Kaleici, Antalya, Turkey – Tourist Information
Kaleici is the original city center of Antalya, Turkey. The exact translation of the name means “Inside the Kale” and “Kale” means castle, fortress. Since ancient times till 1970s the whole city was actually in the territory surrounded by walls. However the progress of the region because of the increased in tourism force the area of the town to expand beyond the initial fortress. The buildings that are located in the ancient castle are from Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman periods and of course modern ones. This mixture of cultures and architectures styles is a great attraction for the incoming tourists. As Antalya is coast city the fortress is situated also near the Mediterranean Sea and so it has its own harbor that is also in use nowadays.
The buildings that will keep your attention as most of them are well preserved till today are:
It’s one of the highest constructions since historical times. As usually for this type of towers it has four clock dials- one for each of the geographical directions.
The Hadrian’s Gate, also known as Hadrianus Gate or Uckapilar, is triumphal arch built in honor of the Roman ruler Hadrian which has visited the city of Antalya around 1st century. It represents 3 arched gates next to each other. This gate is believed to be one of the most beautiful and detail ones for the whole Mediterranean region. It’s also very well preserved and the main reason for that is its location which made it somehow useless as very few people were passing trough during the years. On both sides of the arches there are towers. The one from its southern side is called Sancta tower. The evidences argue that it is built just a little after the triumphal arch while the northern side tower is from much later period.
Hidirlik Tower is one of the most remarkable constructions in Kaleici, Antalya. It’s a tower made of tawny stone in the beginning of 2nd century (Roman period). First the idea was to be square type one but then after building the foundations the plan was changed and so the tower was finished as circular one. Through the years it was used for a defense matters and also as a lighthouse. The Hidirlik Tower is situated at the most south side of the main palace just where the city walls ends and meets the Mediterranean Sea. The construction is 14 meters high and consists of circular tower built over a quadratic basis. Furthermore there’s a staircase inside it which enables to climb to the top of the building.
Nowadays this area of the town center is very popular among tourists as the tower is surrounded by many cafes, bars and restaurants.
In the old part of Antalya- Kaleici there’s a beautiful minaret situated. Its name is Kesik Minare and literately means “broken minaret”. It was built during the Roman empire in 2nd century AD. It was used from the Romans as temple for them. Then in 7th century it was turned into Byzantine church in honor of the Virgin Mary. When Arabians invaded this part of Minor Asia and conquered the city the minaret was badly damaged. The Arabs managed to renovated and converted it into mosque. Exactly then was added the minaret tower. The status of this building changed twice more. First in 1361 it was again turned into church by king of Cyprus who capture the city but this didn’t last long as Sehzade Korkut changed it to mosque again. In 1846 a fire destroyed the main building which was first temple, then church, then mosque. Luckily the minaret survived and is relatively well preserved till today. However all this events left their mark over the minaret too and so it’s called broken minaret.
Alaaddin Mosque, also known as Alaaddin Camii, Ulu Camii and Yivli Minare Camii is important historical building in Antalya, part of the old city center- Kaleici. This mosque is also symbol of the city since ancient times as it’s the highest construction in that area. The Alaaddin Camii is constructed in 1230 but then was destroyed and rebuilt in 1373. It is 38 meter high tower built on square pedestal with eight fluted sections to the top. Moreover there’s staircase inside with 90 steps. This building is perfect example of multi-dome constructions and is very rare worldwide.
Tekeli Mehmet Pasa Mosque
Another fascinating building in the old center of Antalya is Tekeli Mehmet Pasa Mosque. This incredible monument is built during the Ottoman period in 18th century. The building is a main dome that is supported by 3 smaller ones- one for each world direction- east, west and south and additional three smaller ones at the northern side. Inside the mosque is beautifully decorate with scenes and tiles from the Koran.
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