Antalya has always been a settlement from Palaeolithic Ages. Antalya was called “Pamphylia” at ancient ages. The fact proves a native nation living at the years of 1200 B.C that in many parts of Iliad of Homer the name of Antalya is being mentioned. Antalya was under the dominance of Lydia Kingdom, Persians and Great Alexander at first ages. At 2 B.C the king of Bergamo Attalos ordered to his raiders that “Find me an earthly paradise”, after that the west of Pamphylia was captured and the foundation of “Attalia” which took his name and also which is today’s Antalya was laid. It was occupied firstly by Roman Empire and at 4 D.C by Byzantine Empire after the death of Attalos the 3rd. The Seljuqs started Turkish-Islamic period with their domination in 1207 and at the end of 14th century Ottoman Empire took it under its sway.
The History of the Museum the aim of the foundation and the development of the museum is a really funny story. When Italians captured Antalya at 28 March 1919, they brought some archaeologists with them. The archaeologists were carrying the antique works acquired to the Consulate of Italy in the name of civilisation. Mr. Suleyman Fikri, who was fond of history of Antalya and archaeology, was opposed to this situation. Mr. Suleyman Fikri applied to Lieutenant Governor he became voluntary archaeology officer and found Antalya Museum by gathering all of the monuments.
First he founded the museum in a small mosque which is a branch of Tekeli Mehmet Pasa Mosque and then he brought the monuments which the Italians acquired after they left the city. After 1937 the Museum was moved to Yivli Minaret Mosque. By the excavation of that time so many beautiful monuments were used to be found.
Antalya Museum was honoured with the award of “Europe Council Museum of the Year” in 1988. Antalya is an open air museum and a universal excavation area with its archaeological specialities. Many scientists from many countries make scientific excavations every year. A lot of excavations and Orenyeri land use plan are still being carried out. Antalya Museum is both an Archaeology and History museum and it can also be qualified as Regional Museum. Most of the monuments that take part in the collection are gained with the excavations and the ethnographic monuments were compiled from the area by museum specialists. You can see monuments reflecting the thousands years old history of Antalya in a chronological order and sometimes the monuments are exhibited according to their subjects.
Antalya museum, which was designed in a modern way in Konyaalti and was one of the biggest museums of Turkey, is a museum which should be visited by History-Archaeology fanciers with its 3 exhibition rooms and open air galleries, 7.000 square metre zone, 5.000 exhibited monuments and 25.000-30.000 not exhibited monument.
Natural History and Prehistory Galleries Karain Cave is the oldest known settlement of Anatolia and it gives a solid stratigraphy belongs to a period from Palaeolithic Age to Roman Empire. In Karain Cave three showcases in which there are fossils of Geologic ages are exhibited besides the gravels, hand axes, rooters and bone tools.
Karain stands at the calcareous skirts of Şam Mountain and it is 25 kilometres faraway from Antalya. In the cave in 10,5 meter thick earth filling Palaeolithic dated findings and tooth and skeleton fossils of Neanderthal man who lived in Mesolithic era were seen.
Semayuk is the representative centre of the oldest Bronze Age in the area. Most of the findings are graveyard findings. The cubic grave, which is exhibited near the pots in various forms, seals, brush sticks and dead gifts especially, is really interesting. The most interesting and attention drawing aspect of this way of burying dead is that the body was replaced in a cube just like a baby’s position in mother’s womb.
Small Monument Gallery I technical developments of pottery art with the invention of potter’s wheel, some vase forms and various kinds of adornments are being exhibited in the time course from 12 B.C to 3 B.C.
At 2 showcases interesting findings such as makeup tools and trappings are being exhibited.
Gallery of Gods in this gallery head god Zeus and near him Tykhe, Athena, Artemis, Nemesis, Hygieia, Hermes, Dioskurs; opposite of these Egypt originated Serapis, Isis and their sons form the Harpokrates section. The sculptures belong to 2 D.C, they are the Roman copies of Greek originals and they were all found at Perge exhibitions.
Small Monument Gallery II in the showcases of this part some heavenly beautiful monuments of various eras dating back to 6 D.C from B.C are exhibited. The vase a gift for Egyptian Queen Benerike, Athena embossed silver plate, bronze sculptures of Apollon and Herakles, Attis head, marble sculpture of Priapos symbolizing fertility, small terra-cotta and marble sculptures are prominent monuments.
Gallery of Emperors the sculptures, all of which were found during Perge exhibitions, reflects the most beautiful examples of Roman Sculpture. The monuments of 2-3 D.C are common because of the fact that the most brilliant era of the area was those years. As well as the portrait busts of Traianus, Sabina, Septimius Severus, Iulia Domna, Hadrianus, Faustina, Iulia Soemias, Plankia Magna; three beauties and the sculpture of belly dancer are among the attractive monuments.
Gallery of Grave Cultures two tombs belonging to Dominitias Filiskas and his family are exhibited. On the coffin a laying couple was portrayed. The Eros pictures standing in the corners symbolize family bliss. The subject of the other precious tombs is Herakles and they date back to 2 D.C. Some parts of one of the tombs were taken to America and this is one of the biggest examples of historical artefact smuggling. In 1983 these parts are taken back from America and put together their places.
Grave stells and Cinerariums are being exhibited proper to their original status.
Mosaics and Icon Galleries the most important mosaics of the gallery is philosopher mosaics, the names of famous thinkers, orators, historians and mathematicians such as Solon, Thukydides, LYkurgos; Herodotus, Demosthenes and Hesiodos take place in this mosaic. It is excavated in the Seleukeia excavation. Another important monument is Orpheus depiction, he was said to bewitch wild animals with its instrument.
There are some galleries in which local sculpture examples, sculpture tools and bronze sculpture technique are being exhibited.
The 18-19 century dated icons which were gathered from Antalya area is being shown in these galleries.
Sesterce galleries the tradition of minting sesterce has a history of 2500 years and it continues from 6 B.C till now. City sesterces which belong to Pamphylia, Pisidia and Lykia areas; but primarily local sesterces in the chronologic order like Classic, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuqs and Ottoman periods are being exhibited.
In the gallery also golden and silver treasures are being shown.
Ethnography Galleries the ethnography department of our museum consist of 2 big galleries and an entry that combines these galleries.
At the first gallery ceramics, porcelains, religious works, medals, seals, vefk, clocks, jewellery, locks, keys and clothes are being shown.
The exhibited ceramics belong to Seljuqs and Ottoman Periods. Seljukian ceramics, which were made with flush mounted technique and Kubadabat style, were brought from Aspendos and they were made through the middle of 13th century.
The square boarded Iznik ceramics from 15-16-17 and 18th centuries belong to Ottoman.
Five porcelain plates are being exhibited in the gallery; these plates are production of Yıldız (Star) factory which was closed at 1920.
You can come across with religious works in Anatolia but Seljukian Koran is a special work which is a part of local public. There is a section where medals, seals, vefk, clocks are exhibited. ( vefk is talismanic prays and it uses talismanic in different ways) The section where the jewellery is being shown reflects the best examples of jewellery that people of Antalya still use. Different keys and locks that are different are among the special works. The clothes section divides into two; nomad clothes and bindals. The nomad clothes: socks, pantalets, three skirts, underclothes, purses, ceintures and headwears.
At the hallway combining these two parts, you can see written tablets such as hilye, naat, icazet and katig written by our old calligraphers.
The second gallery consists of four parts. These parts are; rugs, nomad tools, rooms and guns. You can see famous Usak, Gordes, Ladik, Mucur, Bergama, Kula and Avanos rugs in this gallery where local works and tools are exhibited. The most precious and the oldest monument of this gallery is Usak Rug which belongs to 16th century.
You can see the rugs that take their names from Dosemealti (at the north-east of Antalya) and the oldest and traditional example of these called “Halelli”.
In this section gunny sucks, saddle bags, fibres, prayer rugs which are special for Antalya, cilia, light rug, sumac and carpet techniques are being shown. Some interesting nomad works are also being exhibited with nomad tents here.
In one part of the gallery the sitting room, the bed room and the bath room of an Antalya home is being exhibited.
At the part where guns and supplementary tools are exhibited there are: from arrow, arch, armour to knives; from encapsulated and lighted pistols and riffles to swords; from lodge tools to powder horns, powder measure and oil cups.
Scale devices, stands like ıstar, mutaf and hand çulfalığı, musical instruments and spoons are exhibited as local tools.
Some monuments are really interesting; such as quivered pipe, kemancha of nomad and zerk and the whistle which was made up of wing bone of an eagle.
The whole production process of the spoons, which are the production of Bademli village of Cevizli District of Akseki, is exhibited.
A Part for Children this is the first application in Turkey, it is a gallery for children at the entrance of the museum.
Various kinds of antique toys and money boxes are being exhibited.
At the workplace which is founded in order to endear old monuments and museums to children, there are some such labours such as repairing simple monument, ceramics, sculpture and art.