Antalya is full of ancient sites: Termessos, Phaselis and Olympos are all a short drive away. But there are also ruins, on a smaller scale, all over Kaleici – a piece of the city wall here, the remains of a house there, etc. The largest ancient site in Kaleici (aside from the city wall itself) is the fenced off area next to the Broken Minaret (Kesik Minare) . Here lies the Korkut Mosque, whose remains are a microcosm of Turkish history.
This structure was originally built as a Roman temple in the 2nd century AD. It was converted to a Byzantine Marian church in the 7th century.
When the Seljuk Turks took over Antalya in the 12th century the church became a mosque and the minaret was built. it became a church again in 1361 when Antalya was conquered during the crusades, and reverted to mosque status when the Ottomans came to power in 1453. The Korkut Mosque, named after the Sultan’s son, remained in service until a fire destroyed it (and broke the minaret) in 1846.
I never noticed the shape of these ruins I walk by all the time until I decided to take some photographs on a sunny day. (It’s a bit of a challenge to photograph, because you have to stick your camera through the iron fence.) It turns out you can still see something in all those old rocks. Here’s an alcove that looks like it’s from the Byzantine era:
The Kesik Minare has become a very useful landmark. It’s easy to get lost in the winding streets of Kaleici, so spotting the minaret tells me where I am. It’s also useful when giving directions, which may be why so many of the successful establishments are either next to or across from the Kesik Minaret.
For example, Art Cafe, where they show classics like Casablanca and Breathless with the sound turned off and music turned up, is a favorite haunt of the Couchsurfers. Bademalti was the site of our salsa classes last year, and Mr Blues, with its coffeehouse ambiance, is the location for Billy’s biweekly “open mic” nights. And I’d never find any of them without the help of the Kesik Minare.
Of course the most famous ancient landmark of Kaleici is Hadrian’s Gate, built by the eponymous emperor in the 2d century. Coincidentally, it happens to be right in front of the Shaker Pub, where the Antalya Expat Social Group has organized events such as the Halloween party and Turkish lessons. It is currently the site of the Friday Pub Quiz, where I learn all sorts of useless facts. This week’s bonus question: What’s the only country that has six colors on its flag? Anyone know? I didn’t.