Antalya old town, known as Kaleici, is rich in culture and history. The central old town with a fortified castle and antique harbour is a popular tourist attraction and signifies Antalya's importance in history. Historically all of Antalya sat inside the walls of Kaleici. The city name translates to inside the kale, and kale is another word for a fortress or castle. The walls show buildings from multiple periods, including the Ottoman, Byzantine, and Roman periods. When visiting Antalya, Kaleici old town should be first on your list of places.
About Antalya Old Town
There are many treasures in Kaleici, including the beautiful Hadrian's Gate. This beautiful three-arch gate survived multiple sieges primarily because it was inside Antalya old town, and marauders couldn't find it. Locals say the Queen of Sheba passed through Hadrian's gate on her journey to see King Solomon. Also, see Hidirlik Tower near it. These fortification sites on the city corners are close to the sea. Although it features a square base, the tower is a circle. Some believe this was because of a greater understanding of a circular structure's ability to absorb an assault versus a square or rectangular form. In addition, this structure shows clear signs of restoration from Ottoman times.
Churches in Europe were often re-purposed after invaders took a town. The Kesik Minare of Kaleici is an excellent example of this. Initially built as a Roman temple, the building became a Byzantine church during the 7th century. Then, it was re-purposed again as a mosque by the Sultanate of Rum in the 10th century. The minaret, or tower, was added as part of this process. Finally, it returned to a church in the 1300s under Cyprus's crusading king but again became a mosque later. After surviving, a fire destroyed the building in 1846, but the minaret still stands today.
Finally, tour Yivliminare Cami in Antalya old town. This complex includes a Dervish lodge (think whirling dervishes) and an impressive minaret over one hundred feet tall. The newest construction has six domes, a highly unusual design feature and is the oldest known multi-dome place of worship. The mosque is also now a museum, highlighting many artefacts.
There are few newly constructed buildings in Antalya old town because the entire central city is a preservation district. Still, fantastic restorations and remodels of old structures include hotels, shops, and restaurants. Some of Antalya's best-kept secrets are Kaleici's boutique hotels that are old Ottoman houses. Most wonderful boutique hotels feature less than 20 rooms. Many restaurants sell typical Turkish cuisine, but fresh seafood and mezes fair well with diners who want to enjoy cuisine from the sea. Save room for amazing desserts and some coffee. For local treats, ask for Piyaz, made with tahini, a sesame paste, beans, garlic, and walnuts, or enjoy tahini and hummus.
Getting lost in Antalya old town is effortless because the streets start to all look alike. In fact, for fun, grab a drink and watch tourists walking by with confused looks and pointing in all different directions. To enjoy history and see an ancient city where multiple cultures have collided, spend a few days in Kaleici, Antalya, either independently or on tour. Whether you visit the many historic structures or enjoy the fantastic weather with friends, everyone enjoys this Turkish Riviera jewel. Kaleici of Antalya is a highly touristic area. The bustling authentic streets are always full of tourists checking out souvenir shops, haggling for carpets or merely admiring the beautifully renovated Ottoman houses.
Property for Sale in Kaleici – Antalya
Very few residential properties are for sale in Antalya old town, so few that when they come on the market, they get snapped quickly and usually at hefty prices. There are, however, still a handful of old houses remaining that require restoration and renovation works. If you have the proper budget and contacts to undertake a renovation project, this would be a viable investment in Antalya's old historic quarter. Have your business cap on when shopping for renovation projects in Kaleici. Due to high demand, hotels in Antalya old town enjoy up to 80% occupancy year-round, and daily rates range from around Euro 50 to Euro 150 for the more accredited boutique hotels. Therefore, if you purchase reasonably, renovating an old building in Antalya and operating it as a boutique hotel may be an enriching lifestyle and business proposition for the right buyer. (See property for sale in Kaleici - Antalya.)
Other Places in Antalya City Centre
Konyaalti Beach: After exploring Antalya old town, wander down to Konyaalti, one of Antalya's city centres, two main beaches. Konyaalti is one of Turkey's best stretches of sand, as voted by Trip Advisor users. Many property hunters in Antalya also choose the residential area because of the fantastic sea views, family park, nearby bars and restaurants, and beautiful promenade.
Other Attractions in Antalya: Antalya city centre is Turkey's top visited southern travel destination for good reasons. Aside from Antalya old town – Kaleici, and beaches, there are many other attractions, including the museum, cable car and aquarium. This article talks more about them and what to expect from the southern delight of Antalya city centre.