- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On the Turkish Mediterranean coast, discover the seaside resort of Antalya. While the city sports magnificent fine sandy beaches, it is also known for its significant historical heritage. Many vestiges bear witness to the importance of this former Roman port, such as Hadrian's Gate, built in the year 130 in honor of the visiting emperor. In the old town, it is possible to admire magnificent Ottoman houses with flowery gardens, as well as the broken minaret, built on the ruins of a former Byzantine church. The city’s surroundings also provide an opportunity to discover major archaeological sites, such as that of the ancient city of Aspendos, renowned for its impressive Roman theatre.
Today you may choose to join an optional excursion:
From the pier, board your coach for a 45-minute to reach Perge. This ancient city, now in ruins, dates back to around 1000 BCE. Perge was the principal town of Pamphylia during the time of Alexander the Great. Settled by Greek colonists looking for respite from the brutal Trojan War, Perge prospered for many years under Alexander and later under the Roman Empire, but began to decline in importance under the Byzantines. Significant remnants from Perge’s long history include a 14,000 person theatre, huge Hellenistic and Roman gates, and a beautiful and impressive colonnaded street. After exploring the remains of Perge, travel through the Anatolian countryside to Aspendos, which contains ruins from Roman times. Aspendos is home to one of the finest theaters in the region, built of such quality that upon seeing it Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic, remarked that it must be used rather than converted into a museum. He got his wish.
Lunch will be served in a local restaurant close to Aspendos's site.
Your excursion continues with a guided tour of Antalya’s splendid Archaeological Museum. Feast your eyes on an amazing variety of impressive artifacts, including pottery, coins, mosaics, sculptures, clothing, sarcophagi, and relics found in the once-inhabited nearby caves. Admire displays of Classical art, including magnificent statues of the Greek gods and famous emperors.
Finally, return to the pier and your ship.
From the pier, board your coach to the Antalya Archaeological Museum. This museum contains an amazing variety of collections including pottery, coins, mosaics, sculptures, clothing, sarcophagi, and artifacts found in the once-inhabited caves of coastal Turkey. The Hall of Emperors is one of the museum’s most impressive wings. Here the displays of classical art are magnificent, including statues of the Greek gods, the Emperors Hadrian and Septimus Severus, and their mistresses.
Next, enjoy a walking tour of Antalya. Start from the Yivli Minare, or “Fluted Minaret”, which has become the symbol of the city, and which is part of a 13th century Seljuk medrese and mosque complex. Proceed to the charming old city, called the Kaleici which means “Inside the Castle.” Wander in its ancient, narrow cobbled streets lined with old Ottoman houses and shady stone courtyards.The walls you see surrounding Antalya were built in the Hellenistic period, but enlarged and restored by the Romans and the Byzantines, attesting to Antalya’s long history.
Walk on to the massive and impressive Hadrian’s Gate, which was built to commemorate Emperor Hadrian’s visit to the city in 130 CE. Made of marble and originally two stories high, the gate is flanked by three arched entranceways, separated by piers with Corinthian columns.
A little further on, approach the Kesik Minare, or “Truncated Minaret”, a genuine work of art. Originally a Roman temple, this structure changed with the times becoming a Byzantine church in the 5th century AD and was converted into a mosque in the 13th.
Your tour of the city of Antalya ends at the Hidirilik Kulesi, a 2nd century CE round tower marking the burial place of a local dignitary.