Sunday, July 26, 2009

History of the Antalya City


According to tradition, in the 2nd century BC, the Pergamum king Attalos II ordered his men to find "heaven on earth". After an extensive search, they discovered the region of Antalya. King Attalos rebuilt the city, giving it the name "Attaleia" (Greek: Αττάλεια) which later became Adalia and then Antalya.

Attalos II
It is not known when the site of the current city was first inhabited. Attalos II, king of Pergamon, was believed to have founded the city around 150 BC, naming it Attalia and selecting it as a naval base for his powerful fleet. However, excavations in 2008 in the Doğu Garajı district of Antalya have uncovered remains dating to the 3rd century BC, suggesting that the city was founded earlier than previously supposed. Antalya became part of the Roman Republic in 133 BC when King Attalos III of Pergamum willed his kingdom to Rome at his death. The city grew and prospered during the Ancient Roman period.

Antalya was a major city in the Byzantine Empire. It was the capital of the Byzantine Theme of Carabisiani (Θέμα Kαραβησιάνων, Thema Karavēsianōn), which occupied the southern coasts of Asia Minor and the Aegean Islands. At the time of the accession of John II Comnenus (1118) it was an isolated outpost against the Turks, accessible only by sea. The following year, with the aid of his commander-in-chief John Axuch, John II drove the Turks from the land routes to Antalya and reconnected the city with the rest of the empire.

Perge
The city, along with the surrounding region, was conquered by the Seljuk Turks in the early 13th century. Antalya was the capital of the Turkish beylik of Teke (1321-1423) until its conquest by the Ottomans. The Arabic traveler Ibn Battuta who came to the city in between 1335-1340 noted:
From Alanya I went to Antaliya [Adalia], a most beautiful city. It covers an immense area, and though of vast bulk is one of the most attractive towns to be seen anywhere, besides being exceedingly populous and well laid out. Each section of the inhabitants lives in a separate quarter. The Christian merchants live in a quarter of the town known as the Mina [the Port], and are surrounded by a wall, the gates of which are shut upon them from without at night and during the Friday service. The Greeks, who were its former inhabitants, live by themselves in another quarter, the Jews in another, and the king and his court and Mamluks in another, each of these quarters being walled off likewise. The rest of the Muslims live in the main city. Round the whole town and all the quarters mentioned there is another great wall. The town contains orchards and produces fine fruits, including an admirable kind of apricot, called by them Qamar ad-Din, which has a sweet almond in its kernel. This fruit is dried and exported to Egypt, where it is regarded as a great luxury.
Kekova

In the second half of the 17th century Evliya Çelebi wrote of a city of narrow streets containing 3,000 houses in twenty Turkish and four Greek neighborhoods. The town had grown beyond the city walls and the port was reported to hold up to 200 boats.

Apollon Temple
In the 18th century, in common with most of Anatolia, its sovereign was a "dere bey" (land lord or landowner). The family of Tekke Oglu, domiciled near Perge, though reduced to submission in 1812 by Mahmud II, continued to be a rival power to the Ottoman governor till within the present generation, surviving by many years the fall of the other great beys of Anatolia. The records of the Levant (Turkey) Company, which maintained an agency in Antalya till 1825, documented the local dere beys.

Yivli Minaret
In the 19th century the population of Antalya increased as Turks from the Caucasus and the Balkans moved into Anatolia. By 1911 it was a city of about 25,000 people, including many Christians and Jews, still living in separate quarters around the walled mina or port. The port was served by coast steamers of local companies. Antalya (then Adalia) was picturesque, but ill-built and backward. The chief attraction for visitors was the city wall, and outside a promenade -a portion of which survives to the present. The government offices and the houses of the higher classes were all outside of the walls.

The city was briefly occupied by the Italians from the end of the First World War until the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923.

References:
Norwhich, John Julius. Byzantium: The Decline and Fall. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996) p. 68.
 

Halsall, Paul (1998-09-05). "Medieval Sourcebook". http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbook.html. Retrieved on 2008-08-25. "The lemon is still called Addaliya in Egypt.

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