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Set amid amazing scenery of sharp contrasts, Antalya, Turkey's principal holiday resort, is an attractive city with shady palm-lined boulevards and a prize-winning marina. On the picturesque old quarter, Kaleici, has narrow, winding streets and old wooden houses abut the ancient city walls.
Since its founding in the second century B.C. by Attalos II, a king of Pergamon, who named the city Attaleia after himself, Antalya has been continuously inhabited. The Romans, Byzantines and Seljuks successively occupied the city before it came under Ottoman rule. The elegant, fluted minaret of the Yivli Minareli Mosque in the center of the city, built by the Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubat in the 13th century, has become Antalyas symbol. The Karatay Medrese (theological college) in the Kaleici district, from the same period, exemplifies the best of Seljuk stone carving. The two most important Ottoman mosques in the city are the 16th century Murat Pasa Mosque, remarkable for its tile decoration, and the 18th century Tekeli Mehmet Pa5a Mosque. Neighboring the marina, the attractive late 19th century Iskele Mosque is built of cut stone and set on four pillars over a natural spring. The Hidirlik Kulesi (tower) probably was originally constructed as a lighthouse in the second century. The Kesik Minaret Mosque attests to the city's long history in its succession of Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman renovations.
When Emperor Hadrian visited Antalya in 130 A.D. a beautifully decorated three-arched gate was built into the city walls in his honor. Near the marina the two towers flanking the gate and other sections of the walls still stand. The clock tower in Kalekapisi Square was also part of the old city's fortifications.
In the Ataturk and KaraaIioglu Parks, with their colorful exotic flowers and the bay's shimmering water in front of you and the mountains behind, you will have no doubt why Antalya has become such a popular resort. Aqua Park, on the eastern coast, has every kind of water sport, including many interesting water-slides.
The award-winning Antalya Kaleici Marina and Leisure Center is considered one of the loveliest marinas in Turkey. This center can well meet every tourist's need with its many souvenir shops, friendly cafes and restaurants as well as yacht moorings and services. Sail in the morning and enjoy the restful peace of the marina in the afternoon. The old city walls, lit at night, lend an atmosphere of serenity and timelessness. The Archaeological Museum, with remains from the Paleolithic Age to Ottoman times, offers a glimpse of the area's rich history. The Ataturk Museum displays objects used by the founder of the Turkish Republic. (Both open weekdays except Monday)
The Antalya Altin Portakal (Golden Orange) Film and Art Festival, held in the autumn, attracts both participants and visitors. The ancient theater in Aspendos makes an impressive setting for some of the festival's plays and concerts. Antalya also hosts annual jewelery fairs.