EAST COAST OF ANTALYA
"Coast of Golden Sand"


Wide, fertile plains parallel the endless sandy beaches east of Antalya until you come to Alanya. Abundant modern tourist facilities and well-preserved historical sites give you several options for a day's activities.

An important city of ancient Pamphylian, Perge (18 km from Antalya) was originally settled by the Hittites around 1500 B.C. St. Paul preached some of his first sermons here.

The theater's stage has finely carved marble reliefs; other carvings from around the city are displayed in the stadium. Amateur archaeologists will want to see the handsome city gate flanked by two lofty towers, a long colonnaded road once paved with mosaics and lined with shops, a large agora, the public baths and a gymnasium.

Swimmers and sunbathers alike enjoy Belek, a modern holiday center and golfer's paradise, 40 km from Antalya.

A photogenic Seljuk bridge crosses the Kopru river from the road to Aspendos. The road continues past the Aspendos Jewellery Centre to the Aspendos Theatre - the best-preserved theater of antiquity, with seating for 15,000. Still used today, the theater's galleries, stage decorations and acoustics all testify to the architect's success. Nearby stand the remains of a basilica, agora and one of the largest aqueducts in Anatolia.

And if you have ever wondered how gold dust becomes a fine piece of art or how precious stones are engraved, be sure to visit the Aspendos Jewellery Centre, where the making of jewels can be watched at every stage in the large workshop.

Northeast of Antalya, at the turn off for Tasagil and Beskonak, is the scenic route that leads to the Koprulu Canyon National Park. The twisting road crisscrosses over mountain streams and passes through virgin forests. It is often a slow drive as the view at every turn is more beautiful than the last. The park, 92 km from Antalya, is a valley of wild beauty rich in flora and fauna. The canyon stretches for 14 km along the Kopru River and is 400 meters deep in some places. Fish restaurants provision the rest areas. The Roman Oluk Bridge, which spans the canyon, and the Bugrum Bridge over the Kocadere stream, are engineering feats of antiquity. From this park you can make two possible excursions - to the ancient city of Selge and to the Dedegol Mountains. Dedegol, the highest peak in this mountain range rises to 2992 meters. An important city of ancient Pisidia, Altinkaya (Selge), northwest of the Koprulu Canyon National Park, is reached on a winding mountain road. The city walls, towers, cisterns, temple to Zeus, agora, stadium, theater, gymnasium and necropolis remain from this commercial city that stood at an elevation of 950 meters. Historians verify that Selge had direct trade with Antalya, which brought it prosperity.

Although the Manavgat Waterfalls are not high, milky white, foaming water rushes powerfully over the rocks. Next to the waterfalls shady tea gardens and restaurants make the falls a pleasant, cool resting spot, especially welcome after a day of sightseeing. You can take a delightful boat trip up the Manavgat river to explore this lovely area further.

Side, one of the best-known classical sites in Turkey, was an ancient harbor whose name meant pomegranate. Today a pretty resort town, its ancient ruins, two sandy beaches, many shops and extensive tourist accommodation attract throngs of visitors. There are numerous cafes and restaurants with a view of the sea, and the shops that line the narrow streets sell typical Turkish handicrafts. The magnificent theater of the ancient city, built on colonnaded arches, is the largest in the whole area. Other monuments include the agora, the Apollo Temple, which is situated near the sea, a fountain and necropolis. The extensive Roman baths, now a museum, houses one of Turkey's finest archaeological collections.

In the Pamphlyian Seleucia (Bucaksihlar), 15 km northeast of Side, are the remains (in good condition) of Roman baths, temples, churches, a mausoleum, theatre and agora. East of Side, tucked in pine forests the holiday resorts of Sorgun and Titreyen Gol are both popular for their sandy beaches and sparkling sea. The atmosphere is relaxed, the accommodation plentiful and the activities endless.

West of Side, the holiday centers of Kumkoy and Colakli also offer sun and sea, in close proximity to ancient sites.

The 13th century caravanserai, Alarahan, was built by the Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubat on the banks of the Alara River. On the top of a nearby hill the Alara Fortress commands a view of the whole area.

The large popular resort center of Alanya lies at one end of a rocky promontory which juts out into the Mediterranean between two long sandy beaches. A 13th century Seljuk fortress - one of the most magnificent sights on the coast - crowns the headland. One hundred and fifty towers punctuate the walls of the wellpreserved, double-walled citadel. Within the outer walls are ruins of mosques, a caravanserai and a covered bazaar; in the inner walls are a ruined cistern and a Byzantine church. Although Alanya's history dates back to Roman times, it rose to prominence under the Seljuks, when in 1220, Alaeddin Keykubat make it his winter residen`ce and naval base. The surviving buildings reflect the importance of the city in Seljuk times. Besides the impressive citadel tourists should explore the unique dockyards and the octagonal Kizil Kule (Red Tower).

Alanya is a beautiful holiday center of modern hotels and motels, numerous fish restaurants and cafes and bars. The cafes that ring the harbor have become popular gathering places for tourists. From the town's lovely park, the road runs along the coast to the harbor, lined with countless boutiques that tempt tourists with handicrafts, leather, clothes, jewelry, handbags and the amusing painted gourds, a symbol of the area. In August when Alanya hosts a colorful International Folklore Festival the atmosphere is charged with vitality and gaiety.

If you enjoy exploring you should visit the Damlatas Cave to see the eerie misshapen rock formations. Nearby is the Archaeological and Ethnographical Museum. A boat can take you to the three sea grottoes: Fosforlu Magara with its phosphorescent rocks, the Kizlar Magarasi, where pirates imprisoned their female captives, and the Asiklar Magarasi.

When the intense sun overpowers you, take a day trip to the Dim Cayi Valley, 15 km east of Alanya, where you can relax in the shade of this scenic valley and listen to the stream rushing by.

Avsallar (Incekum), about 25 km from Alanya to the west, is a holiday resort center with fine sandy beaches. If you travel east from Alanya towards Gazipasa you will discover and no doubt linger an the exceptional beaches.

30 km east of Alanya, Aytap, the historical harbour city lotape, is a great excursion site, with Roman ruins, secluded beaches and bays.



button