Whenever we think of Hadrian’s Gate in Antalya, we always remember the kind traffic policeman who took pity on us the first time we ever drove to the city from Fethiye. All we knew was that our hotel was in Antalya old town.
After accidentally jumping far too many red lights to remember (we were driving in convoy and the city ring roads were wide, packed with traffic and stressful – no time for noticing lights), we could finally see the castle walls and we drove round – and round – and round – and round. The castle walls were constantly to our right but how the hell did we get inside, where we needed to be?
The situation was a cross between funny and frustrating but as levels of tetchiness began to rise after a few hours in a car that, at the moment, was getting absolutely nowhere, we spotted a traffic policeman on a motorbike by the side of the road. Right, time for our best Turkish and let’s see if we can follow the directions the policeman gives us.
Barry wound the window down (as the driver, I get out of these situations) and asked the policeman how to get through the castle walls in a car. The policeman’s reply: ‘Üç Kapı.’
Blank faces from us and the thought, ‘Why does the conversation never go well when we try to speak Turkish?’
The policeman tried again. ‘Üç Kapı. Anladınız mı?’ (Three doors. Did you understand?)
Yes, we understand the words you’re saying. We just don’t understand why you’re saying them to us.
Luckily, the policeman got fed up before we did, turned on the sirens on his bike and said, ‘Follow me!’
Don’t forget, we were in convoy. The policeman did a u-turn in the middle of a busy road and we (proper excited now) followed in hot pursuit while our friends, who had no idea what was going on, followed behind us. Blue sirens flashing, the bike then took a left up a one-way street – in the wrong direction! And we followed. And our friends followed. We were breaking rules but it was okay because we were following a policeman!
Eventually, we passed Hadrian’s Gate and the policeman gestured towards it from his bike. Ahhh. Now it all made sense. Hadrian’s Gate has three arches. Three doors. Three gates. Üç Kapı is the Turkish name for Hadrian’s Gate. (Little tip for you there, if you find yourself looking for road signs for Hadrian’s Gate.)
Where we went from there I can’t remember, but the entrance wasn’t very noticeable and it was a turnstile where you have to pay to get through. This was all sorted by our new mate, the policeman, who then took us to our hotel as well. This was 4 years ago and I can’t remember if we bid fond farewells to our superhero or if he just rode off alone, into the distance.
As you can see from the photos, passing through Hadrian’s Gate (Üç Kapı) is only possible on foot. Maybe the policeman was going to tell us the vehicle entrance was past Hadrian’s Gate but realised it was pointless when he saw the glazed-over look on our faces.
Hadrian’s Gate, Antalya – Further Info
Hadrian’s Gate was only revealed in the 1950s after an earthquake caused the Selçuk walls to collapse. The gate had been encased inside the walls.