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Antalya Museum



The Antalya Region has always been settled, ever since the Paleolithic Age untill today. Since there are names of this region mentioned in Homer's Illiad, it is obvious that there was an indigenous people called Pamphilio living in in this region around 1200 B.C. The region later was under the sovereignty of the Lydian Kingdom, the Persians and Alexander the Great. The western part of Pamphillia was acquired by the King Attalos II of Pergarnon in 2nd century B.C. and the king founded a city on the western coast of the Mediterranean Sea and gave his name to the city, “Attalia”, today’s Antalya. The city was subjected to the Roman Empire after death of Attalos III and to the Byzantine Empire beginning from the 4th century. As of the Seljuks' conquest of the city in 1207, the Turkish-Islamic period began and the region came under the sovereignty of the Ottoman State towards the end of the 14th century.


At the end of the First World War, during the time when Antalya was under the Italian military occupation, Italian archeologists started to remove the archeological treasures that had been found in the the center or the surroundings to the Italian Embassy, which they claimed to do in the name of civilization. To prevent these initiatives, Süleyman Fikri Bey, the Sultani teacher, applied to the Antalya post and jurisdiction of the provinial Governor in 1919 and had himself appointed as voluntary officer of antiquities and first tried to establish the Antalya Museum by collecting what remained in the center.
The museum at first operated in the Alâeddin Mosque in 1922, then in Yivli Mosque beginning from 1937, and then moved to its present building in 1972. It was closed to visitors for a wide range of modifications and restorations in 1982. It was reorganized according to a modern approach for a museum and opened to the public in April 1985, after the restorations and display arrangements made by the General Directorate of Ancient Objects and Museums.

The museum contains 13 display halls, a children's section and open galleries. The objects only belonging to the region are generally presented chronologically and according to their subjects.


In addition to the three display windows, in which the fossils of geological periods are presented, the chipped gravel, hand axes, diggers, bone tools found in the Karain Cave and stratigraphies from pre-Paleolithic period to Roman period are presented.

Karain is a cave located 27 km north west of Antalya and at the foot of Şam Mountain. Besides the remains which have been found in the 10,5 m thick soil fillings dating from the Paleolithic Period, there are also the tooth and skeleton remains of Neanderthal human beings that had lived in the Mesolithic Period.
Semayuk is the only center representing the Early Bronze Age, most of the artefacts were found in graves, including pots of various sizes, seals, brush handles, idols and especially gifts for the dead. Interesting is a grave made of a big earthenware jar. The most interesting side of this kind of burial is the placing of the corpse in the earthenware jar in the position of a baby in the womb of a mother.


The technical developments of ceramic art after the invention of the pottery wheel, vase forms, different embellishment styles, are presented dating from 12th B.C. to 3rd B.C. periods.

The two display windows in this section are for the interesting finds of make-up materials and accessories.


The gods in the salon are the main God Zeus surrounded by Aphrodite, Tykne, Athena, Nemesis, Itygieia, Hermes and Dioskurs and at the opposite side there are Serapis, Isis and his son Harpo, all of Egyptian origin. The statues are the Roman copies, dating 2nd century A.D., of their Greek originals and all of them were found during Perge excavations.


The selected artefacts of different cultural phases dating from 4 B.C. to 6 A.D. are presented in the display window. The vase presented to the Princess of Egypt, Benerike, the Athena engraved on silver plate, bronze Statues of Apollo and Hercules, the head of Attis, the marble Statue of Priapus representing fertility, the earthenware and marble statues are the hall's exhibits of outstanding value.
In the underwater display window, there are objects that were found in ancient sunken ships.


The most beautiful examples of portraits, representing the main character of Roman sculpture, are presented in this hall. All of the statues were found in the Perge excavations.

There are many statues of 2-3rd centuries, because the most magnificent period of the region's historical development was during this time.
There are portrait statues of the Emperor Trajan and Hadrian, of Septimius Severus, Sabina, Faustina, Julia Domina, Julia Soemias, Plankia Magna and there are also statues of Three Beauties and a belly dancer statue made of black and white marble.


The two walled tombs in the hall belong to Domitias Filickas and his family. On the cover, the wife and husband are shown in a lying position. The Erases on the corners symbolize the happiness of a family. The other important walled tomb, dates from 2 A.D., its subject is Hercules. One of the walled tombs is the most striking example of illegal trafficking of antique objects. A piece of the walled tombs, which was broken off and smuggled out, was brought from the USA and mounted in its place in 1983.

Appropriate to the original positions, grave steles sprinkled on the soil ground and ash pots are presented in the hall.


The most important of the mosaics in the museum is the Mosaic of Philosophers, which was found in the Seleukeia excavation and on the border of which the names of famous thinkers of antiquity, such as Solon. Tukyclides, Lykurgos, Herodotus, Demosthenes, Itesiodos and the names of orators, historians and mathematicians are inscribed. On another mosaic coming from Seleukia, Orpheus charming the wild animals with his flute is depicted.
There are also corners reserved for examples of local sculpture, chipping equipment and bronze sculpture techniques in this section.
The icons presented in this hall are collected from the region of Antalya, dating generally from 18th and 19th centuries.


The 2500 year long tradition of minting coins, dating from 6th century B.C., its technique and economy are presented in an educational order in the hall. In the presentation, state coins of the Pamphilia, Pisidio, Likia regions, and generally regional coins of the chronological order of Classic, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk ages and the Ottoman period are the main focus.
There are also gold and silver hoards in this section.


The ethnography section of our museum comprises of two big halls and a passage combining these halls.
In the first hall, chinaware, porcelains, religious artefacts, insignia, seals, charms, watches, ornamental objects, locks, keys and clothes are presented.
The chinaware is from Seljuk and Ottoman periods. The Seljuk chinaware was brought from Aspendos and there is also the Kubadabat style with objects crafted in the “Sıraltı” technique in the middle of 13th century.

The Ottoman chinaware in square panel forms presents examples of İznik artisanship from 15-16-17 and 18th centuries.
Five porcelain plates were produced at the Yıldız Factory, which operated for a short time till the end of 1920.
Religious artefacts are objects that can always be seen in all of the regions of Anatolia. But the Seljuk Qur'an, which we may claim to be a regional work of art has a special importance.

Signs, seals, charms and watches are presented in one of the display windows. The charms are spell binding prayers and these charms are used for different purposes.

The ornamental objects are the best examples of accessories still used in Antalya.

There are also keys and locks presented as quality artisanship.

Clothes, purple velvets embroidered with silver tread and Yörük (nomad) materials can be examined in two sections. Yörük clothes, socks, baggy trousers, long robes worn over baggy trousers, undershirts, purses, girdles and caps can all be examined.

In the section ensuring the passage to the 2nd hall there are inscription plates, such as hilyes, naats, icazets and katığs of our calligraphers.
The second hall is formed of four sections of carpets, Yörük materials, interiors and guns.
Besides the regional artefacts and materials in this hall, the carpets of Uşak, Gördes, Ladik, Mucur, Bergama, Kula and Avonos are presented. The oldest carpet in our carpet collection is an Uşak carpet of the 16th century.

The Döşemealtı carpet has an important place in the ethnographical objects of the region. Döşemealtı is the name of a place in the northeastern part of Antalya District. The “Halelli” carpets are the oldest and traditional examples of the carpets among Döşemealtı carpets. These works are of nomad character and small in size. The sacks, saddle boas, iğliks, prayer rugs, sills, cicims, sumaks which show the rug techniques of Antalya region are presented with black tents as Yörük artisanship.

A part of the hall is reserved for a living, sleeping and bath rooms of a modest Antalya home.
In a part of the display windows, arrows, bows, knives, guns and rifles with flint stones and swords, equipment of dervish lodges, powder flasks, powder scales, and oil cans and also guns and supporting materials are presented.

Besides this, the scales, goat hair spindles and counters such as Çulfalık, musical instruments and spoons can be emphasized as local tools and artefacts.
The pipe with cover, Yörük and zerk kemence (a string-bow instrument) and the flute made from an eagle’s wing bone are interesting artefacts.
Spoons from Bademli village of Cevizli of Akseki are presented from their design phase to their completed and organized forms.


A hall in the entrance of our museum was organized as a Children's Museum, which is the first of its kind in our country.
In the display windows of this section, there are various children's toys and antique moneyboxes.
Simple restorations, and educational activity oportunities for ceramic sculpture and drawing are provided and their works are presented in the studio section, in order to make the children enjoy museums, antique objects and to awaken their interest.