Kaleiçi (Old Antalya), Turkey

Last Updated on January 9, 2023

Also known as Old Antalya, the small historic section called Kaleiçi (KAH-leh-ee-chee) at the center of the sprawling modern city (map) was the Roman town, then the Byzantine, then the Seljuk Turkish, and finally the Ottoman Turkish town.

The huge, modern city of Antalya didn't really start to appear until after World War II. Until then, Kaleiçi was Antalya, with its massive stone walls, meandering streets, and picturesque old houses built so close they often overshadow the narrow lanes.

Kaleiçi is where I always stay when I visit Antalya. Its many charming small boutique hotels, inns and budget pensions offer comfortable, even luxurious accommodations and fine dining in an old-time atmosphere. I much prefer them to the large beach hotels that populate Konyaaltı and Lara beaches.

Kaleiçi surrounded and protected the old Roman harbor, which was Antalya's reason for being: even in Romantimes, this was the outlet for the produce of the rich alluvial plainthat stretches east from the city beneath the southern slopes of the Taurus Mountains.

Today Kaleiçi is a protected district, with preservation of historic buildings required, and strict regulations on any new building. You will see some fairly ugly modern buildings in Kaleiçi, but they are being eliminated as the possibilities arise.

There are several entrances to Kaleiçi, but the most convenient is Kalekapısı, and the most picturesque and historic is Hadrian's Gate (map).

—by Tom Brosnahan

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Americans Chris and Angela Vannoy founded Sojourn and live full-time in Turkey, operating custom-designed tours that highlight the best of local culture and cuisine for years. They work side-by-side with their exceptional Turkish guides and a professional staff daily to provide the highest standards of customer service while creating your dream tour of Turkey. More...

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