“YAŞAYAN ANTİK ŞEHİR”
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“LIVING ANCIENT TOWN”

Culture

Antalya Kaleiçi which has been inhabited continuously from the 4th century B.C. until the end of 19th century by different cultures developed a settlement pattern in which there were constructed buildings particular to each culture and predecessor cultures and developed during the course of this process. Kaleiçi that became urbanized under the name of Attaleia by the 2nd century B.C. when it was a small coastal settlement preserved fortification walls renovated during the Roman Period by some extensions, continuing over time additions and repairs until the beginning of the 20th century. An important part of public and civil buildings such as agoras, temple, theatre, parliament building (bouleiterion), and residences dating from antiquity disappeared in part in antiquity and partly during the Byzantine Period, from human-induced and natural causes such as repairs in different periods, renovations, demolitions and destructions and vacancy, as well as over time, earthquakes, fires and wars. A big change should not be expected in the pattern of habitation in the city during the Byzantine Period when especially religious constructions were built to conform to its own cultural requirements. Although the arrival of Islam began with the Seljuks, what was changed was mainly the northern half of the city and the survival of some Pagan and Christian constructions in the south of the city was not affected. In any case it is improbable that many buildings from each period and each dominant culture from antiquity onwards would survive in their form to reach today, within an area bounded by fortification walls as well as different cultural conceptions and unconsidered human actions and natural reasons. However, it can be clearly observed that Kaleiçi is one of those rare settlements that preserved traces of each culture that it has hosted, from the century when settlement was first established up to the present, in comparison with other cities (for instance Kaş, Milas and Bodrum) that were likewise continuously inhabited Kaleici. Although some cultural losses from past periods appears a big loss for a still living city, in fact, to find traces of each culture to have inhabited Kaleiçi is also a great richness.

In this city that experienced a similar cultural and social life during the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman Periods, many elements of architecture belonged to other constructions can be seen, as well as the fortification walls, Hadrian’s Gate, the Hıdırlık Tower and remains of the agora in the Kesik Minaret Area. Christianity dominated the city by the 4th century A.D. eradicated some elements of the former cultural pattern, mainly religious constructions that pre-dated Christianity as was the case all over the Early Christian world; however it also preserved some monuments mentioned above, such as Hadrian’s Gate and the Hıdırlık Tower, as well as ancient theatre remains in Kaleiçi by reuse and had an important role in transferring them down to the present day. The Christian architectural remains in the city unfortunately, generally date from the 19th century except for the Yivli Minaret Mosque and the church in the Kesik Minaret Area. The area inhabited by the Greek (Rum) population in the south of the settlement during the Seljuk Period and the Muslim Seljuks mostly in the north of the city provided for the construction of the Yivli Minaret Külliye (Complex) and maintenance of the main function of the church in Kesik Minaret Area continued until the end of the Ottoman Period. Although the conversion of the Kesik Minaret Mosque and the Yivli Minaret Mosque from Christianity constituted a different perspective for that period, in fact it is a big chance today in terms of the transmission of cultural heritage. Because, although modifications and additions during the process of conversion into mosques partially changed these buildings, it is possible to identify structural features of the Byzantine Period from the surviving details today. After Seljuk rule over the city began at the start of the 13th c., many religious, social and cultural buildings, such as a mosque, a small mosque, zawiya, madrasas - schools, teacher’s lodge, soup-kitchen, inns, bath, tombs and fountains were built, primarily in the Seljuk Period, but also in the Beylik and Ottoman Periods, but the passage of time, fires, negligence and natural events partially caused the plan of the city from these periods to be lost. The holocaust of fire that swept through at the end of 19th century greatly affected many residential buildings and churches, mainly Kesik Minaret Mosque in the south half of Kaleiçi. A large hospital building on Mermerli Terrace and some mansions destroyed during the fire in 1928. The greatest damage that was human-induced occurred with the demolition of most of the fortifications in a process that started at the end of 19th century and continued until the 1940s. Also modern urbanization starting in the second half of the 20th century has been a period when Kaleiçi rapidly lost its historical character. Despite this, Kaleiçi largely protected itself from multi-storey ferroconcrete construction rising in other localities of Antalya and traditional pattern reflecting especially the civil architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as some social constructions have survived to today protecting their originality. After the area had been declared an Urban and IIIrd Degree Archaeological Area in 1973 (Kentselve III.DereceArkeolojik Sit Alanı), 473 examples of civil architectural building, 72 monumental construction, 56 registered wells, 93 gardens that should be protected and 25 trees were registered and a conscious raising and legal protection process was started.

The unconscious disappearance of cultural values for human-induced reasons in the 20th century can be seen mostly especially beyond Kaleiçi. Many constructions dating from Late Ottoman-Early Republic Period that are around Kale Kapısı (Castle Gate) and Cumhuriyet Square on Atatürk Street that played an important part in the social, cultural and political history of the city were unfortunately either stripped of their character or were completely demolished. Of these, the Old Antalya Government Office built in 1884 and destroyed in the middle of the 1970’s, other small mosques, inns, shops and the old post office known around Kale Kapısı (Castle Gate) can be added to the list of losses as well as many old residences and entertainment spaces.