Antalya on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, is a very popular summer vacation spot. This of course has a lot to do with plenty of white, wide beaches, amusement and theme parks, aqua parks, in short, entertainment for kids from 6 to 60. Not to mention one holiday resort and hotel after the other, all along the best known beach which is called Lara and is located east of the center of Antalya.
Old Antalya itself also has a wonderful beach, called Konyaalti which you can reach either on foot or taking a tramway. But, at the end of the line awaits the attraction which this story is about. An absolute must see for any history and culture fan: The Archaeology Museum.
On a rainy day in February which certainly didn’t invite to any beach activity, I took the tram, glanced at the curve of Konyaalti Beach , then crossed to road and entered another world.
I passed through the turnstile and found myself on Mount Olympus…or so it appeared to me. Who ever designed these exhibition rooms was a genius: the walls are dark red and dark green and the dimmed lighting is so cleverly arranged, that the enormous statues throw shadows which bring them to life.
Surrounded by Hera, Zeus, Artemis and Apollo as well as Roman nobles and Emperors, I just stopped short of starting to talk to them. An additional bonus was of course, that I was the only visitor and had ample space and time to hobnob with the Gods.
Not surprisingly, this is one of the best museums in all of Turkey, a country which is definitely not short of them. Another rarity which is not often found in a classic museum is, that a big part of the ground floor is done up as a ‘Kids’ Room’. History and art is explained by miniature scenes of certain periods, displayed in ‘tableaux’ in showcases with explanations kids can understand. A brilliant idea and I’m sure that this is one of the few museums where you can take your kids too on a rainy day without them dying of boredom.
I spent hours meandering from room to room and, an added bonus, being able to get really close to the enormous statues. Of course, you aren’t allowed to touch them, but they aren’t cordoned off either, so you can admire every details at your leisure.
I was sorry to say good bye to the Gods, but, there is always another occasion.