Antalya


Antalya (formerly known as Adalia; from Pamphylian Greek: Αττάλεια Attália) is a city on the Mediterranean coast of southwestern Turkey. It is the capital city of Antalya Province. The population of the city is 603,190 (2000 census).

Situated on a cliff over the Mediterranean, Antalya is surrounded by mountains. Developments in tourism, starting in the 1970s, have transformed the city into an international resort. With its airport and central location, Antalya is a gateway for the Turkish Riviera and many historical sites. In 2007, Antalya Airport's number of passengers on international flights surpassed the total amount of Istanbul Ataturk Airport and Sabiha Gökçen International Airport for the first time, officially earning the title of "the capital of Turkish tourism".

Antalya city corresponds to the lands of ancient Pamphylia to the east and Lycia to the west. Antalya has hotel accommodations, a hot climate and places to visit both in and around the city, including traces of Lycian,Pamphylian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman architecture and cultures.

Atatürk claimed that without doubt Antalya is the most beautiful place in the world.

Geography
Lower Duden Fall and Lara in the background. The city of Antalya is situated by the Gulf of Antalya on the Mediterranean coast. 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, which are surrounded by mountains on three sides and open south to the Mediterranean sea. On some parts of the coast, the mountains plunge sharply into the sea, forming small natural bays and peninsulas. Antalya is situated on a plain which consists of two flat areas formed of falez rock at a height of 35 m, where the mountains recede from the shore. On the first rocky plain on the coast is the town centre and on the plain behind it, named Kepezustu, small settlement units have been established.

Climate
Since the area is closed to the cold northerly winds, it is characterized by the typical Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and moderately warm and rainy winters. Around 300 days of the year are sunny, the sea temperature never goes below 15°C and in summer is around 29°C. The temperature climbs up to 45°C in July and August. The sea breeze and the northeasterly winds blowing from inland relieve the area under this temperature.

Antalya today
The city as a whole has grown huge now with high apartment blocks and the infrastructure such as roads and drains are struggling to catch up, but there are still areas that are very attractive indeed: Kaleici, with its narrow cobbled streets of historic Turkish and Greek houses is the old center of Antalya, now mainly hotels, gift shops, and many, many bars. The big new hotels such as the Sheraton are along the coast above the Konyaalti and Lara beaches, and indeed spread along the coast in both directions far beyond the city of Antalya itself.

In summer the town is heaving with tourists both from Turkey itself and sun-seeking foreigners, many from Britain and Germany and for the last few years a large number from Russia as well. On summer evenings it is too hot and humid to sleep and Antalya hums with the sound of people buzzing around on scooters or cracking open seeds and nuts with their teeth as they parade the streets with their friends and families. In winter the town is cool and quiet.

Antalya has now acquired a rich middle-class and the associated developments such as private colleges, and luxury cars. The tree-lined avenue along the cliff-top to Konyaaltı is one of Antalya's best-known locations, lined with luxury apartments and posh shops; the other major shopping street is Isiklar Caddesi.

Antalya is not all wealth and glamour of course and there are large neighbourhoods of working families struggling to survive in this hot climate, where employment is seasonal. There is a military base in the city.