Turkey…where East meets West

Turkey...where East meets WestFlying into Turkey from Jordan I decided to bypass Istanbul and head straight for the Mediterranean coast.  Arriving in February I needed to go to the warmest part of the country and Antalya seemed to fill the bill.

Turkey...where East meets WestAntalya was not what I had expected. I had thought that I was getting out of the hustle and bustle of Istanbul and into “Old Turkey” and I found very little of the Turkey I had imagined.  Instead what I found was a city of close to a million people and a sea of high-rise buildings clinging to the coast. It was amazing to me to be in a city this large where the only housing was apartments/condos….there were no single family home to be seen.

Turkey...where east meets westI stayed in Kaleice (the old city) which was the only bit of Turkish Culture visible as I moved around the city. The area is bordered by the sea on two sides and the remains of stone walls that were part of the fortifications in Roman times on the others. The main entrance on the north side of the neighborhood is through Hadrian’s Gate, which was erected during Hadrian’s reign (AD 117 – 38), and leads into a collection of narrow cobblestone streets.

Turkey...where east meets westThe area, filled with restored Ottoman homes, is the center for small hotels, entertainment, restaurants and carpet stores.  At its core is the Kesik Minare (Broken Minaret) which is part of a ruined Roman temple dating from the 2nd century which was later converted to a Byzantine Church and finally a Mosque.

Turkey...where east meets westOn the bright sunny days of spring it was a delight to walk the neighborhood….exploring the small narrow streets filled with shops and winding up either at the park that runs along the cliffs overlooking the sea or strolling down to the old Roman Harbor for a glass of tea while watching the excursion boats sail in and out.

The city was too vanilla for me… not enough color after having spent months in more exotic locations! Not to say that it was not a good place to be… it is a city trying very hard to be inviting, up-to-date and livable. There are numerous parks, public squares, fountains, pedestrian friendly shopping areas, shopping malls and outdoor cafés. This is a culture where people relish being outside and throngs of people, young and old, fill the streets and cafes.

Turkey...where east meets west

Ataturk Monument

They also have a wide array of cultural events….on Fridays the symphony performs and on other nights it is either the opera or ballet in performance. In the high season they have a Ballet and Opera festival that is performed in Aspensos which is the best preserved Roman Theatre of the ancient world. There is also a Film Festival and a Piano Festival. This new little city tries very hard to offer up big city culture for very little cost…$10 to $15 per performance.

Turkey...where east meets westThe ancient city of Perge is located 15 km outside of Antalya and the Turkish government started excavation of the site in 1947…the discoveries of sculpture and sarcophagi dating from the 2nd century have filled the Antalya Museum with some exceptional works. This museum is world class and the displays are beautifully done. It is one of the highlight of a trip to the region.

Turkey...where east meets westOne of my favorite things to do in Antalya is walk the coast. The oldest part of the city sits on cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean with spectacular views both of the sea and the high-rises hugging the coast. Further along the land falls to sea level and there are wide beaches to walk as well.  They have done a great job of building walk ways and parks along the whole of the city coastline. These public parks are designed to be used by people of every age…there are slides and swings for children, exercise equipment for the retires to stay in shape and picnic table for family meals.

Turkey...where east meets westAs I travel the world I am always asking myself could I live here, is it affordable and could I build community here among the expats. …Antalya would be a yes to all those questions but for me it lacks something.  It has a feel of a Florida resort ….much like Miami Beach.  I think it is a wonderful place for a visit but not where I want to live.

Oh well, back to the quest for the perfect place to live on a shoestring.

About Larry Bosco

In 2010 I had one of those “Is this all there is” moments and so in January 2011 I retired from Real Estate Appraising, sold off all my worldly goods and headed out as a solo traveler in search of a new place to live. Since then I’ve traveled around the world, made new friends and had many great adventures and some not so great. After staying almost a year in Cuenca, Ecuador I have headed back to South East Asia where I began the journey in 2011. Currently I am living in Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2 Responses to Turkey…where East meets West

  1. Turkey is next on my bucket list (after May and June in Aix-en-Provence this year) so I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can from your posts. Thanks for sharing.

  2. It sounds very close to what you are looking for. The coast line walk reminds me of our walk in Guyaquill along the waterway. The museum looked very modern, loved the shiny floors reflecting the sculpture.

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