Sightseeing in Turkey: The tower of Hidirlik in Antalya

Hıdırlık Tower.

Khydirlik Tower

Hıdırlık Tower (Tur. Hidirlik Kulesi) is one of the most interesting monuments of the past in Antalya. It is located on the edge of historical Kaleici quarter. It borders with the Karaalioglu Park, the largest in the city, and its summit offers a beautiful view of the shore of the Antalya Bay. Hıdırlık is visited by around 300.000 tourists a year.

History

One of the oldest historical sites in Antalya is shrouded in mystery.

It is known that most of the Hıdırlık Tower dates back to the Roman period. It dates back to the II century A.D. However, the square base, from which the cylindrical body of the structure grows, was created in more ancient times.

The architectural style of the tower does not resemble the light and airy buildings typical of Antalya. It is built of hewn massive blocks of stone and large reddish bricks. The entrance leads from the east side of the tower. A narrow staircase leads up from a small hall to the upper floor. Ancient manuscripts and documents record that the tower once had a peaked dome, but it collapsed long before modern times, perhaps under Byzantine domination.

Khydirlik Tower

Theories about the origin

The scientists are still puzzling over the question of why Khydirlik Tower was built. One theory has it that it acted as a beacon – a guiding star for ships on their way to the harbor. The tower is perfectly visible from the sea and seems to be a good landmark. The thickness of the fortification walls, the location on the top of the cliff and the appearance of the tower, reminiscent of an observation tower, indicate that the main purpose of the mysterious structure could also be defense. In ancient times, full of conflicts and strife, it would have served the city as an excellent defense against raids of neighbors and sea attacks.

However, both versions have a weak link – a giant square-shaped stone, hidden inside the main hall of the tower. Its approximate weight is several tons. Focusing on this enigmatic block, a number of historians have suggested that Khydyrlyk was a tomb for the family of an important Roman official. This opinion is confirmed by the fact that the architectural solution of the tower is similar to Roman basilicas, tombs and mausoleums. There is also a version that the building was used for religious purposes. On its walls are preserved old frescoes, and in the upper part there are traces of restoration work carried out during the Seljuk Turks. Unfortunately, it is impossible to see them: the entrance to this room is closed to tourists. There may be a grain of truth in all the assumptions. During its almost 2000-year old existence Khydirlik Tower could perform a number of useful functions.

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Khydirlik Tower

Khydyrlyk Tower today

Nowadays Khydirlik Tower has become a popular tourist attraction. It is considered to be one of the landmarks of the resort and a place where the atmosphere of old Turkey is still alive. The ancient fortress is beloved by connoisseurs of both ancient architecture and traditional Oriental flavor.

At the top there is an observation deck with an excellent panoramic view of the sea and old Antalya.

Here the Turkish flag proudly flies. You can leisurely walk along the fortress walls and take pictures of the surroundings from different angles. On one side is the blue sea, on the other side is the historical buildings of Antalya. Be careful: the stairs leading to the second floor are quite steep and narrow. You should not run up the steps, it is better to stay close to the wall.

There is a small theater inside Khydyrlyk that specializes in historical sketches. At night, the structure is beautifully illuminated by evening illumination. Entrance to the tower is free.

If you travel around the world, collecting the most picturesque sunsets to your memory box, make a rest at the foot of the tower. The sunsets from the tower are the best in Antalya.

Hıdırlık Tower in Kaleici Antalya (video)

Sightseeing nearby

If you want to continue learning about the past of the popular Turkish resort of Antalya, take a walk through the narrow maze of streets of the old city quarter of Kaleici. You can find a unique rug in the traditional bazaar. Have a cup of Turkish tea from a small tulip-shaped cup (here it’s called a “bardak”). Look through the windows of old houses or pet one of the cats napping in the shade. Don’t forget to stop by Antalya’s oldest monument of Islamic culture – the grooved minaret of Yivli, built in 1230, and of course, repeat the path of the Queen of Sheba, who passed under the arches of the triumphal arch – Hadrian’s Gate. They say that wishes made here are sure to come true. If the history of Antalya seems incomplete, take a couple of hours to visit the Archaeological Museum. It contains ancient coins and weapons, burial vessels for ashes, and stone inscribed in Ancient Phoenician.

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Tired of hiking, why not stop in the green Karaalioglu City Park or enjoy some coffee and Turkish cuisine at one of the many restaurants on the Kaleici promenade.

Khydirlik Tower

How to get to the Hıdırlık Tower

Hıdırlık Tower stands next to Karaalioglu Park on the Kaleici promenade. It is located at Hıdırlık Kulesi, Kılınçarslan Mh., 07100 Muratpaşa, Antalya. You can get here by going in the direction of the historic Kaleici district. If you are coming from the airport or bus station, take buses number 600 and 600a, get off at “Sarampol Caddesi” and walk one block to Kaleici. If you are already in the historical center, go down Hesapçi sokak street towards the sea. It takes about 10 minutes. On the promenade, at the very end of the street, you will see a tower.

A Fragment of the Past – Hıdırlık Tower

One of the most mysterious and remarkable buildings in Antalya is located on the waterfront Kaleici, on the edge of the historical quarter, on the shore of Antalya Bay.

On the southeast side of the bay is one of the main attractions of Antalya – Hidirlik Tower (Hidirlik Kulesi).

Read more about this amazing building in the article below.

History

Construction of the tower goes back to the beginning of II century AD, when Rome reigned in these parts. Until now, historians and archaeologists do not give a clear answer about the purpose of the tower. There are several different versions.

Construction history

Some believe that the tower was a lighthouse, which guided the ships entering the bay. The tower is clearly visible from the sea and could really serve as an excellent landmark.

Others are of the opinion that it is a defensive structure – so they believe because of the thickness of the fortress walls and the very appearance of the tower. It served as a fortress, a bastion to protect the city from attacks from the sea, because in those days raids on neighboring cities and states were not uncommon.

There is also an opinion, formed in recent years, that the tower is a kind of tomb or burial vault. This is the architecture of the tower used by the Romans in the construction of tombs and mausoleums (the form of a Roman basilica). Allegedly it is the tomb of a major official of Rome and his entire family.

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The historians were prompted to this idea by a large square block, located inside the hall and shaped like a square. Judging by the eye, the block could weigh several tons.

One can only wonder at the skill and tenacity of the ancient builders who erected it. But this version has not been confirmed by excavations – not a single burial has been found.

The Khydyrlyk might also have had religious significance. There are many frescoes on the walls inside the tower. Today the top serves as an observation deck for hundreds of tourists coming to Antalya.

Description

Hıdırlık is located at the crossroads of Hıdırlık and Khesapci streets in the historic Kaleici district, in the southern part of the bay. Next to the tower is the Karaalioglu Recreation Park.

It is somewhat different in style and appearance from the neat and airy architecture of Antalya, but at the same time is a striking feature and a monument of ancient architecture. It is built of large bricks and large stone blocks of reddish-brown color.

The height of the structure is 14 meters (according to other data the height is 13.5 meters). The tower of cylindrical form stands on a square base. The time when this foundation was built dates back much earlier than the tower itself. A number of ancient manuscripts and documentary sources state that a pointed dome formerly crowned the top – but this dome has not survived to this day. Perhaps it was deliberately destroyed during the Byzantine period.

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In the upper part you can see traces of restoration work dating back to Seljuk times. The entrance is situated on the eastern side. A massive rectangular door leads to a small hall. Once inside, from this hall you can climb the stairs to the top, where the flag of the Republic of Turkey is flying, walk along the fortress walls.

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There is a small theater within the walls where you can see staged scenes on historical themes. The fortress walls are lit up in the evening and you can imagine what a view the sailors who sailed into the Antalya Bay in the ancient times had.

Near Hıdırlık there is a small park with well-groomed trees and bushes and lanes. Some tourists come here to take great pictures against the background of the tower and the sea.

Nearby on the promenade Kaleici there are many cafes, restaurants and bars with open areas. Here you can spend your time with a cup of aromatic coffee, enjoy the views of the Antalya Bay and taste the delicious national dishes (Imam Bayaldi, Gubadia, Achma).

Gallery

Here are some pictures of the famous Hıdırlık Tower:

View from the top at sunset Full view of the tower Path to the tower Nooks and crannies nearby Road that leads to the site

Location

Hıdırlık is located at: Kılınçarslan Mh. 07100 Antalya, Turkey. Phone: +90 (242) 241-83-60

To get to Hıdırlık you need to head towards the historic district of the city, Kaleici. You can get here by:

Location

  • By bus from the bus station or airport (buses No. 600 and 600a), go to the stop “Sarampol Caddesi” and walk a block in the direction of Kaleici. The fare is 1.7 Turkish Liras (the national currency of Turkey).
  • When you are in Kaleici district go along Hesapçi Sokak street and walk down the street towards the sea (the path takes about 10 minutes). The tower is at the end of the street on the promenade.
  • Take a bus or streetcar to Karaalioglu Park.
  • By dolmush (local variety of shuttle buses). The fare is 1-1.5 Turkish liras.
  • By cab. You can bargain with the cab driver and substantially reduce the price in the process of travel.

Important to know

  1. When visiting this building be careful on the stairs that lead to the second floor. The stairs are rather narrow with steep steps, and in order to avoid trouble while climbing up it is better to stay close to the wall and take your time.
  2. After visiting the fortress Hidirlik you can relax in one of the restaurants and cafes, of which there are many on the promenade Kaleici.
  3. When taking a cab you should remember that at night time double fare is charged (from 24.00 to 6.00 am).
  4. Photographs of Turks, especially women, can only be taken with their permission. Women in black cloaks may not be photographed.
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Sightseeing Tours

Every year about 320 thousand tourists visit Hıdırlık. The visit is included in the sightseeing tour of Antalya.

Tour guides will take you to the top, which offers a wonderful view of the bay, tell you about the history of this attraction. To go on an organized tour with a travel company, you can contact any of these firms – their addresses and phone numbers are usually listed in the booklet about the sights or on maps of the city.

You can find out about the tours and travel agencies on a free hotline in Antalya – “179” (there are also Russian-speaking operators).

Here are some of the travel agencies whose services you can use, as well as contact information:

  • BOGEMA TRAVEL. Address: Çağlayan Mah. Barınaklar Bulv. Gökdağ Apt. No:131 D:7 Antalya / TURKEY. Phone: +90 (242) 323-60-01.
  • Milagro Events Travel Agency. Address: Turkey, Antalya. Phone: +90 (242) 311-14-45.
  • Travel agency Daily Tours Antalya. Address: Fener mah. Bulent Ecevit, Bulvarı. Alikara apt. No:66. Daire 3. Antalya / Türkiye. Phone: +90 (533) 410-65-88.
  • Priority Travel Service Travel Agency. Address: Bayindir Mah.322 Sok Postacilar Apt. No:39/16 Antalya/Turkey. Tel: +90 (554) 606-25-68
  • Quelle Vip Travel tour operator. Address: Kircami Mah Goller cad Mustafa Kaya is merkz 2/9 Antalya. Phone: +90 (242) 311-14-51.

You can also visit this place by yourself just walking around the city: you can look at famous shopping malls (Migros, Terra City, Mark Antalya), have a little rest at the famous Lara Beach, see the Düden waterfalls and then go to Hıdırlık. If you visit the tower on your own, you will have much more time to look around the whole building, taking your time and taking beautiful photos from the top platform.

There is a spyglass on the observation deck where you can see the city as if in the palm of your hand. It costs 1 Turkish Lira.

Hıdırlık Tower with its centuries-old history can be easily called the face of Antalya, the place which tourists must visit in order to feel the spirit of old Turkey. Fans of ancient architecture and national Oriental flavor can enjoy a truly breathtaking sight, as well as views of the historical part of the city from the top of the fortress walls.

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