The Wonders of Antalya
By Saadia Sharif
With a gorgeous sunny climate and intricate market mazes, Turkey has become a popular destination for travellers seeking a relaxing yet culturally rich retreat. The city of Antalya is located in the south and offers the perfect culmination of history, gastronomy, and tranquillity.
Antalya holds a deep history which is reflected in its Roman ruins and Greek theatres. The ancient city of Perge first underwent excavations in 1946 and is still being explored to this day, with 1800-year-old mosaics having been discovered just a few months ago. Opened to the public in 2013, the Roman city features the ruins of ancient baths, fountains and an agora.
The Aspendos amphitheatre is also not to be missed. Located 29 miles east of Antalya, the amphitheatre is one of the world’s best preserved pieces of ancient architecture and combines Greek seat designs with Roman archways to create an incredible entertainment arena. Visitors are able to walk up the original stone steps to stand between the arches and marvel at the spectacular view of the stadium below. The theatre, which is still used for performances today, can seat up to 20,000 people.
In addition to this, Antalya holds the magnificent Düden Waterfalls – a group of gorgeous waterfalls that drop directly into the Mediterranean Sea. Kursunlu Waterfalls is the most concealed of the collection but perhaps the most enchanting, with the waterfall cascading down a cliff face into a dazzling cobalt pool below. While Kursunlu is serene and peaceful, the Manavgat Waterfall is visually impressive – a wider, shorter drop but much more powerful. Manavgat also has several observation decks from which to view the falls as well.
Turkey is renowned for its traditional cuisine, with one of its most well-known dishes being the Turkish kebab. The Adana kebab is made using either a mixture of beef and lamb or just beef, and its flavoursome taste comes primarily from the Turkish spices that are kneaded into the meat before being skewered and grilled. For those with a sweeter tooth, the pastry baklava may be more preferable - a saccharine dessert made up of layered filo pastry held together with honey and filled with nuts.
Antalya doesn’t just boast an extraordinary history, but also a stunning collection of wildlife. Antalya Aquarium is home to some of the most fascinating underwater species from around the globe as well as the world’s biggest tunnel aquarium. The tunnel stretches an impressive 131 metres long and 3 metres wide to give the remarkable feeling of walking along the seabed amongst the fish. The vast tanks provide an unrivalled view of captivating creatures, including sharks, koi fish and octopuses. You may even be lucky enough to get a cheeky smile from a stingray!
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