Antalya is home to the very first peoples to shape Anatolian culture. King Attalos of Pergamon, founder of Attalaia, taken by its rich, fertile soil and naturally sheltered harbour dubbed Antalya “Paradise on earth”
During the Stone Age the inhabitants of Anatolia lived in four realms of the ancient world; Klikia and Pamfilya in the East and Pisidya and Likya in the West. In the area where local people used to live during the Stone Age, there are still many caves dating back to that time which are of great importance today, one of which is the Karain Cave.
In the year 546BC the province of Antalya fell to the Persians. At this time the whole of Anatolia was under the reign of the Kingdom of Kyros. This chronology is based on a tax system that was in force up until the arrival of Alexander the Great. This famous Macedonian king came to Pamphilia via Lycia and conquered all the cities in the area, bar Silion and Termessos. The Hellenistic Age left its mark in Antalya as it did all across Anatolia in the form of an intermingling of cultures. In 43 A.D. the Roman Emperor Claudius declared Lycia a province of Rome. Thirty one years later the Emperor Vespasian extended its boundaries to encompass Pamphilia and the area to the east of Lycia and established the province of Lycia-Pamphilia. The governor general of the area resided in the Lycian capital, Patara. In the 3rd century A.D. the cities in the region of Antalya thrived. It was a golden age for Side, Selge, Aspendos, Silion, Perge and Termessos in the East and Phaselis, Oliympos, Arykanda, Limra, Myra, Kyaneai, Apollonia, Phellos, Patara and Xanthos in the West. When the Roman Empire began to fail, its effects were felt here too. The Byzantiun Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire and the Emperor Constantine accepted Christianity. We know that the glittering years of the ancient world were over and that decline had set in during this time. During the Middle Ages the inhabitants of these ancient cities could no longer withstand the Arab onslaught and their plunderings, and so started to abandon their homes. The bishop of Myra, or Father Christmas as he is better known, lived and died in the region. He is like the last gift of the age to the people of the area.
In 1207 A.D., under the leadership of Giyaseddin Keyhusrev, the area fell to the Selchuks. Thereafter Antalya and Alanya especially became prize Turkish cities of the time.
In the 14th century the world-famous traveller Ibn-u Batuta wrote, “Antalya is one of the world’s brightest cities” in his book. With its rich mosaic of different cultures and natural beauty the area is a touristic paradise. The Antalya of today has a medley of tastes and flavours to offer the visitor, tastes that have developed through time to the present day and through a fusion of cultures. A richness the visitor can now savour and enjoy.