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Antalya Museum – Our Favourite Museum In Turkey?

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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 Museum
It’s an unimposing entrance to Antalya Archaeological 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.

Antalya Museum Statues
Stroll along the Hall of Statues

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 Termessos – a site close to Antalya centre and a site 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
The Perge Room is most impressive


The Perge room at Antalya Museum is really impressive and gives you a clear picture of what the grandeur of the city must have been.

Statue after statue, most of them intact – this was obviously a place of some significance.

Here’s what we made of our visit to Perge, Antalya.

And Perge has made the news again relatively 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

And then there’s the room of Lycian sarcophagi.

Beautifully intact, ornate Lycian sarcophagi.

Lycian Sarcophagi
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 so many 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 View
A spectacular view along Konyaaltı Beach, opposite Antalya Museum

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 (see map above).
  • 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 45 TL (2020).
  • 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.

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Wednesday 7th of May 2014

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.

Turkey's For Life

Thursday 8th of May 2014

Yeah Antalya is very easy to fly to and Fethiye is very easy to get to From Antalya so make sure you visit us if you do come again Sophie. :)

Backto Bodrum

Tuesday 6th of May 2014

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

Turkey's For Life

Wednesday 7th of May 2014

Ha ha, it's a revelation when you get inside. Such a pleasant surprise. :)

Ozlem's Turkish Table

Tuesday 6th of May 2014

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

Turkey's For Life

Wednesday 7th of May 2014

Yeah, definitely go to Antalya Museum next time you are there Özlem. :)

Jack Scott

Tuesday 6th of May 2014

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!

Turkey's For Life

Wednesday 7th of May 2014

Why yes, of course, Fethiye Museum has its own treasures Jack. :) There are plans to make the museum bigger - let's see. It deserves to be.

Jane Purchase

Monday 5th of May 2014

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

Turkey's For Life

Tuesday 6th of May 2014

We'll definitely make the effort to get to Perge next time we're in Antalya. Thanks Jane. :)

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