Antalya Museum – Our Favourite Museum In Turkey?

What makes Antalya Museum a memorable museum? Well, for us, it’s not just the collections they have in the building. We’ve been to Istanbul Archaeological Museum in the past – one of the finest collections in the world, we’re told – and we’ll be honest and tell you we got bored eventually. That’s a place we need to visit in stages, otherwise it’s a case of stone-head-fatigue.

A good museum needs context, the displays need to be shown in a way to keep the visitor interested; the information needs to be there – not too little; we want to know what we’re looking at and why it’s significant; but also don’t bombard us with thesis after thesis. We can read up on those bits another time if we’re that interested.

Fethiye Museum, everyone agrees, is worth a bit of your time while you’re in the area. Well, there’s context. The finds are local, including statues from Telmessos Theatre and, more recently, statues from Tlos. Everyone thought the statues would be whisked away to Antalya or Istanbul – but Fethiye Museum was the happy recipient of those.

Antalya Museum

But back to Antalya Museum – think Fethiye Museum on a much larger scale. Antalya Archaeological Museum is one of the largest in Turkey but it’s far from boring.

Antalya Archaeological Museum, Turkey

Entrance to Antalya Museum

Not that you’d think so if you saw it from the outside for the first time. It looks a bit like a school and it doesn’t look so big. However, don’t let that put you off. Take yourself through the doors and go in to see for yourself; because it’s like going into another world. It’s amazing what clever presentation layout and lighting can do to within the walls of a boring concrete building.

Hall of statues - Antalya Museum, Turkey

Hall of Statues – Antalya Museum

And, as for context, well we’ve lived around these parts for over ten years now and have visited a lot of the sites the artifacts have come from – most of the finds in Antalya Museum are local. We’re yet to make it to Perge and Termessos – two sites close to Antalya centre and two sites whose finds are well represented in the museum – but there are also separate sections for displays of finds from Xanthos, Letoon and Patara, three places we know quite well.

Perge Room, Antalya Museum, Turkey

The Perge Room – Antalya Museum

Perge

While Perge has been on our list of we-really-ought-to-get-there places for some time, it’s been pushed considerably higher up the list since we saw the Perge room at Antalya Museum. Statue after statue, most of them intact – this was obviously a place of some significance. 2016 update: We finally made it to those ruins. Here’s what we made of Perge, Antalya.

And Perge has made the news again recently, making it once again significant in the 21st century. Currently, Turkey is on a mission to reclaim its artefacts from museums elsewhere in the world. Antalya Museum is now proudly displaying the whole statue of Herakles under the banner ‘Herakles Yurda Döndü – Heracles Comes Home.’

The top half of Herakles was in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in Massachusetts and then archaeologists found his bottom half at the Perge site. The two halves are now reunited and on display on a separate stage – with lights so bright, my photo of Herakles is really not worthy of appearing on this blog. Just know Antalya Müzesi is proud to have Herakles back.

Lycian Sarcophagi - Antalya Museum

Lycian Sarcophagi – Antalya Museum

Lycian Sarcophagi

And then there’s the room of Lycian sarcophagi. Beautifully intact, ornate Lycian sarcophagi. Highly polished granite and spotlights mean the sarcophagi reflect across the floors. We’ve seen Lycian tombs galore since coming to live in Fethiye – they’re dotted about all over the place – and it’s a case of, well, don’t they all look the same? No, they don’t. Go to Antalya Museum and you’ll see the best examples housed here. Just amazing detail.

We took loads of photos inside the museum – photography is permitted as long as you don’t use a flash – but you can go along and see for yourself. There are also displays from Antalya in Ottoman times, carpets, wooden ceiling details and yörük (nomadic) scenes. One of the most important museums in Turkey, Antalya Museum is definitely a must see when you’re in the city.

Konyaaltı Beach, Antalya, Turkey

Konyaaltı Beach on a stormy day

And, when you leave the museum – well what a bonus! Antalya Museum is in the Konyaaltı area of the city. Come out of the exit gates, cross the road and look to your right…and here’s your view. Konyaaltı Beach backed by Antalya’s distinctive mountain range. You could even go down there, if you’re a beach person…

Antalya Museum – Useful Information

  • Antalya Museum is on Konyaaltı Caddesi – the main road that runs along the seafront.
  • Antalya Museum is an easy – and very scenic – walk from the clock tower at the top of Kaleiçi or you can get the old tram – the last stop is opposite the museum.
  • Entrance to Antalya Museum is free if you have a Müzekart, otherwise it’s 20 TL (2014).
  • The museum is open every day April to October. It closes on Mondays in winter months.
  • Allow 2-3 hours for looking around the museum.
  • You can see Antalya Museum centred here on our map of Turkey.
  • Why not book a little holiday in Antalya now?

Don't miss a thing! Subscribe NOW for FREE updates straight to your inbox...

* indicates required

Comments

  1. Just love Antalya Museum…..and Perge is a real must. So very interesting and so much to see.

  2. The Antalya Museum really is worth a good look around. Fethiye’s small museum is also worth a visit if only to see a stele discovered in Letoon and dating from 358 BC. The stele helped decipher the Lycian language as it is inscribed in Lycian, Greek and Aramaic. It did for Lycian what the Rosetta Stone did for Eqyptian!

  3. Looks amazing! Never been there and now in my list- thanks!:)

  4. It certainly didn’t look like this last time I was there. Time to revisit

  5. Can’t believe we missed this when we were in Antalya. I remember that whole area as so very interesting. That’s about 10 years ago, so time for another visit, I think. Luckily, it’s an easy city to fly to.

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.