Antiquity in Antalya: Ruins of Cities, Theaters, and Memorials

Here is our collection of exceptional monuments from the past throughout the province of Antalya.  

Visit the birthplace of Bishop Nicholas of Myra, the true historic person behind the stories of Santa Claus, discover lost cities in the Taurus Mountains, and spectacular Roman theaters, which once held thousands of visitors. 

History in Antalya

Ancient Ruins, Monuments, and Temples

Recommended Tours

Visit stunning ancient ruins with trusted tour providers throughout the province of Antalya.

Medieval Times

Castles, Hans, and Mosques

Custom Adventures in Antalya

If you are searching for something special, feel free to contact us. We are glad to arrange a private travel guide with a driver for you. 

Archeological Museums

Throughout Antalya

Famous Places from Antiquity in Antalya

Letoon, once the religious center of Lycia, is like many ancient cities in the Lycian civilization, located between Kaş and Fethiye. Traveling through dense pine forests leads you to Lyrbe near Manavgat, and Olympos got its name from a mountain with the same name.

Perge was once one of the richest cities in the ancient world and Phaselis has remains from the Roman and Byzantine periods. Patara is famous for its beach in addition to the ruins. Xanthos is an ancient city near Kaş. From there you can also get to Simena, now called Kaleköy, which can only be reached by boat.

The ruins of Syedra are located on a hilltop near Alanya, above whose skyline the medieval castle dominates. The old town of Side is just as worth seeing as that of Antalya. Only 17 kilometers to the northwest is the ancient city of Termessos, surrounded by pine forests in Güllük-Termessos National Park.

Patara is the birthplace of Bishop Nicholas of Myra. Today he is best known as the historic person behind the stories of Santa Claus, Holy Nicholas, and Father Frost. Today you can visit his sarcophagus at St. Nicholas Church in Demre, close to the ruins of Myra

Decide for yourself what interests you the most…

Early History of Antalya

40,000 Years Ago

Timeline of the Most Important Empires in Antalya



The first empire in the region of Antalya is famous for battling the Egyptian Pharaoh, Rameses the Great, at Kadesh. They founded cities like Perge. 


Lycian League

The Lycians ruled the western part of Antalya, which is today known as Lycian Coast. They are known as one of the first democratic structured states and founded cities like Patara, Myra, and Xanthos.


Persian Empire

The Persians conquered the Antalya region from the Lycian Empire. Today there are no famous remains from the Persian rule in the region.



Settlers from Greece founded cities like, Phaselis. The city is famous for accommodating Alexander the Great during the winter on his way to conquer Persia. Alexander's reign in Antalya was followed by Ptolomaic Kingdom, and the Seleucid Empire. The city of Antalya was founded by King Attalos II of Pergamon, one of the successor kingdoms of Alexander the Great's Empire.


Roman Empire

Pompeus, the enemy of Julius Ceasar during the Roman Civil War, conquered cities like Alanya for the Roman Empire. The city was a famous pirate harbor, named Korakesion, back then. The following centuries where the heyday of ancient cities in Antalya. Monuments like the huge theaters, temples, and aqueducts where built during the reign of the Romans. The most famous person from ancient Antalya was born during this time, Nicholas of Myra



Ruins of cathedrals, churches, and monasteries date bake to the once glorious empire. 


Seljuks Empire

The Seljuk Empire was a Turkish tribe that conquered most parts of Anatolia from the Byzantine Empire and Crusader States. The Seljuk Sultan, Alaeddin Keykubat, made Alanya his winter residence. He also commissioned the expansion of the fortress of Alanya, the Red Tower at the harbor, and the Seljuk shipyard.


Ottoman Empire

Beginning in 1426, the province of Antalya was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. The trading routes changed back then. The silk road didn't lead through the province anymore. The times were peaceful but simple. Only at the end of the 20th century with rising tourism did Antalya experienced a new heyday. 

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