The modern province of Antalya includes dozens and dozens of important ancient Hellenic, Hellenistic and Roman cities and towns, and other prime archeological sites, and the best artifacts from most of them have been brought here to form the museum’s outstanding collection.
The museums treasure of artifacts ranges from the Old Stone Age through the Chalcolithic, Classical (ancient Greece and Rome), Byzantine, Seljuk Turkish, and Ottoman—in short, the full length of Anatolia‘s incredibly long history.
The exhibits are formal and fine: well displayed in a formal way, and well lit. Pottery is a particular strength for pre-Classic times.
The Roman period is especially rich in statuary and sarcophagi, of which the museum has world-class collections. If you love Roman sculpture, you must spend time at the museum.
The finest of all is the marble Heracles. The lower half of the statue was discovered by Turkish archeologists at Pergein 1980. The upper half was later found to be in the collection of Boston‘s Museum of Fine Arts. When the Turks proved that the upper half belonged to the lower, the Boston museum returned (2011) the upper half to its rightful place in Turkey.
The Ottoman collectionincludes many everyday items, weapons, apparel, and even a life-sized diorama of a nomadic family, with their dark tent, carpet loom, and familiar implements.
The museum is open daily except Monday from 08:00 am to 17:00 (5 pm). Admission costs TL20.
Rumor has it that the present museum may be replaced by a brand new building in future.
After your visit to the museum, it’s an easy stroll downhill along the Varyant (serpentine road) to Konyaaltı Beach.
The street outside the museum is the terminus for Bus LC07, which also follows the tram line to Cumhuriyet Meydanı, near Kalekapısı.
—by Tom Brosnahan