edit

Introduction

Antakya is the capital of Hatay province in Mediterranean Turkey. This city in the very south of Turkey was an important centre of early Christianity, with some of the first non-hidden churches. Today it takes pride in being a truly multicultural place, where you can hear prayers in many different tongues. Many sects of Christianity (Greek Orthodoxy, Syriac Christianity, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism to name a few) and Islam (Sunni and Alawi), as well as Judaism, are all represented with their dedicated temples in Antakya.

Ethnically, Arabs constitute almost half of the population whereas the other half is constituted by Turks. Arabs in the city speak Levantine (Shami) dialect of Arabic, which is also prevalent in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.

The city is located several kilometers inland from the sea, but the Asi River (also known as the Orontes River) flows through the city centre.

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

  • Hatay Archaeological Museum (Hatay Arkeoloji Müzesi), Cumhuriyet Mh. Gündüz Cd. 1. Tu-Su 09:00-18:30 (summer), 08:00-16:30 (winter). Also known as the Mosaics Museum (Mozaik Müzesi), the local archaeological museum has the second largest collection of classical/Roman mosaics in the world. The museum also features a good coin collection, artifacts from the Iron and Bronze Ages found in sites nearby and a very impressive sarcophagus with great reliefs. You can check many items from the collection through the official website of the museum. 8 TL.
  • Church of St Peter (Saint Pierre Kilisesi) (The church is about a 30 minute walk from the museum. To reach the church you need to go across from the museum, through the bazaar and at the end (when you exit the bazaar) make a left and go on for about over a kilometer — the church will be visible up on the hillside.). 09:00-19:00 (summer), 08:00-17:00 (winter). One of the oldest churches of Christianity, Church of St. Peter, is a must-see in Antakya. 10 TL.
  • Büyük Antakya Parkı. This is the park that is located just in the midst of the city, by the River Asi and behind the famous mosaic museum of the city. Many locals visit the park during the day, and especially early in the morning to do sports. There are many open air tea houses within the park, hence it's the address to go for a tea or coffee or hookah when the weather is nice.
  • Titus Tunnel (Titüs Tüneli), Çevlik, Samandağı (in the village of Çevlik, 7 kilometres north of the town of Samandağı, 31 km southwest of Antakya). 09:00-19:00 (summer), 08:00-17:00 (winter). The Titus Tunnel is a Roman engineering marvel. During the reign of Emperor Vespasian (69-79 AD), the Roman governors of Seleucia Pieria (Samandag), the port city for Antioch ad Orontes (Antakya), decided to divert a river. They put Roman legionnaires, sailors and prisoners to work cutting a channel along and through the rock for about 1.4 km (nearly a mile). Continued under Emperor Titus (79-81), inscriptions tell us it was completed during the reigns of the Antonine emperors decades later. Today the channel is dry, but still worth a visit. A small parking area and entrance is just inland from the beach at Samandag. A path ascends along the channel, open to the sky, up and down steps and rocks, to where an arched limestone footbridge crosses. Above the footbridge, the channel continues into the solid rock. You'll need a powerful flashlight/torch to continue. 5 TL.

Top

edit

Getting There

By Plane

Hatay Airport (HTY) is the nearest airport with flights to Istanbul, Ankara and Ercan in Northern Cyprus. However, the nearest international airport is located in Adana, a couple of hundred kilometres to the north.

By Train

The nearest station is in Iskenderun, which has several daily train connections with Adana and Mersin.

Top

edit

Getting Around

By Public Transport

The AntRay tramway runs from the airport to the city center and on to the bus terminal, otherwise there is a extensive city bus system.

By Foot

The old town, Kaleiçi, is best seen by walking.

Top

edit

Eat

The city is known for its tasty cuisine (one of the most delicious in Turkey), which has many Middle Eastern influences. One of the must eats in Antakya is a dessert called Künefe, which is a shredded pastry with cheese. There are many Künefe houses scattered in the city, but they are especially concentrated in the main square of the city, Köprübaşı. Hatay Künefe and Kral Künefe, both located in Köprübaşı, are among the most famous Künefe houses in the city.

There are many restaurants in the city center, but most of them serve döner and other fast food. In order to try local cuisine, try Anadolu Restaurant (in Saray Caddesi), Sultan Sofrası Restaurant (in Köprübaşı) or Sveyka Restaurant (in Kurtuluş Caddesi). As for döner restaurants, Restaurant Nuri and Restaurant Abdo (both in Saray Caddesi) are the most famous ones for Et Döner (beef döner) whereas Kebo, a tiny place located in Atatürk Caddesi, is the most famous place for Tavuk Döner (chicken döner).

Harbiye, a touristic municipality which is 10 km away from Antakya, has many restaurants as well and people frequently go from Antakya to Harbiye for long dinners.

Top

edit

Drink

  • Cabaret Bar, Hürriyet Cd (Central Antakya). An upstairs bar which opens out on the first floor of the building, with a balcony, and front windows overlooking the pedestrianised street below. In June 2011, there was a live band playing Turkish covers, and it looks like live music is a regular feature. Beers are inexpensive and the waitress service good. Located in Saray Caddesi.
  • Saklı Ev Cafe, Güllü Bahçe Mahallesi, Döner Sk. No:7 (Central Antakya). An old Antakya-style house, restored and transformed into a cosy café. It's not mostly famous for its food, but rather for its ambiance. Serves a variety of food and drinks, including beer. It's one of the places where you can try one of the local desserts, "haytalı". The name of the café means "the Hidden House". It's located near the end of Saray Caddesi where it meets with Kurtuluş Caddesi.

Top

edit

Sleep

  • Ottoman Palace. A five-star thermal resort and spa convention center.
  • Büyük Antakya Oteli. A four-star hotel in the city.
  • Hotel Mozaik, İstiklal Caddesi 18 (Sultan Sofrası Üstü), ☎ +90 326 215-50-20. Located in the city center, the hotel rooms are very clean. 75 TL with breakfast for a single room, 100 TL for a double.
  • Onur hotel, Istiklal cadessi. A 3-star hotel, clean rooms and bathroom, staff speaks English. 60TL for a single.
  • The Liwan Hotel, Silahlı Kuvvetler Cad No:5, ☎ +90 326 215 7777. Only boutique hotel in Antakya. The building was used as presidential residence of the former Syrian president. Central location with walking distance to historical places.
  • Savon Hotel, Kurtuluş Cad. No:192, ☎ +90 326 214 63 55. Former soap factory converted to a hotel in 2001, located in the old city area of Antakya, between the Mosaic Museum and the Church of St. Peter.
  • Hotel Saray, Hürriyet Cad. No. 3 (A multi-story building in the pedestrianized street.), ☎ +903262149001. Cheap and cheerful, popular with down-on-their-luck freelance journalists. Hot water, wi-fi, simple breakfast served 07:00-10:00. Rooms are clean and relatively quiet Singles start at 40 TL.

View our map of accommodation in Antakya

Top

edit

Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes can be found everywhere except small rural villages. The cost of an hour use of internet ranges from 1 YTL to 1.5 YTL. Wireless internet is becoming popular in some cafes in big cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir, and at airpots. But in many other places it's still not available, or sometimes at a very high cost.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

Turkey's international country code is 90. Dial 112 for an ambulance anywhere, from any telephone, without a charge. In case of a fire, dial 110; for police, call 155. However, in rural areas there is not a police coverage, so dial 156 for gendarme, a military unit for rural security. All these numbers are free of charge and can be called from a telephone booth without inserting a calling card, or any phone including cell phones.

There are telephone booths owned by Turk Telekom in major parts of cities. public phones now operate with chip telekom cards which are available in 30, 60 or 120 units and can be obtained at post offices, newspaper and tobacco kiosks.
It is estimated that approximately 98% of the population of Turkey lives within the coverage areas of Turkey’s three cell phone line providers. Line providers from most countries have roaming agreements with one or more of these companies. Pre-paid mobile phone SIM cards can be purchased for approximately TRY20-50. These can be purchased at the airport on arrival or from the many outlets in Istanbul and other large cities. Providers include Vodaphone.

Post

PTT is the national post service in Turkey. Services are generally moderately fast but quite reliable. There is an extended price list on the PTT website, where you can see the costs of sending items within Turkey, countries in Europe and further afield. For sending packages one might also use international companies such as DHL and UPS and local companies such as Yurtici Kargo. Post offices bear the distinctive yellow PTT sign and are generally open between 9:00am to 12:00 noon and 1:30pm to 5:00pm from Monday to Friday. Some might keep longer hours or be open during the weekend as well, but this mainly applies to the larger ones or those in central places and tourist areas.

Top

Accommodation in Antakya

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Antakya searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

Contributors

as well as Hien (2%), UliS (2%)

Antakya Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Antakya

This is version 10. Last edited at 8:19 on May 4, 18 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License