Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Old town Keleici and the Antalya Museum

{ November 2009 - Antalya, Turkey }

After spending a day travelling out of Antalya to Myra and around the Mediterranean coast the day before, we had a free day to roam around the beautiful harbour city of Keleici and the surroundings. After a scrumptious breakfast at the hotel, we set off for a walk around the old town.



Keleici was a Roman-Ottoman quarter that has been carefully preserved. From our hotel right in the middle of Keleici, we walked to the old Roman harbour, which was an important harbour during the 2nd century BC. It was now a harbour with yachts, tourists boats and fishermen boats. It was a small and beautiful harbour, and I could imagine how busy it must have been all those years ago.



 

We then explored the old town, passing by many old houses that has since been converted into shops selling all sorts of souvenirs and carpets for tourists.


Kesik Minare, which means cut minaret, was a navigating point in Keleici for us. The minaret was part of a Roman temple, which was eventually converted to a church. On the northern part of Keleici was the Hadrian's Gate. It was built in the honour of the Roman Emperor Hadrian when he visited the city in AD 130.

We expected to spend the whole day exploring Keleici, but soon realized that it was much smaller than we expected. After walking around Antalya for a short while, we decided to visit the Antalya Museum, and boy, it should have been part of our plan! It was definitely a worthwhile experience and I highly recommend it to everyone. It started off being quite boring with tiny trinkets from the stone and iron ages.


But, my oh my, stepping into the halls with statues was breathtaking. The motion detector lightings provided shadows and lightings that made the atmosphere a little bit more mysterious. There were many statues of Greek gods and goddess that were in amazing conditions. The details and the size of some of the statues were simply breathtaking. Most of the statues were found during excavation of Perge.

Speaking of Greek mythology, I still could not get my head around it. Are all the stories just myth and legends, or are there some truth in them? If Homer’s Iliad are just fictions, then why are we now saying that Troy and the Trojan War are real?






After the museum, we walked back to Keleici and took a Turkish bath at a hamam. It was definitely an interesting experience. We were brought into a room with marble slab in the middle and was asked to lie down. The marble was hot! Before long, we were both sweating. And just when I thought I couldn’t take it much longer, we were brought to separate rooms to be scrubbed and washed. The Turkish lady scrubbed me down while I lie in another marble slab in another room. She then washed me with water, washed my hair, and then dry and wrapped me up. After a short break sipping tea and eating fruits, we were given an oil massaged. It was definitely a refreshing shower and massage, getting us all ready for the long bus journey to Cappadocia that evening.

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