In Antalya-Old Town: Alp Pasa...
In Antalya-Old Town: Alp Pasa Hotel, TUTAV Turk Evi, Urcu Hotel,Argos Hotel
In Olimpos: Kadir's Tree Houses
In Kas:Medusa Hotel In Olimpos: Kadir's tree houses are the most exiciting accommadition of the Antalya region. Fancy of sleeping on a tree? Well, houses are located on pine trees and it's really cheap. Good for friendly and exciting memories.... Tel:0090 242 892 1250 web address: www.olympostreehouse.com
Excellent refurbishments, Top quality hospitality!
Welcomed at the airport by a strange, but endearing character! The drive wasnt long and does a good route of the city centre. The courtyard is stunning, with a central pool and candles lit every night around the historical artefacts that are incorporated in the design of the architecture. Since we visited in December, I didnt see anyone using the pool but it is quite small and more of a feature than an amenity. Its a shame the lower cost rooms dont match the rest of the hotel in terms of quality and space, but they are sufficient. We stayed on the ground floor which was a little noisy particularly around mealtimes when people are bustling around outside and there was little room for a large suitcase. I would suggest paying a little more to stay in a larger room on the higher floors or staying in the new building which I believe is now open. The hotel Manager, Mr Zafar Alp, is such a good host, and his staff and restaurant manager made the stay so pleasant. The food was good and proven by being packed with locals as well as hotel residents. We were invited to see the new building, accompanied by Mr Alps personal security and I would definitely go back to stay there! The rooms are spacious and furnishings are top quality!
There are plenty of historical sites around,but do read up in advance and plan day trips out to nearby historical towns.Also head down to the port on a sunny day to catch one of the regular tour boats of the coast - they are cheap and can be hired privately.You can catch the tram to the beach and the more typical tourist areas of Antalya which takes about 15 minutes. The majority of locals speak good English but better German, and sometimes a mash of both, but always with a helpful and welcoming demeanor.
deceived on price
I was in this Hotel for one week in August 2007
The building is nice, my room, a double standard was normal for a four star hotel even if the clima was rather insufficient.
The buffet breakfast not very good for an hotel of that standard, like the dinner on buffet too. A bed thing I experienced was about the fact that the waiters push people too choose food and drink not included in the buffet, for example in breakfast there is free juice in the buffet but waiters always ask you if you want juice, if you say yes they give you natural juice who is not free but you must pay. The same circumstance I experienced for dinner, were the waiters always push you to drink...
The service was false for the facts I mentioned and the receptionists very unkind; so, in general service was bad.
Finally I payed with credit car my chek and after I discover that the total fee has been added of 10% without any raeson!!!
I wrote to the hotel to ask the reason of this but I never recived answer....
I advice against go in this hotel!!
This is realy a fantastic hotel to stay ! I booked a superior room really beautiful, in the bathroom was a jacuzzi and i enjoyed it more than once :-) !! This hotel is located in the historical center of antalya city , close to sea (300 m) and excellent if you like history and musea. The staff was very friendly and helpfull. The food was very good. One tip : eat from the á là carte menu , not expensive but incredibilly good!! This hotel have a special and cosy atmosphere. If you're thinking to book this hotel : don't think, just do it !!!!!! And enjoy every minut of it , like i did !
Antalya in the spring
"A detailed report of a wonderful trip"
We arrived in Antalya airport at 8 PM. The first impression after getting off the plane and going to Passport/Visa control was of a large round room with facsimiles of ancient Roman and Greek statues. After paying our $45 for a visa, we cleared customs and got a taxi for the Sheraton Voyager Hotel.
The hotel is rated the best in Antalya and deserves it. The lobby is open to the top floor with four glass elevators going up and down. On the lobby level and the sub lobby level there are restaurants, bars, and shops. Our room had a King-size bed, was nonsmoking, and had an ocean view. The following morning we got to see just what that meant with a gorgeous view of the Taurus Mountains plunging into the ocean to the west. To the east we could see cliffs. It was April 29th, but there was still a lot of snow on several of the mountains.
Antalya is gorgeous. There are parks all over the city especially on the cliffs overlooking the bay. The mountains to the west seem to rise up out of the sea and the sun sets over these same mountains in the evening.
The maps we got at the concierge station said it was only a kilometer from the Hotel to the old city. Don’t believe it! It was much farther. We walked early in the morning and regretted it. Jaclyn was feeling ill after the walk, so we found a relative new Hamman where she got a massage. While she was getting the message, I explored the old city.
Walking to Hadrians Gate, I took Hisapci Sok toward Hiderlik Kuber (an old Roman tower believed to have been a lighthouse). There appeared to be a number of charming restaurants along this road and we ended up eating at two of them that day.
For lunch we ate at Cabanas. It was located immediately adjacent to Hiderlik Kuber (the Roman tower). It had outdoor seating on grass that overlooked the bay and the tower. It had to have the prettiest view in Antalya (and there are many pretty views). The food was wonderful but the wine left a lot to be desired (although halfway through the glass it tasted better). Five stars for this restaurant don’t miss it.
That evening we went to a charming courtyard restaurant at the Hotel Alp Pasa. The brochure on the hotel showed lovely rooms. The courtyard restaurant is built around a small swimming pool. The stonewalls are warm and authentic, with a niche with a large vase in two of the walls. What really gives the place its charm however, was the night lighting. As you enter, there is a candelabra that has red candles in it. The wax has built up over the period of months and hangs down for a warm interesting effect. Each table has a small candle and there are soft electric lights elsewhere. The total effect makes this a charming place to eat after dusk. The food again was wonderful and like Cabanas, the wine left a lot to be desired.
4/30/02. Today we found a good Turkish wine and disproved our earlier feeling that you couldn’t get a bad meal in Turkey. Eating at one of the Restaurants by the marina, we found a house wine that wasn’t half bad and food that was very bland.
We signed up for two, one-day trips. We will be going to Perge, Aspendos, Side, and Mangavat Falls on Wednesday and to Myra and Kokeva on Thursday. I was a bit surprised after signing for the Perge trip to find the cost of admission to both Perge and Aspendos had doubled to 15,000,000 Turkish liras per person per site.
The beauty of Antalya. One Turkish phrase you will want to learn is “cok guzel” (pronounced choke goozel) which literally translate to “very beautiful.” Supposedly King Attalos II was looking for the most beautiful spot to found a port city. His scouts came back with the location of Antalya and he named the city after himself. He was right. It is absolutely “cok guzel.”
Touring around Antalya, you don’t want to miss Hadrians Gate. Hadrian was the third emperor in the Antionine Dynasty. He was famous as a world traveler spending perhaps 60% of his reign traveling around the empire outside of Rome. The gate in Antalya was designed like a Triumphant Arch with three portals. Although only one story is left, experts think the original gate was two stories tall. It was built to honor Hadrians visit to Antalya in 130 AD
You will also notice ruts in the road of the middle arch. Roman roads were used for millenniums (even after the empire fell). The ruts in Roman roads determined the distance for axles for almost 2000 years as people built their carts to fit in these ruts (so not to break the axles). This distance was so common that when the railroads were built (1400 years after Rome had fallen), they used this standard for the distance between the rails.
When you are at Hadrians gate be prepared for the carpet dealers. Their technique is quite interesting. They will talk with you on the history of the gate or of their building and offer you access to the second floor, or offer to give you a tour of their building. This is all legitimate, but trust me, there will be ample opportunity and ample rugs shown to you as you tour the house, etc.
Today we did buy a leather coat for Jaclyn. Leather is another big items in Turkey. We had bought leather coats in Turkey when we were here five years ago. The workmanship and is excellent and the styles are stunning. You should realize the asking price is very high and you must be willing to bargain. You should pay 40-50% of the original asking price (they will discount it immediately by 30%--the next 25-30% is up to you).
5/1/02. Today we took a day tour to Perge, Aspendos, Side and Magvente Falls. Maki Tur on Uzungarsi Sokak , No. 84 set up the tour. The cost was only $20 per person, but didn’t include lunch or entrance fees. The fees actually added up to more than the cost of the tour.
Our guide was named Berhan and he was an archeologist. He spoke decent English, and he was quite knowledgeable as well. We had 10 people on the tour, one Japanese, one Korean, a New Zealand couple, a newlywed Turkish couple, one Greek, and one Italian plus ourselves. Everyone seemed quite social and nice.
Because the group got so large, the travel company had to get a larger van. This meant we were late getting off (we left at 10 AM vs. 9AM).
Our first stop was Perge. On the way our guide told us about Antalya (the province). To the east (the way we were going), was farm country. Only three crops were grown including sesame plants. There were also the ruins of 11 ancient cities. Perge was the best preserved and is considered the second best ancient site in Turkey behind Efes. To the west there are 23 ancient cities. The farmers to the west grow all year round and more varied crops. In the winter they grow in greenhouses and according to Berhan, there are 100,000 greenhouses there.
When we got to Perge, we found a huge site. Only 20% has been excavated. This is because Turkey has almost 1,000 such sites and limited resources. Many of the statues and other artifacts (i.e. Mosaics) can be viewed in the Antalya Museum. The first ruin from the parking lot is a Roman gate. It was built from a stone quarried in the area, that is soft and easy to carve when first quarried, but one that grows very hard when exposed to air and sun.
Beyond the gate our guide explained the layout. There was a wide plaza like street. It was covered in marble. Along the side of this plaza was a 3-foot wall also veneered with marble which water ran over into a channel by the wall. It must have been absolutely gorgeous. Beyond the plaza were two towers from the original Macedonian Gate. These towers are what you see in most pictures of Perge. The Romans expanded these towers and used them for ceremonial purposes. On what would have been the inside of the city with this gates were niches for large statues of notable people. One person they spoke of was Placia Magna. Her name is found on a number of inscriptions. She was very rich and was a benefactor of the city building all kind of things. Her statue can be found in the Antalya museum.
We next went to the remains of the bathes. The Roman bath can be found in Roman cities all over the world. It was the equivalent of to our shopping centers, health clubs, etc. as a social gathering place. The buildings were available to all (even slaves) although at different times. You first come to a gymnasium where people would workout, wrestle, etc. Then there was a changing room followed by the frigidarium which was a swimming pool sized pool filled with cold water. Many experts feel this may have been a social custom derived from the fact ancient Romans use to bath in the Tiber with very cold water and the frigidarium reminded them of their roots and showed they weren’t getting soft. The next room was the hot pool where they could warm up and relax. Finally they had a tepid temperature pool. The Romans had invented furnaces that used underground chambers to move warm air around the baths (central heating) while they heated the water.
As you go through these baths you find only small pieces of the mosaics and marble. The final room was the furnace room. Underground chambers were open and you could see the famous Roman arch used to support floors and provide chambers for the hot air.
We then moved to the Agora. The Agora was the shopping area of the city. In the middle of the shopping area was a round building. It was used for the sale of slaves. According to the guide, St. Paul converted the people of Perge to Christianity and they did away with the slave market, converting it to a fountain. The Agora was in the shape of a square. Every other shop around the round building was opened to the street around the building. The other shop was opened to the street on the backside of the building. This was an early and effective method of traffic and crowd control. The roads or street themselves were covered by awnings to shield the people from the sun and the rain.
Some notes. Perge had columns everywhere. The Romans used steel rods in the center of the columns and had holes for these bars in the bases. There was a groove carved in the base to this hole. When the column was placed on the base, the bar fit in the hole seating it correctly. Molten lead was then put in the groove to secure the two pieces and to help create columns that would not easily fall over in earthquakes.
Marble was also found everywhere. This truly had to be impressive especially in its golden age in the 2nd Century. Arabs made it too expensive to continue living in the city finally abandoned Perge after earthquakes and raids.
We moved on to Aspendos. Aspendos is famous for its Roman Theater. Again the cost of admittance was high at 15,000,000 Turkish liras per person. Aspendos Theater is the best preserved of the many theaters in Turkey. It was repaired in the Twelfth Century by the Turks and used as a palace by them. Eighty percent of the Theater is original materials. What is renowned is the acoustics. One of the other people on the tour and I hiked up to the top of the theater. Jackie remained on the stage floor and asked if we could hear her. We could hear her perfectly even though she wasn’t shouting. The reverse wasn’t true. We shouted that we could hear her, but she could hear us.
The theater’s architect was Zeno. His work was very renowned in Aspendos and supposedly a garden outside the Theater was named for him (this was very unusual in the ancient world—normally only the patron paying for a work of art was honored).
There is an apocryphal story that the King of Aspendos had held a contest and the prize was his daughter’s hand in marriage. Architects from around the Roman world were invited to create a great work and were offered his daughter in marriage for the best building, bridge, etc. Supposedly Zeno and another architect were the finalist. The King liked the other architect’s work (a palace) better. One of Zeno’s supporters implored the King to look at the Theater one more time. While the King was in the top most gallery, Zeno was on the stage whispering over and over, “please chose me, please chose me.” When the King heard Zeno and saw how far away he was, he realized this was a miraculous structure and chose Zeno as the winner.
The theater is enormous, seating from 15,000 to 17, 000 people. The stage background is probably 50 feet tall and in the middle of this background is a carving of Bacchus, the God of Wine. You will find a statue, carving, etc. of Bacchus in almost every Roman Theater. The theater is still in use in the summer time. Concerts are held there without any amplifiers or modern sound equipment.
From Aspendos, we went to Manavgut Falls. The falls are not very high, but it is a large river and a great deal of water was passing over the falls in May. The grounds were lovely. Lots of shade, picnic tables, etc. It would be a wonderful spot to picnic at. There was a 1,000,000 TL entrance fee (about $.75).
Finally we went to Side (SEE DAY). It is the most commercialized spot we visited. You arrive at a parking lot surrounded by tent shops. There are a lot of food, drink, clothes, linens, etc. sold here. There was a tractor that pulled a wagon which would take you to a bigger shopping area just beyond the bulk of the ruins. Between the parking lot and the second shopping area is a huge theater, an Agora, etc. If you want to see the ruins of the temple of Apollo, you need to go through the second shopping area to the sea. This second shopping area is much larger than the first and was filled with leather, rug, etc. shops. Take the main street to the sea (approximately one third mile) and turn left. The temple of Apollo is in ruins, but there are a number of columns still standing and some beautiful frieze work. There is a plaque in both Turkish and English that will tell you the story of the temples (there was a twin temple to Diana as well).
We got back to Antalya at 6 PM. This is a wonderful trip. Our guide was very good and the sights were magnificent. I highly recommend this trip.
May 2, 2002. Today we traveled to Myra and Kokeva. Myra is the home of St. Nicolas and is famous as well for its rock tombs. Kokeva is an island that suffered an earthquake causing the city to sink into the sea.
The travel firm picked us up at 8:20 AM. Since the Sheraton lies to the west, we were the last ones picked up and got the worst seats on the bus. Our guide was named Derby and he was knowledgeable, but not as good-natured as Berhan had been. There were five people from the United States (one was of Peruvian origin, but he was married to an American woman and they lived in Wisconsin). One was an American teacher on a teacher swap and was living in Romania. The other two were we. We had four people from Belgium, two German’s (who spoke no English), and two from Switzerland. As we left Antalya, Derby told us some of the same background stories on Turkey.
The drive west toward Myra is beautiful. The scenery is similar to Colorado; rugged mountains, lot’s of evergreens, etc. It was a little more lush than Colorado, and since we were driving a coastal road, had the added beauty of the sea, bays, and islands off the coast. The round trip was 180 miles (300 km). We stopped at Phaelis Park for a break about one hour into the drive. From here we went on to Myra and to the tombs. There was a fee to enter of 5,000,000 Turkish Liras (about $3.60). Again we went through a number of tent type shops before getting there. Suddenly you are among massive fallen stones monuments (or pieces of them) looking at a mountainside with tombs carved into them. The tombs were carved into the shape of either a house or temple. On one you could see figures of two soldiers carved in the top of what appeared to be the gable of the roof. There was something very moving and magnificent about these tombs. All of the tombs had been vandalized. Often time there were treasures of sorts buried with the dead. Also, the religion of the Romans and Greeks had a tradition of placing a gold coin into the mouth of the deceased to pay the ferryman of the river Styx.
Beside the tomb there is a theater and the many stone blocks from the beginning of the excavation of the site. Our guide told us they would be excavating the Agora over the next few years.
The theater, though not as complete as the one at Aspendos is well worthwhile to visit. There were a number of examples of VIP chairs near the stage itself. Again the sculptures were magnificent.
We then went to the church of St. Nicolas. Evidently, Myra was controlled by Russia for a number of years in the nineteenth century because they had restored the roof. Myra and the church were abandoned in the 12th Century so this church was never converted to a Mosque. However over the years it was left to ruin. When the Russians controlled Myra, they renovated it. In the 11th Century a group of Italian merchants broke into the tomb of St. Nicolas and stole his bones (this was the age of religious relics).
St. Nicolas was born in 280 AD. He studied Christina theology. In 314 AD, Constantine issued the edict of Milan granting religious freedom to Christians. Nicolas became the bishop of Myra after this edict.
Some apocryphal stories about St. Nicolas follow.
How he became bishop of Myra. When the edict of Milan was issued, cities around the empire scrambled to name bishops. In Myra there was a dispute over who should be elected bishop. One night all the priests in Myra had the same dream. In it, an angel appear to them and told them the first person in the church whose name would be Nicolas was meant to be the bishop. The next morning all the priest discussed their dream and immediately went to the church. St. Nicolas came into the church. They asked his name and when he told them, they rejoiced in the miracle. St. Nicolas was declared bishop. He reigned as bishop of Myra until his death in 343.
Why we hand stocking by the fireplace. Nicolas was not only the bishop of Myra, but he was wealthy as well. One day he passed a poor man’s house. This man had three daughters, but he was so poor he had no money for a dowry for even one of them. Nicolas heard the daughters talking with each insisting that they would sell themselves into slavery so the others could marry. Nicolas was so moved that he took a bag of gold he was carrying and threw it through the window. The money was enough to dower the eldest daughter.
The next night, Nicolas again came by the poor man’s house and tossed another bag of gold through the window, enough for the second daughter’s dowry. ON the third night, when he came by he found the poor man had fixed the house up a bit and had installed glass in the window. St. Nicolas went up to the roof and tossed the third bag of gold down the chimney. The daughters had hung their stockings to dry by the chimney and the gold fell into the stockings.
After Myra we went to Kokeva. We drove to a small village. Like almost everywhere in turkey, there were a number of small shops in this tiny village. We then took a boat to isle of Kokeva. Kokeva was an ancient city destroyed by an earthquake that caused it to sink into the sea. It is touted as an underwater city, but you couldn’t see much of the underwater part. What you saw was the remnants of the houses and building on the island (normally one wall that didn’t sink. It was very interesting and the boat trip was very relaxing. After passing the island we went on to a coastline where you could go swimming. The water temperature was about 62 degrees F (17 degrees C) so only the most dedicated ventured in. After the swim there was RAKI for the brave souls who ventured in the water. When we got back to the village, there was a mad dash by the women in the tour to the shops. There were some great bargains acquired even without bargaining (there wasn’t time). We then headed back to Antalya. Another great trip and I recommend it.
May 3 and 4, 2002 We spent much of the time these two days around the pool and by the beach. The Sheraton has beautiful grounds and the pool area is spacious and comfortable. At the back of the pool area is a gate leading out to a city park. The park had a wide walking path and the people of Turkey seem to love to walk in the morning. We decided that running suits were the national costume because that is all you saw in the morning. The park is build along the cliff area overlooking a pebble beach and Antalya Bay. There are steps leading down from the path to this beach. Then along the beach you find many restaurants and another paved pathway with a lot of construction going on. There appears to be 50 or more shoos that will go into this area. Between the shops and beach is a large parking lot.
During these two days we went back to Cabanas and Alp Pasa. Both reconfirmed our first impressions. They are exceptionally friendly at Cabanas. The people running it greeted us like old friends. The food was again wonderful and the scenery (this time we were there in the evening watching the sunset) was fantastic. At Alp Pasa, they were out of tables unless we wanted to join a German couple. We did and had a fine time talking with them. The food was superb and again I will reiterate, this restaurant has charm.
We also went one evening to the restaurant at Marina Hotel (Mermeli Sok 15) in the old city (Kalelci). The Marina was the most elegant and most expensive restaurant we ate at. The food was out of this world. I got the duck with rice rather than a vegetable melody. It came with a wonderful sweet cherry sauce. Jackie had a chicken curry. We had two glasses of wince, salads and the bill was 32,000,000 Turkish Liras (about $23 before the tip). You obviously could inflate the bill (liquor tends to be pricey), but even the most expensive restaurants are very reasonable by U.S. standards. The restaurant at the Marina Hotel also had live music with a person playing the piano accompanied by a cello player (after 7 PM).
The old city is a fun place to explore. There are a lot of neat little restaurants that we didn’t get to try and many of them appeared to be charming with great views. Our last day we ate at a restaurant (Hisar, Cumhuriyet Meydani alt, PK216) that was full of nooks and crannies. It looked like a cave or dungeon in the building itself. It also had two small balconies overlooking the bay. We ate on one of the balconies. Two wines, two chicken shisks, one salad and the total cost with tip was $10.00. The food was tasty too.
May 5, 2002 On our final day in Antalya, we went to the Antalya Archeological Museum. The cost was 10,000,000 Turkish Lira per person ($7). This was twice the amount quoted in the books I read. I believe all the tourist sites and attractions were doubled in price at the beginning of April due to the high inflation in Turkey.
The museum was another “must see.” The ancient burial urns, the statuary from Perge (including that statue of Placia Magna) and the remains of the remains of St. Nicolas are all there.
There is a very nice snack bar area where you can sit and relax after or before touring the museum. I feel we saw more in the museum after the tour to Perge, etc. than we would have if we had done it the other way around.
Some final notes.
The Turkish people are very friendly and trustworthy. Because of the high rate of inflation ($1 equals 1,400,000 Turkish Lira) there are a lot of zeros on their bills. I was buying a couple of ice cream bars and tried to give the vendor exact change. It was 800,000 TL. I gave him 300,000 in coins and what I thought was a 500,000 bill. I actually gave him 5,000,000 TL bill. He caught my error and gave the money back to me.
Shopping. There are some great buys in Turkey. They are famous for rugs, leather, and gold. Jaclyn bought a beautiful sweade coat with a fur lining. The salesman’s name was “Jimmy” and the shop was ANTILOP at Cumhuriyet Caddesi No. 25. We didn’t go into every leather shop, but among those that we did, they had the best selection. I gave you “Jimmy’s” name not because he will get you a better deal (you need to do that yourself), but because he was personable and worked very hard to make us happy.
We didn’t buy a carpet (we had a weight limit on our luggage and knew a carpet would send us way over that limit).
While exploring Kalelci, we happened by a shop run by the artist who made the products. He carved figures in stone with Hittite figures found in ruins around his village in Capadoccia. The work was excellent and the price (w/o negotiation was reasonable). He quoted us $32 for a stone carving about 12” x 6” tall (it would have made a great souvenier). The store was Hattussas Hediyelik and his name was Arif Cejin. The address in Kalelci was Selcok Mahallesi Uzun Carsi Sokak. No. 27.
Antalya Airport. Going back home we arrived at the Antalya airport two hours before our flight. That was adequate time. Once in the concourse, we discovered it was very crowded and hot. Although you are in Turkey, you are in an airport and the prices of everything skyrockets. Jackie needed some bottled water. In Antalya, bottled water costs about 300,000 TL. At the airport, it cost 2,750,000 TL a nine-fold increase. The terminal itself didn’t have any air conditioning (at least it wasn’t on), but the shops did. We camped out in the Burger King and drank our water.
Booze. Booze tends to be expensive in Turkey (except Efes beer). If you drink a lot it will really up your bills (i.e. A small Mai Tai served in a martini glass cost $9).
Antalya Trolley. There is a trolley that runs from just across the street from the Museum and a short walk from the Sheraton to the old city. It cost 400,000 TL (less than $.30) It only runs twice an hour. It leaves from the Museum station on the hour and on the half hour. Going back it leaves the watch tower (on the edge of the Kalelci) at 12 after and 42 after. The trip takes about 12 minutes.
Parks. Antalya is loaded with parks and they are expanding and improving them. On Sunday we walked a park by the bay between the Museum and the Kalelci. It was filled with Turkish families cooking out, children playing, and people walking. There were many paths leading to out look points over the water.
Final evaluation. This was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken. We had a great place to stay, great food, perfect weather, and sights that were steeped in history, gorgeous or both.