Thrace and The Marmara

The Aegean

The Mediterranean

Central Anatolia

The Black Sea

The East and Southeast



The Mediterranean

   Mark Anthony once gave part of Turkey's southern shore to Cleopatra as a wedding gift. Indeed, this coast has everything befitting so princely a gift. Set against the often snowcapped peaks of the Toros Mountains are the seemingly endless stretches of white sand, lapped by the translucent waters of the Mediterranean, which perhaps because of its crystalline quality, the Turk's call "Ak Deniz" or "White Sea". The verdant shores are covered with pine forest, orange groves and banana plantations, splashed here and there with the vivid pink of wild ole anders.
   Here legend and history are interwoven into the background fabric of this colourful region. In the mountains to the west of Antalya is the Chimera the firebreathing monster that the hero Bellerophon slew. Behind Antalya are the bay trees of the gardens of Daph ne where the nymph was turned into a bay tree by Zeus to escape the amoro us advances of Apollo. Turning to more historical fachts, it was from Tarsus that St. Paul came, and in Demre, St. Nicholas or, "Father Christmas" once lived.
   Like Turkey's Aegean coast, her Mediterranean coast is also littered with ancient ruins. Atop a craggy peak to the north - west of Antalya, like an eagle's nest, are the ruins of Termessos. On the coastal plains are the Pamphylian cities of Perge, Aspendos and Side. Perge's great stadium could seat 15.000 and the theatre of Aspendos is the best preserved in Anatolia, while the ruins of Side are elegantly set on a promontort between two sandy bays.
   The major resort of the region is Antalya which possesses on of the finest settings on the Mediterranean with the crescent of Konyaaltı Beach sweeping away to the precipitous Lycian mountains in the west. To the east of the city is the Lara Beaches near where the Düden waterfalls plunge off a cliff into the is dominated by the curious Fluted Minaret.
   West of Antalya is the attractive resort of Kemer, where pine woods stretch right down to the sandy shore, and near which are the ruins of the ancient harbour of Phaselis. Further along the coast are the holiday spots of Kaş, a delightful, friendly village and Kekova, a yachtsman's paradise.
   East of Antalya is a former pirate stronghold of Alanya, which the Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat made his winter residence. Commanding a rugged promontory between two sandy beaches is an imposing 13th century Seljuk Castle. At Anamur, the southernmost point of Asia Minor, there is yet another mediaeval castle set between two beaches.
   The road from Anamur to Silifke clings to pine clad mountain slopes, which plunge spectacularly down into the Mediterranean. Beyond Silifke are the chasms known as "Heaven and Hell", whit are in fact collapsed caverns. In the chasm of "Heaven" is a ruined Byzantine chapel. A little way on at the pretty resort of Korykos, there is a mediaeval castle-Kızkalesi or Maiden's castle-on the shore facing another one on an island.
   More broken columns and fallen capitals mark the sites of such Roman cities as Kanytelis and Pompeiopolis on the way to Mersin. From Tarsus, the land flattens out into the cotton growing Çukurova Plain. In the middle of the plain in the prosperous city of Adana, the centre of Turkey's cotton industry. The eastern part of the Çukurova Plain was known in Classical times as the Plain of Issos, and it was here that Alexander the Great defeated Darius. After this great victory, Alexander founded the port of Alexandretta, now called İskenderun. From İskenderun the road leads through the Belen Pass to Antakya, the Biblical Antioch, where St. Peter founded the first Christian community. The grotto where he preached can be seen just outside the city. Of particular interest is the Hatay Museum which houses one of the richest collections of Roman mosaics in the world, all of which were discovered in the environs of Antakya.









The majestic Taurus Mountains plunge down to the Mediterranean giving rise to a narrow, luxuriant coastal belt covered in wild oleanders, orange and lemon roves, pine forest, and date and banana plantations. The intensely colourful region is bathed in sunshine for 300 days in a year and the clear turquoise waters, secluded coves, rocky headlands and broad bays fringed by sandy beaches are. İdeal for swimming sailing and all water sports. It is oneof the rare regions in the world where, in March and April, it is possible to ski in the snowy Taurus Mountains in the mornings then bathe in the warm waters of the Mediterranean in the afternoons.
   Also rich in legend and history the coast is dotted with ancient theatres, ruined cities and Crusader castles. In ancient times the region comprised classical Lycia in the west and between Antalya and Alanya were the principal Pamphylian cities of Perge, Aspendos and Side, while Cilicia stretched as far east as İskenderun. Mark Anthony gave the lovely Cilician shores to Cleopatra as a wedding gift and other famous names associated with the region's past are St. Paul, who was from Tarsus, and St. Nicholas ( Father Christnas ), who was a 4th century Bishop of Demre.
   The region has recently been developed for the holiday-maker and in all main resorts modern amenities  for seaside holidays and accommodation facilities ranging from luxurious to inexpensive are to be found. The principal resorts are Antalya, magnificently situated on the shores of a broad bay; Side, located between two side stretches of sandy beach next to the ruins of the ancient city; Alanya, with its splendid Seljuk fortress set atop a craggy promontory, and the modern ports of Mersin and İskenderun.
   A good asphalt road from Antalya to Antakya links the resorts of this 500 kilometer long coastline, and the region is well connected by road to the rest of the country. In summer the Turkish Maritime Lİnes operate a regular service from Istanbul to Iskenderun and back, the liners calling in at all main resorts, while Turkish Airlines operate daily flights from Istanbul to Antalya.
   With its unspoilt natural beauty and historical sites, the Turkish Riviera has an all season appeal to both the pleasure seeker and the lover of history, and is already a favourite holiday destination among discerning travelers.


   THe principal resort of the Mediterranean is the lovely port of Antalya, magnificently situated atop the cliffs of a wide crescent-shaped bay surrounded by the towering peaks of the Taurus mountains. It is an attractive town with -shady palm-lined boulevards picturesque old quarters and harbour and a lovely city park. There are several modern hotels in the town and it is an ideal base from which to visit the ancient sites of Lycia and Pamphylia and the shady pine woods, waterfalls, and spacious beaches in the immediate vicinity. In summer Antalya hosts an annual festival featuring artistic and dramatic groups, folk dances and music





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