Antalya
© LOC

Antalya is a city on the Mediterranean coast of southwestern Turkey. It is Turkey’s biggest coastal resort and tourism centre, and was the world’s third-most visited city in 2011 by number of international arrivals.

With the beaches of Konyaaltı in the centre and Lara in the east, Antalya is a picturesque holiday destination. The city has palm-lined streets, national parks, an abundance of accommodation, fish restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Antalya was a major city in the Byzantine Empire. It was the capital of the Byzantine Theme of Carabisiani, which occupied the southern coasts of Anatolia and the Aegean Islands. The city, along with the surrounding region, was conquered by the Seljuk Turks in the early 13th century. Antalya was the capital of the Turkish beylik of Teke (1321–1423) until its conquest by the Ottomans.

Yivli Minaret is known as the symbol of the city, which was founded in the 2nd century BC. To the west are antic mountain, known as Termessos and Arikand, while small villages such as Olimpos, Kekova, Kale and Kas offer an idea about the region’s history. The ancient cities of Perge, Aspendos and Side are located in the eastern side of the city, which hosts the Aspendos Theatre, accepted as one of the biggest ancient amphitheatres in history.

The Taurus Mountains, Duden and Manavgat Waterfall, Damlatas Cave and Antalya Castle are among the other attractions in this beautiful tourist destination. Outside the centre of the city, there are also many beautiful holiday districts such as Kemer and Belek, which are famous with their sandy beaches, five-star hotels, clean sea and pine forests, Alanya, the biggest province of Antalya, is surrounded by orange, lemon and banana plantations.

The city also hosts Turkey’s largest national film festival every year, which is called the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival.

Football
The city’s most famous club is Antalyaspor, which is a near-fixture in the Super League. Antalya is also the hometown of Rustu Recber, the legendary former Turkey goalkeeper, who played 120 matches with the national team over a 16-year international career.

Antalya also becomes the football capital of Europe during winter as more than 1000 teams use the city as their base for winter camps.