Decorate a Mediterranean city that smells of the sea and where gentle breezes blow with the remains of an ancient city; give it a view over the cliffs of the Taurus Mountains stretching out towards the blue waters of the Mediterranean…
The meeting point of the rows of Taurus mountains, the warm waters of the Mediterranean and gurgling rivers, an area of lush greens and deep blues; this beautiful geography has opened its doors to many civilizations for thousands of years. The site of today’s marina established in the interior of the bay, the castle built on the high rocks directly behind it and the area formed by the houses of the city’s population has for centuries been the beating heart of Attaleia, or ‘Home of Attalos’. Today Kaleiçi, or ‘Inner Castle’, is still one of the city’s most beautiful and popular areas, with cobblestone streets, two-storey houses with covered balconies, and the marina stretching out beneath you.
Despite being a modern city, it is possible to see and feel the spirit of Antalya in the streets of Kaleiçi. The ancient city was once surrounded by walls; today the sections of these walls that remain standing, along with Üçkapılar (Three Gates) – also known as Hadrian’s Gate, one of the gates that provides entrance to the city – and the Clock Tower, one of the symbols of Kalekapısı (Castle Gate), greet visitors like the last defenders of the city. On the subject of Malakasis, it is worth pointing out that the city’s old and lively square is closed to traffic and only the tramway passes through here. The square is decorated with benches and towers, and in the middle, facing the entrance to the castle, stands a statue of Attalos II, King of Pergamum and founder of the city of Antalya. With crowds flowing through the square from the surrounding areas, people sitting on benches, traders, street musicians and children playing in the fountains, every day this square offers a festival-like atmosphere.
- Sultan’s Clock: Antalya’s Clock Tower was built by Grand Vizier Mehmed Sait Pasha in 1901 in honor of Sultan Abdulhamid II.
- In Honor of Hadrian: The three-arched Hadrian’s Gate was built in the year 130 BC in honor of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
Life in the old Antalya houses built right behind the historical walls that stretch into Kaleiçi has an altogether different flavor. When you reach these streets the hustle and bustle of the crowds and traffic turns into an enjoyable stroll through a holiday village. The gardens of the houses over ow onto the streets and the native Mediterranean bougainvillea is one of the indispensable parts of the landscape. Built back-to-back, these old Antalya houses are generally formed of three storeys, with an airy courtyard on the ground floor. These beautiful bay-windowed buildings solemnly present us with the grace of yesteryear. The horseshoe-shaped area of Kaleiçi, made up of a nest of city walls, and the area’s traditional houses bring Kaleiçi into the modern day as they are restored to become a growing number of hotels, restaurants, and cafes.
The streets of the old city that lead down to embrace the blue waters of the Mediterranean can accelerate your visit with slopes that become increasingly steeper as you approach the port. When you smell the sea, hear the sound of seagulls and catch your first glimpse of this wonderful view it is impossible not to take a break on the castle’s exterior walls, a spot that takes in the full majesty of the Taurus Mountains. This impossibility must be a well-accepted fact, as rows of tables have been set up at the viewpoint.
When you reach the marina, take a walk out to the end of the pier and lose yourself in the view of the bay and the sight of the boats entering and leaving the marina. From here you can also take a trip on the sea on boats in a range of sizes. Short trips go to the cliffs before heading straight back, while on a longer trip you can reach the spot where the Düden Waterfalls flow into the sea, and have a delicious feast of fish on the water.
We Have Found Heaven! The story of Attaleia is said to have begun between the port and the high walls of Kaleiçi, with the command of Attalos II King of Pergamum’s order, “Go and find me heaven on earth!”
In Kaleiçi and at the Marina it is possible to find a wide range of dining options at any time of day. However, our recommendations are Sareser Restaurant for a delicious and elegant meal, Il Vicino Pizzeria for a taste of the pizzas of an Italian master chef, and Tuvana Hotel and Puding Hotels for an elegant stay. If a view is essential, Mermerli Restaurant, Castle Café and CH Kale Restaurant are perfect choices. Another road from the city center to Kaleiçi takes you past Hıdırlık Tower in Karaalioğlu Park. This park, where lush green nature meets historical ruins, is always crowded. Located right next to the tower, Club Mirador has a wonderful viewing platform overlooking the cliffs, and an extensive menu.
At the end of the day in Kaleiçi, the golden sun hits the historical stones on the ancient city walls, giving them a polished look, and the green of the trees combines with the pink of the bougainvillea to brighten the streets. Lapped by waves, the rocks directly below the city walls attract crowds of people coming to watch the sunset, while groups of camera-clutching tourists line the stairs leading down to the marina. Rows of traders and shermen moored at the port, absorbed in their daily routine, join in this beautiful landscape. This image ills you with the joy of life and makes at least a short visit to Kaleiçi a must.