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Antalya Travel Guide

Antalya History

Antalya’s history dates back to the first century BC, when the Pergamum king Attalos II was looking for the most beautiful piece of land on earth, and sent to his men to find it. After a long search, they discovered the region where Antalya is now and said "This must be 'Heaven' ", The King Attalos founded the city there and named "Attaleia", which later became Adalia and then Antalya.

There are evidences of human habitation in Antalya region dating back over 200 000 years, remains of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze ages were discovered in an exploration carried out in the Carain caves at 30 km north of Antalya city. This shows that the area has been inhabited by ancient civilizations.

During the Hittite times the area of Antalya was part of its Kingdom. Centuries later, the Hittites were defeated by the tribes which came from Trakya during the 8th and 7th centuries B.C. and the city states of Pamphylia, Lycia and Cicilia were founded. At the present Antalya covers almost all of these regions.

From 7th century to 560 B.C., the region of Antalya was under the reign of Lycian Kigdom, after the Persians occupied the region until they were defeated by Alexander the great in around 334 B.C. After the death of Alexander in 323 BC, a long battle erupted between his commanders that lasted until 188 B.C. At this time the Seleucid King Antiochus 3rd was conquered by the King of Bergama and signed the Apamea peace treaty. With the defeat of the Seleucid army began the reign of the kingdon of Pergamom. In 150 BC Attalos II, king of Pergamom, founded the city of Attalia and rebuilt the city.

Then the Romans occupied the region, and with the division of the Rome Empire years later, Antalya was part of the Byzantine sovereignty, in this period (between the 2nd and 3rd A.D.) Antalya lived its most prosperous period. During the last times of the Byzantine Empire Antalya changed of hands for six times with the constant attacks of foreign forces. In 1206 Antalya fell to Seljuk Sultan Gyaseddin Keyhusrev I. Upon his death the Christians again took possession of it, but his son Keykavus succeeded in winning it back in a short time.

Following to Seljuks, Antalya fell under the Ottoman Empire until the First World War. After the First World War, Antalya was occupied on 29 April 1919 by the Italian army and liberated of the occupation on 5 July 1921.

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