Should you want to find everything about ancient Turkey or just learn a few things about Turkish customs and traditions but don’t have too much time at your disposal, in that case, a visit to the Antalya National Museum of Archeology, one of the world’s most outstanding museums that houses some of the oldest collections of ancient art, would be a good alternative for you to consider. You can spend an entire day drifting along the halls of the museum, taking time and enjoying the hundreds of artifacts exhibited and still not feel exhausted or bored of wanting to know more.
Located in the western suburbs of Antalya, no more than 2 km away from the city center and flanked by some five star hotels at the top of the road that leads to Konyaalti beach, the museum dates back as early as 1919, when it was formerly accommodated by the Yivli Minare Mosque only to be later moved to its current location.
The Museum features as many as thirteen fascinating exhibit halls or sections, the collections and artifacts of which were unearthed in the neighboring areas and have been displayed both chronologically and thematically ever since 1985.
The Modern Museum of Archeology boasts a children's hall where all sorts of ancient artifacts appealing to children are exhibited, which makes it be the only one of its kind in Turkey. The Museum assists one in their journey throughout some of the greatest stages in Pamphylia's past starting from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age, until Hellenistic and Roman times.
THE NATURAL HISTORY AND PREHISTORY HALL exhibits relics of different geological ages from hand axes, diggers or bone tools dating back from the Paleolithic and discovered in the Karain Cave, to the tooth and skeleton remains of Mesolithic Neanderthals, or to the many other artifacts such as pots, idols or gifts for the dead, which were found in graves. The excavations carried out in the prehistoric cities neighboring Antalya have repeatedly brought to light well-preserved relics and fossils which are brought here and exhibited to tell the story of the times past.
THE HALL OF GODS is actually a garden meant as an open gallery and home to the 2nd century A.D. statues and excavations of divinities, Roman copies of their Greek originals many of which were unearthed during the Perge excavations. Come and take a sit at the round table of gods...
THE HALL OF EMPERORS is a genuine gallery of impressive Roman effigies dating back to the second and third centuries, when the historical development of the region seems to have been thriving. The busts of the Emperor Trajan and Hadrian, the sculpture of a belly dancer carved in black and white marble or the statues of Sabina, Faustina and the Three Beauties are just a few of the exhibits displayed in this section.
THE HALLS OF MOSAICS AND ICONS features two mosaics, one of which displays the Seleukeia Mosaic of Philosophers inscribed with the famous names of antiquity thinkers such as Solon, Herodotus or Demosthenes, as well as orators, historians and mathematicians. The other mosaic tells of Orpheus and his magic flute charming wild animals.
THE HALL OF COINS sums up as many as 2500 years of tradition in minting coins the technique of which speaks about the trade and industry of the times they were issued in. Several very well-preserved coin hoards such as the Hoard of Probus, the Aspendos Hoard (silver), the Byzantine gold hoard unearthed at Finike in 1959 or the Side Hoard (silver) are put on display here. The coin collections are arranged in keeping both with the geographical region they were found in - Pamphilia, Pisidio and Likia and/or with the historical age when they were struck - Classic, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman.
Intended as a Children's Museum, the CHILDREN'S SECTION is to be found in the entrance hall of the museum where different children's toys or antique moneyboxes and objects are exhibited to arouse their interest. Various educational activities that imply restoring, drawing or sculpting are featured so that children produce their own works and display them in the studio section.
The collection of artifacts discovered on the bottom of the sea by marine archaeologists, the glorious chain of sarcophagi, the Roman sculptures and the Greek coins, the mosaic floors or any other artifact exhibited in the archaeology section are evidence that the museum contains very rich collections of objects telling one about the past and history of Turkey, while the ethnographic section tells one mainly of the Ottoman era, as well as of people’s customs and traditions. Turkish fabrics and garments, religious artifacts, which can still be seen throughout the whole region of Anatolia, charms and ornamental objects mainly used as accessories, tools and pottery, weapons and jewelry, or porcelains and musical instruments, all are exhibited in the ethnographic section, ready to tell its own story.