Founded by, and named for, a king of Pergamum named Attalus, Attaleia (Antalya) became a Roman city upon the death of the last Pergamene king. A prosperous port, Attaleia was surrounded by thick defensive stone walls pierced by several gates that could be closed and sealed in case of attack from pirates or invaders.
The grandest of these monuments, and the only one surviving, is Hadrian's Gate (Hadrian Kapısı), a monumental triple-arched portal on Atatürk Caddesi (map), modeled on the Roman triumphal arch.
Today, Hadrian's Gate connects modern Antalya with its ancient past. The beautiful gate provides a stunning contrast between contemporary city life and the historic ambiance of Kaleiçi (Antalya’s old town). The gate's enduring presence serves as a testament to the architectural prowess and rich history of the Roman Area in this beautiful coastal city.
Activities Near Hadrian's Gate
Hadrian's Gate is in the heart of Antalya, a city rich in history and culture. You can stroll around the ancient structure, admiring its impressive architecture and detailed carvings. Also remember to take plenty of photos to immortalize your visit, and discover the history behind this magnificent monument.
Since it is near to Kaleiçi it is an ideal starting spot for exploring the nearby old town and other interesting landmarks in the old city itself. Enjoy walking through narrow streets, visiting historic sites, and trying delicious Turkish cuisine in local restaurants.
Location of Hadrian's Gate
Hadrian's Gate is an ancient landmark in Antalya, a mesmerizing city south of Turkey.. This area shows remnants of an ancient city and today it is famous for its narrow streets, historic houses, city walls, and charming atmosphere.
Transportation to Hadrian's Gate
Hadrian's Gate is easy to find. It is close to the main street, Atatürk Caddesi, which has many shops and restaurants. The gate is a short walk from the city center, and you have several options to use to go to Hadrian's Gate. The gate is located near the old town of Kaleiçi, which is within walking distance from Antalya's city center.
If you prefer public transportation, you can take the Nostalji Tramvay (Nostalgic Tramway) from Kalekapısı, a central point in the city. This tram will take you to many fascinating places in Antalya, including Hadrian's Gate. Buses are also an available option, making it easy to reach. You can check our public transportation guide for more information.
Nearby Places to Visit
Hadrian's Gate is close to many interesting spots in Antalya.
- Kaleiçi: Just a short walk away, explore the old town filled with ancient ruins, a charming marina, lively nightlife, and many boutique hotels.
- Clock Tower: Historic Clock Tower (Saat Kulesi) in Kaleiçi is a symbol of Antalya's rich history.
- Shopping centers: It is possible to visit nearby malls like MarkAntalya and Mall of Antalya if you are in the spirit of shopping.
- Antalya Museum: Discover the region's history and artifacts at this fascinating museum.
- Suna & İnan Kıraç Museum: Best place to experience traditional Ottoman architecture and culture.
- Yivli Minare Mosque: Admire the stunning architecture of this historic mosque.
- Atatürk's House Museum: Explore the house where Turkey's founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, stayed during his visits to Antalya.
- Karaalioglu Park: Relax in this beautiful park offering scenic views of the Mediterranean Sea.
- Hıdırlık Tower: Visit the historic tower of Antalya and enjoy panoramic views of the city and the sea.
History of Hadrian’s Gate
Hadrian's Gate was constructed in 130 AD to commemorate the Roman Emperor Hadrian's visit to the city. Note the coffered ceiling in the arches, and the decorative marble columns between the arches on both sides. At one time, statues of Emperor Hadrian and his family probably decorated the top of the gate, but these are long gone.
Note also the deep grooves in the stone pavement beneath the central arch, carved by the wheels of thousands of carts passing in and out of the city over the centuries. The grooves are so deep—and treacherous to pedestrians—that a transparent walkway has been built beneath the arch so visitors don't sprain an ankle walking through.
The massive, crenelated stone towers framing the gate date from different periods. The southern tower, on the left, as you view the gate from the boulevard, is Roman, with a carved stone plaque set in it as proof. The north tower(right) was rebuilt in Seljuk Turkish times by Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat I (1219-1238), as attested by a plaque set in it. The inscription is in old Turkish, written in the Arabic script.
The pleasant, shady park on the east (boulevard) side of the gate is a favorite sitting and chatting spot for city residents. An itinerant çaycı (Turkish tea waiter) circulates regularly bringing the nation's favorite beverage to anyone who needs its calming and invigorating properties.
Hadrian's Gate stands as a timeless monument that connects modern Antalya with its ancient past. This impressive architectural marvel is not only a testament to the city's rich Roman history, but also serves as a gateway to the charming old town of Kaleiçi. Hadrian's Gate offers a unique experience that blends the ancient and modern worlds, inviting travelers to immerse themselves in the vibrant culture and history of Antalya.
- by Tom Brosnahan, updated by Can Turan