Born out of an attempt to prevent the country’s archaeological treasures from being plundered after World War I, the Antalya Museum (Antalya Archaeological Museum) first opened in 1922. Exhibiting over 12,000 artifacts relating to the history of Anatolia’s Mediterranean and Pamphylia regions, it’s one of the largest and most important museums in Turkey.
The Antalya Museum is a popular inclusion on sightseeing tours of the city, often in combination with a walking tour of the Old Town (Kaleici) and marina. Inside, visitors can explore the 13 galleries, which include prehistoric artifacts, pottery, mosaics, and various statues, as well as sarcophagi, coins, jewelry, and ethnographic items. The museum also has an open-air sculpture gallery and a garden.
For travelers planning to visit nearby ancient cities such as Side, Perge, and Termessos, a tour of the museum can offer greater insight into the region’s long history, with a number of excavated items on display. Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- There is an admission fee to enter the Antalya Museum.
- Many exhibit descriptions are in Turkish only, but multilingual audio guides are available to rent.
- Plan at least an hour to visit the museum, more if you want to take in all of the exhibits.
- The museum also has a dedicated children’s exhibition, with interactive activities and miniature models.
- Most areas of the museum are wheelchair-accessible.
The Antalya Museum is located about a mile (1.6 kilometers) west of central Antalya along Konyaaltı Caddesi. Ride the tram from the Old Town—the final stop is just outside the museum—or catch a taxi, a 10-minute journey from the center. When to Get There
The Antalya Museum is open daily except Mondays, although opening times vary slightly throughout the year. Opt for a morning visit, then head to nearby Konyaaltı Beach for lunch and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the sand.
Highlights of the Antalya Museum
The museum collection features excavated finds from some of Anatolia’s most important archaeological sites, including the Karain Cave, Perge, and Pisidian Antioch. Highlights include a reconstructed Bronze Age urn from Elmalı, a pantheon and numerous friezes from Perge, a collection of ancient Greek and medieval coins, and an impressive collection of sarcophagi, including a rare, medallion-encrusted Nike sarcophagus. One of the most recent additions is a collection of bones believed to be those of Saint Nicholas, found beneath the Church of St. Nicholas in Demre in 2017.