"Antalya" Antalya by tayloretc

Antalya Travel Guide: 738 reviews and 2,064 photos

Antalya is a lot bigger than I had realized – about a million people. It’s two very distinct cities: the old town, which is all Antalya was until about 1980; and the sprawling mass of the rest, built almost entirely since then. The population in 1980 was 100,000. Around 1980, the government offered benefits for promoting tourism and a large international airport was built*, and the result is 10,000,000 people arriving annually. There are something like 1000 hotels in Antalya itself, including 50 5-star resorts. The population growth of the city is entirely in support of tourism.

Which means that what you see in the foreground of the top photo, and in the photo below, is a very small part of a very large and different-looking whole. The larger part looks more like the photo on the left. I’ve been out of the old town at times for pedestrian reasons (groceries, getting new glasses, etc.), and it’s mostly uniform-looking apartment buildings and regular stores. But, I’ve had good doner kebab at random hole-in-the-wall places out there, and it’s nice to get away from the carpets and trinkets (and hard sell and higher prices).

I’ve been staying in the old town itself, built or renovated mostly in the old Ottoman style of stone and plaster, with dark wood trim. There are still some old buildings in states of disrepair on the hidden corners, and pre-1980 buildings that don’t fit (there’s a period where “Ottoman” was out of favour), but as they are repaired or rebuilt they’ll have to adhere to stricter standards.

I’m here before the season starts, so, except for a few large groups on the weekends and a few individual travellers escaping the cold and grey of northern Europe, I’ve had the place mostly to myself. There’s construction and repair all over the place, gearing up for the season. It’s amazing how fast these stone and plaster walls can go up.

Some things I’ve learned:

By car, it’s very easy to find your way out of the city toward day-trips in any direction

It’s much harder to figure out how to get back to where you started. In-city signs refer to neighbourhoods you’re coming to, which you won't know; and, when you eventually make a wrong turn, there are endless loops of one way streets with no signs at all. Even signs to indicate which way is the one way.

Public-space parks are really nice – plenty of places to meet up for tea and a chat, in prime locations and with great views. From what I’ve seen (here and in Pamukkale), man-made features pick up aspects of nearby geographical or historical places of interest, there’s good landscaping, and they’re impeccable.

I’m perplexed by a lot of the statues in these public spaces.

Aside from the one restaurant review I’ll post eventually, and the home cooking I’ve had at the pansiyon, I haven’t been thrilled with food in the old town. It’s all been just okay, and the prices are high. I’m guessing this is because it’s off-season.

The fresh juice, though, is outstanding.

Cats beg for food, and they sound disturbingly like infants when they do it. Around the Roman Harbour they’re more demanding, and persistent in their demands, than in other parts of the city.

Sparrows eat olives and cheese, and leave very distinctive beak marks in the cheese.

More to come…

*I met someone whose friend was an air traffic controller around that time, when the air traffic went from 6 flights a day to 600. He had a breakdown on air, yelling “Why are you all coming here? Go away!”

  • Intro Updated Mar 13, 2012
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