If asked, most of the tourists that visit Side would point out to the temple of Apollo as the best-recognized symbol of the city. Splendidly situated, on the tip of the peninsula where the ancient settlement had developed, this temple attracts crowds, especially at the sunset when it looks its best. However, this is not the only temple that existed in Side, and, as the matter of fact you can still see the remains of not one, but five temples here, not to mention the ruined early Christian basilica.
In the heart of Köprülü Canyon National Park (tr. Köprülü Kanyon Milli Parkı) the ruins of ancient Selge stand among the modern buildings of a small village known as Altınkaya. Not many tourists get there as the majority of them are more interested in rafting on the Köprüçay river than visiting the ancient settlements. However, in the last few years Altınkaya has been attracting more and more attention of the foreigners who are walking along the Saint Paul Trail - a long-distance trekking route from Perge to Yalvaç (the ancient Antioch of Pisidia).
The ruins of the ancient city of Syedra are located near the most popular Turkish holiday resort of Alanya. They are an excellent proof of a fact that a lot of interesting ruins remain to be discovered in Turkey, even so close to the place where millions of tourists spend their holidays every year.
A visit to the Archaeological Museum in Alanya may be a very pleasant surprise. Who would expect such an interesting and well prepared museum in the center of Turkey's chief vacation resort? There are many neglected and dusty museums in Turkey, to mention the venue in Kayseri and Ürgüp in Cappadocia as examples only. However the Archaeological Museum in Alanya is worth the highest praise as its exhibitions actually encourage the holidaymakers to undertake a more in-depth exploration of Alanya area and to learn more about its history. If you have an hour or two during your holidays in Alanya make sure you spent this time visiting this museum and you will certainly not regret a single minute.
Today, on March 18, 2015, is the centenary of the naval battle of the Dardanelles, fought during the First World War. From the outbreak of this war the Allied forces were planning to cross this narrow strait that connects the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara, an important section of the sea route from the Mediterranean to Istanbul. Their main goal was to capture this city which was, at that time, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The naval operations of the fleet, which consisted mainly of ships from the Royal Navy, were led by Rear Admiral John de Robeck.
Hıdırlık Tower (tr. Hıdırlık Kulesi) is one of these historical buildings, such as the Hadrian's Gate, the Fluted Minaret and the Clock Tower, which have become the symbols inextricably associated with Antalya. However, it is not really the tower itself that attracts many visitors, but the beautiful views of Antalya bay which looks especially stunning from this vantage point.
Karain Cave (tr. Karain Mağarası) is one of those places of great historical importance requires from the travelers a lot of perseverance to get to. Moreover, extensive knowledge about prehistory and vivid imagination are necessary in order to fully appreciate the experience. This cave, located near Antalya, was inhabited by the ancestors of the modern man continuously for at least 25,000 years and is the largest of Turkish caves where the traces of prehistoric human activities have been found.
Red Tower (tr. Kızıl Kule) is an important monument of Seljuk architecture in Alanya that is often used as a symbol of this city. This structure, beautifully situated next to the harbor, is both a distinctive landmark and the popular photo stop for many strolling holidaymakers. The building looks especially spectacular from the deck of a cruise ship or from the castle hill towering above it. On the other hand a small ethnographic exhibition inside may prove to be very disappointing. However, Red Tower is worth a visit if only for the vast panorama of Alanya and the Mediterranean Sea that extends from its top floor.
A visit to the ruins of the ancient city of Termessos is an unforgettable experience, completely different from visiting ancient cities located along the Mediterranean coast. First of all, to get to Termessos, you need to travel to the altitude of 1000 meters, deep into the Taurus mountain range. The difficulties of this journey are quickly compensated by the vista seen from the ancient theater which is considered to be most ideally situated of all the ancient buildings of its kind in Turkey. Secondly, this Eagle's Nest, as Termessos was called by Alexander the Great, lies in the National Park where the remains of ancient buildings are nestled among pine forest and a number of rare plant species grow undisturbed by mass tourism. Finally, Termessos is shrouded in legends and has been the object of fascination and studies conducted by many travelers and scholars, most notable of them being Karol Lanckoroński - a Polish researcher of Pamphylia who traveled throughout this region in the end of the 19th century. The uniqueness of this place has not gone unnoticed by international organizations - Güllük Mountain National Park and the ruins of Termessos are among the candidates for the UNESCO World Heritage List.
This ancient theater, located in the narrowest point of the peninsula where the ruins of ancient Side are scattered, is the greatest of the preserved historical buildings of this magnificent city. A few years ago the theatre was closed to the public due to an extensive renovation, but now it is again open for visitors. If you happen to be in Side, make sure you will not miss it, as it is one of the finest Roman theatres in Turkey.