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Antalya Travel Guide, Turkey

Antalya is such a popular travel destination that its midsize population stretches to over 2,000,000 during the tourist season. It is perched on a rugged cliff, named Falez, over the Mediterranean Gulf of Antalya on the Mediterranean coast. The altitude is about 30 meters above sea level. The city is ringed by the Taurus Mountains, and was claimed, in ancient times, to be the most beautiful place in the then known world.  

Developers have capitalized on this natural beauty and remade the city into an international resort, complete with a modern marina, and a plethora of accommodations to fit every taste and budget. The infrastructure, meaning roads and sewers, are struggling a bit to meet the demands imposed by tourism, but, all in all, the city runs smoothly and efficiently.

Antalya is semi tropical, quite hot in summer,  with palm-lined boulevards that lead to Kaleiçi, the old town which is filled with historical sites that evidence the influence of the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman cultures that shaped its past. It is a great mix of several antiquities coexisting with modern recreational opportunities.

The city of Antalya is composed of several sections that represent and house the multicultural and multi-religioned population; Christian, Muslim, Greek Orthodox, Jews and nondenominational ex-pats comprise a tolerant citizenry.

Kaleiçi is an historic neighborhood with narrow cobbled streets and ancient Turkish and Greek houses, many of which have been turned into souvenir and gift shops and a generous sprinkling of  bars. Most of the hotels are large and modern and situated on the coast overshadowing the popular Konyaalti and Lara beaches.

Most of the city is surrounded by an ancient wall, and apricot orchards. The famed apricots are a variety known as the Qamar ad-Din, which has a sweet almond for a pit. A main export of Antalya is the luscious dried fruit that is produced here, including apricots and  citrus. There is also a thriving cut flower export industry, commerce and agriculture, but tourism, Turkish and International, is the mainstay of the local economy.  

The summer nights are steamy, too hot and humid to sleep, so rest is replaced by a vibrant night life.  Tourists and locals alike parade through the streets on foot or drive about on scooters and stop at the many cafes and pubs for libation and conversation. Most bars are also discos and formal belly-dancing shows are on tap at many of the hotels lounges.  But most of the locals just stroll to the Kaleiçi seaside to enjoy a quiet drink coupled with the sea breeze.

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