So to continue…
If you haven’t yet read the first part my travel posts about Antalya, please click here.
DAY 2 – Sunday, 22nd of February
8:00 – Starting point: Hıdırlik Tower
I know, I have visited this place before yesterday, but we were kind of rushing to go back to the hotel then. My mum wanted to see the tower herself, so I went along to accompany her to the tower before breakfast. We took some great photos of the tower and the sea as well, since the tower was situated on a cliff. After about half an hour or so, we went back to the hotel for breakfast and left off for another day of sightseeing.
9:30 – Pass by İmaret Mosque
While we as a family were on our way out of Kaleiçi to the tram station, we chose to walk a different street from where we walked yesterday. We ended up in front of this mosque right here. We stopped because someone had to go to the bathroom. It was not yet prayer time.
FYI; I didn’t actually remember the name of the mosque. I didn’t see a sign bearing the mosque’s name in the photo, nor did I remember seeing a sign at all. After doing some (unsuccessful) Google searches and loading Antalya on Google Earth, only then I found out that the name is İmaret Mosque.
The mosque looked a little modern to be an Ottoman-era mosque from the 17th or 18th century, so I think it is more recently built. This mosque, like any other mosques in Turkey in general, share common Ottomaneque features. A central dome, usually tiled blue, and a sharp, piercing minaret that looks like a tip of a pencil is present in the traditional look for any mosque in Turkey. Sometimes I wish we have more of that architectural style in Malaysia…
10:00 – Going to Konyaaltı District
That day, we intended to go to visit Antalya Museum to see the archaeological history of the city and region. The museum was located further away from the Old Town, but is easily accessible via a tramway crossing the city from west to east. We returned to Republic Avenue to catch our tram. The ride takes about fifteen to twenty minutes because of the stops along the way. I did not take any photo of the tram itself, but if you want to see it, you could probably Google it yourself.
We arrived at the end of the tram line in Konyaaltı. The district is famed for its long stretch of beach and of course the city’s museum. We took some photos not far from the tram stop, as we were on top of a really high cliff from where you could see the whole strech of beach extending as far as the eye could see. It was a pity that the weather wasn’t sunnier or warmer that day, because then a day at the beach would have been much more fun! We were afraid that it would rain any time that day, so we decided to make our priority to spend time at the museum.
10:15 – Entry to Antalya Museum
As soon as I arrived to Antalya Museum, I was greeted with a headless Roman-era statue. I guess this foreshadows what the museum will mostly display and exhibit. Historically, unlike Istanbul, Bursa or Edirne, Antalya did not bear so much value during the Ottoman Empire more than a provincial capital, as evidenced by the small sizes of mosques and lack of any important Ottoman structures such as palaces for the sultans. However, the city was very important to the eyes of the Greeks, Romans and later the Byzantines, who kept a large naval force in the city.
Antalya is rich in Greek and Roman heritage, rather than Turkish or Islamic. The ancient cities of Attaleia and Perga left behind many archaeological findings which were unearthed by modern experts. Many pieces of artwork and everyday items from the city’s ancient past were dug up and collected, and then became part of what you see in the photos. Things like earthen pots, amphoras, plates, casserole dishes, miniature statues, slabs of stones people write on, those kinds of things. These items form the first section of the museum’s exhibits.
10:30 – Greco-Roman sculptures
Arguably, I think the best exhibit the museum has to offer to a visitor who is mildly curious about Greco-Roman history (like me) would be the hall of sculptures. Made up of life-size statues of Greco-Roman dieties, generals and people in general, the statues are mostly taken from the ancient city of Perga. The statues were all sculpted by the Romans, who copied them from Greek originals in the 2nd century AD.
The sculptors were obviously masters in their trade, as there were many intricate details which were carefully carved onto the marble to produce these masterpieces. Take the first statue above of the woman as an example. Her flowing robes had so many folds on it, you could be mistaken that it was fabric instead of stone. This is my favourite sculpture out of all the ones I saw here in the museum, because the woman’s pose is pure win! You can almost imagine her posing in real life in front of a camera, turning aside to look fabulous!
Here are two other statues I quite liked. The one on the right is a statue of a Roman emperor. Notice the smaller statue right beside it to give the impression of supreme power and authority to the emperor himself. The sculpture on the right is the statue of Artemis, the Roman godess of war. Perga was the centre of worship for Artemis, so her figure is important. Many statues of other Greek or Roman gods and godesses were there too, like Zeus/Jupiter and Athena/Minerva. Since the Romans and Greeks pretty much worshipped the same gods and godesses just with different names, they copied statues off each other as well.
11:30 – Other things I found interesting
There were of course lots of other things you could find in the museum. A lot of it are ancient-Greek-and-Roman-related, but one could also find some Byzantine and Ottoman artefacts on display.
Sarcophagi with sculptures on them, dating from the Roman era:
Slabs bearing incriptions in Greek (anyone care to translate? I can read a little Greek, but not understand it):
A collection of ancient coins (these are ancient drachmas, used by the Greeks before they switched to Euro):
Colourful and well-preserved Byzantine Orthodox Christian tapestries and paintings:
Lastly, lovely Ottoman-Islamic calligraphy inscribed on stone:
12:10 – Museum’s outdoor section
After spending a lot of time indoors, the whole family moved out to the courtyard of the museum, where unsurprisingly there are even more historical artefacts placed for visitors to see. I wonder why do that, since these things would be exposed to the elements. Anyhow, the area is a pleasant place to walk around in, like a small park.
Curiously, the museum courtyard contains a small enclosed birdhouse. Inside, there are a two peacocks and a peahen and a couple of fancy breeds of bantam chickens. I couldn’t help but take a few photos of the black bird with the weird feathery afro on his head.
12:40 – Down at Konyaaltı Beach
After what it seemed like years in the museum, we finally exited and headed towards the tram stop again. I really wanted to go down to see the beach down the cliff, but nobody else in my family was interested to go except for my mother. Even she did not go in the end because she said that her would hurt if she has to climb back up the road leading to the beach. So I went alone.
Within minutes, I arrived at the beachfront. I did not have much time on my own, so I had to do what any self-respecting teenager would do: taking a #SELFIE! (Gosh, I wish it wasn’t so cloudy – the lighting totally sucked!)
Of course, I relished the views of the sea in front of me and waded in the water. There were several people on the beach at the time, so in order to not appear as a crazy narcissist, I kept a low profile by took snapshots as quickly and casually as possible.
I noticed that Konyaaltı Beach is not sandy – it was composed of millions of rounded pebbles ranging from the diameter of a gun’s bullet to a baby’s fist. The pebbles were indeed very colourful and impeccably smooth, a product of millions of years of continuous pounding by the waves. I even carried a white-coloured beach pebble in my pocket to take back home as a little souvenir.
02:30 – Back at Hadrian’s Gate
Not long after the beach visit, we returned to the centre of the city on the tram. We had lunch in two different restaurants along Atatürk Avenue: one in a fish restaurant and another in a kebab restaurant. My siblings were not satisfied with the portions in the first restaurant.
Still keeping on the same avenue, we found our way back to Hadrian’s Gate. I already explained what it was yesterday. The reason we returned was to take more photos of the wall and to enter Kaleiçi through the gate itself, as the Romans would have done.
There are metal stairs which lead to the top of the tower on the right side of the gate. Theoretically, you would be able to enter the tower itself but it was shut. The views from the tower was satisfactory, but did not suffice since it was not high enough. I moved down and walked on towards the hotel to rest before getting prepared for prayers.
03:30 – Prayers in Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Mosque
We set off again from the hotel that afternoon as we hear the calls of prayer melodiously resounding across the city. My father and brothers all came together to pray in a mosque. I actually wanted to go to a different mosque other than the one closest to the hotel, Sultan Alaaddin Mosque. I remembered that we passed by İmaret Mosque in the morning and that the mosque is bigger there.
Much to our misfortune, we were not able to find the way to the right mosque. Instead of arriving at İmaret, we ended up right in front of Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Mosque near the Clock Tower. How we got there, I hadn’t a clue. As I said before, always bring a map because Kaleiçi’s streets are hella confusing.
Thanks to God, we were able to arrive just in time before the prayer started. Located in a busier part of town, the congregation is noticable larger than the mosque inside Kaleiçi. The interior design is more elaborate too, with low-haning chandeliers reminiscent of the ones like in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
03:50 – Revisiting Republic Avenue (Cumhuriyet Caddesi)
Since we ended up detouring quite far from our intended destination, we all decided to go to the busy shopping areas parallel to Republic Avenue. There is a small square in front of the pedestrian street where there is a statue of Attalos the Second.
Reading from the stone inscription in front of the statue, he was the King of Pergammon who founded the ancient Greek city of Attaleia named in his honour. The city is, of course, modern-day Antalya and he is commemorated here as a hero.
After this brief revisit, we all returned to the hotel again to freshen-up. Nobody else wanted to sightsee anymore until later in the evening when my mother said she wanted to revisit the harbour.
05:00 – The other side of Yacht Harbour (Marina)
My mother and I went together to find the harbour and to do a bit more exploring as well. We found out that the harbour was in fact much larger than we first saw – it extended into a place with lots of restaurants and even a Roman-style theatre. It was a lively place filled with people enjoying their weekend with friends and family. What surprised us the most when revisiting the Marina was this thing right here:
This is a glass structure housing an elevator. Its sole purpose is to carry people from the harbour to the main street above, which was Republic Avenue, and vice versa. I could not believe it at first when I saw it, because I thought people only built elevators to move people inside a building, not outdoors! My mum and I decided to give the thing a try and waited in a long queue of people who are going up to the street.
Once reaching the top of the structure, there is a platform where you can take AWESOME pictures of Kaleiçi houses and the harbour! I used photos I took here as my featured images for both of my posts.
05:20 – Cumhuriyet (Republic) Square and the Monument of National Rise
Not far from the elevator was Cumhuriyet Square. It’s a large square with a sculpture in the middle called the Monument of National Rise. The square had a lot of activities going on all at once: there is a street-performer, a couple of musicians and a mobile station encouraging people to donate some of their blood for the hospitals.
I attempted to take a picture of the monument but it came out very badly. The day was very cloudy and the sun sets at quarter past six, so any photos we take later at this point were really dark for a daytime photo. The monument depicts Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, calling out to his compatriots while mounted on a horse. By his sides men and women heroically supporting him. It’s a good example of how Turks revere and respect him up to this day.
05:35 – Back in Kaleici, on the way back to the hotel
We shuffled as quickly as we could without looking rushed. We found our way back to Kaleiçi within a couple of minutes and returned to the hotel to get a well-deserved rest. This day was our last sightseeing day because we flew the next day.
Day 3 – Flying back to Cairo via Istanbul
The next and final day of our stay in Turkey was our flight back home, so we were transported to the airport and checked-into our flight to Istanbul. While waiting for my two flights, I took some pictures of the interior of both the airports in Antalya and Istanbul out of boredom and slight interest for airport-architecture. Here are some of them:
Antalya International Airport
Istanbul-Atatürk International Airport
Near the gate of our flight: