Until recently, Antalya was Turkey's fastest growing city (it has been usurped by Istanbul; apparently the world's fastest growing city) and the multitude of high rise apartment blocks on the outskirts of the city are evidence of this speedy growth. However, in the centre of Antalya, it's a different story and new development and restoration of historic buildings seems to be carefully controlled. For us, central Antalya feels more like a town than a large city.
However, there is one area in the centre where it is very easy to lose yourself; Kaleiçi. Antalya's old quarter isn't huge but it is big enough to wander around, realising you've come full circle while thinking you were heading straight on.
The streets of Kaleiçi, Atalya's old townIt's only recently that restoration in Kaleiçi has taken place and much has changed since we were there 4 years ago - not that we ever got our bearings 4 years ago either. It's not a problem, getting lost round here. It's actually really pleasant strolling along cobbled streets of restored Ottoman houses. Some are private homes while others have been converted into boutique hotels with central courtyards, smaller pensions and hostels, bars, restaurants and shops.
Restoration is ongoing in Kaleiçi. While we were there, one building - possibly declared unsafe - was being carefully demolished and the odd street was cordoned off as extensive restoration took place in other buildings.
A yet to be restored building in Kaleiçi, AntalyaAs you can see in this photo, not all the buildings have been restored yet. It's an ongoing process.
Restored buildings in Kaleiçi, Antalya. The buildings on the right are an art gallery.When the buildings have been restored to their former glory, whatever their modern-day purpose, we think they look fabulous, but then we've always had a soft spot for wandering around an old town.
Favourite Kaleiçi pastime: find yourself a cafe or bar (we usually opt for the latter) where you can see out onto the street. While sipping your chosen beverage, indulge in a spot of people watching and see how many people stop with confused looks on their faces. This is usually followed by the people pointing in opposite directions and sometimes, even a little bit of tetchy discussion about which route to take.
Watching all this isn't being cruel. It's merely comforting yourself with the fact that there isn't only you who can't master the mazey streets of Antalya's Kaleiçi.
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