Antalya's Hıdırlık Kulesi is a landmark tower of tawny stone where Kaleiçi (Old Antalya) meets Karaalioğlu Parkı(map).
The 14-meter-high tower, set in a small park, overlooks the falez (cliffs) of Antalya, and the Roman (Yacht) Harbor. Its foundations are said to date from the 1st or 2nd century AD/CE.
Its purpose is something of a mystery. The common belief is that it was built as a tomb for a great leader. Bits of fresco within encourage this conjecture. To the left and right of the portal are 12 axe-like motifs cut into the stone (six on each side), which indicate the importance of the person entombed.
But its situation is perfect to serve as a lighthouse or signal tower or lookout for ships in Antalya's ever-important harbor, and apparently the Romans used it for that purpose. It may also have been a church for a time.
Its purpose today is to stand there, where it has for two millennia, and look picturesque, anchoring the western extremity of Karaalioğlu Park, and providing a goal for strollers and fine views—especially at sunset—over the Gulf of Antalya.
This is a fine place to stop for a drink, a snack or a meal.
A number of Kaleiçi's small pensions and boutique hotels/inns are just a few steps from the Hıdırlık Kulesialong the southern end of Hesapçı Sokak (map).
—by Tom Brosnahan