
- Attalia (Antalya)
(theatrical masks at Myra)
In the last decades Antalya and its region (which is still known by its ancient name Pamphylia) have become for European pensioners what Florida is for Americans. A very mild and sunny climate even in winter and a cost of living well below that of the Eurozone have attracted many retired people who have contributed to the economic growth of the area. Today (2008) Antalya is close to having a 1,000,000 population, four times more than it had in 1985. Kaleici, the old town, is a very minor portion of modern Antalya and it is almost entirely occupied by hotels, restaurants, shops and hammams (Turlisk baths) for tourists.
Antalya was founded as Attalia or Attaleia by Attalus I, King of Pergamum. In 133 BC Attalus III, the last king of Pergamum bequeathed all his possessions, including Antalya, to the Romans. Pamphylia, the name of the region around the town, means "land of all tribes", an indication that in ancient times it was populated by settlers of Greek origin as well as by clans coming from the Anatolian tableland. Under Roman rule the region was entirely Hellenized. Antalya was protected by walls which were initially built at the time of its foundation. Those we see today are mainly the result of a reconstruction of the fortifications decided in the late IIIrd century AD when almost all major towns and cities of the empire, including Rome, built new walls. In 1472 the Venetians raided the town; the event led the Ottomans to strengthen its fortifications.
A triumphal arch was built in honour of Emperor Hadrian to celebrate his visit to Antalya in 130 AD. Later on the arch was incorporated into the city walls and became known as UÁkapilar (three gates). The access to the town was protected by two high towers and walls (now removed) were built above the triumphal arch.
The current monument is the result of a reconstruction: the modern parts of the arches are marked by the use of a stone which has a slightly different colour than the old one; also the columns in front of the gate are new. The northern arch is almost entirely original and it shows a very elaborate decoration typical of the prevailing taste at the time of Hadrian.
Originally Hidirlik Kulesi was the Roman lighthouse of Antalya: it was located on a cliff at the south of the harbour: it may have been built as a mausoleum. Near the entrance there is a decoration which could represent fasces, a symbol of authority in Ancient Rome. Over the centuries Hidirlik Kulesi was turned into a bastion from which cannon could hit enemy ships trying to approach the harbour.
The church/mosque, which today is called Kesik Minare after its truncated minaret, provides a summary of Antalya's history. It was built in the Vth century as a church dedicated to Mary: columns and lintels of a previous temple were used in its construction. In 1085, when the town was occupied by the Seljuks, it was turned into a mosque. The building returned to be a church when Antalya (called at that time Sattalia) became an important Christian base supporting the Crusaders in their route to the Levant. At one point it belonged to the Kings of Cyprus. Eventually Antalya became an Ottoman possession and the building returned to be a mosque.
The mosque was damaged by a fire in the XIXth century.
The image used as background for this page shows the symbol of Antalya: the Yivli Minare which was built by the Seljuks.