AntakyaHatay Province, which was annexed by Turkey after almost two decades of French rule in 1939.
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 center.
Hatay AirportDomestic flights.
You can also use dolmuş taxis in order to get to the city center. Many dolmuş taxis wait just in front of the airport and as soon as any four customers are gathered, the taxi heads towards the city. The taxis charge approximately 10 TL per person. All in all, if you accept to share the taxi with other passengers, taking a cab is TL Havaş as the taxi drops you off in whichever part of the city you want to get out while Havaş only stops at specific points.
The nearest international airport is located in Adana (ADA), a couple of hundred kilometres to the north.
By trainThe nearest station is in Iskenderun, which has several daily train connections with Adana and Mersin.
By busHas Turizm operates comfortable buses from all major cities in Turkey. There are also bus connections with Aleppo, Syria.
The (otogar) is located about 7 km northwest from the city center. Once you arrive look for minibuses to take you within walking distance of the center. Many of the hotels are located on Istiklal street.
To get from Antakya to Aleppo in Syria, the best option is to catch a bus from the central bus station (otogar) outside of town. It's too far to walk there, but there are bus connections from the town centre. The journey to Aleppo should cost you 10 TL (2009). The last bus (during Ramadan) leaves at 11:00 in the morning! This might be different outside of Ramadan, though. You can also try to catch a taxi from the town centre, which can be fairly difficult, as you normally have to wait until there are enough people sharing the taxi. The journey should cost you around 25 TL each if the taxi gets full. If you don't want to wait, you can pay for the whole taxi and depart immediately, which is going to be about 100-120 TL.
It is possible to cross the border step by step. You catch a bus to the Turkish border control, hitchhike to the Syrian border (which is about 5 km away, and you are not allowed to walk) and then take a taxi from there to Aleppo. You should be prepared for an extremely time-consuming trip. There's no other possibility to get from the Turkish border control to the Syrian one than waiting for a car to hitchhike. This can take some hours. At the Syrian border neither buses nor taxis are to be found, so you will have to hitchhike again. Most people will charge you for hitchhiking, and normally they will try to rip you off. Speaking Turkish and/or Arabic will certainly help, but if you don't, this trip is going to be really difficult. Apart from that it's more expensive than the direct bus.
address: Cumhuriyet Mh. Gündüz Cd. 1Also 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.
Church of St PeterOne of the oldest churches of Christianity, Church of St. Peter, is a must-see in Antakya.
Büyük Antakya ParkıThis 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 Tunneladdress: Çevlik, SamandağıThe 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.
- Thanks to the large laurel (Laurus nobilis) groves on the mountains surrounding the city, laurel soaps (defne sabunu, also known as garlı sabun locally), which are said to have some benefits on the skin and hair, are unique to this city and are made of local olive oil with some laurel extract stirred in.
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.
Ornikos, Pisirim Merkeziaddress: Fish Market AreaTo eat like the locals, go to the Fish Market and buy a couple of fresh ones from the iced bins, then take them to the nearby cafe Ornikos where for a small fee you can have your fish cooked and served up with house salad and a beer.
address: Hürriyet CdAn 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.
address: Güllü Bahçe Mahallesi, Döner Sk. No:7An 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.
Ottoman PalaceA five-star thermal resort and spa convention center.
Büyük Antakya OteliA four-star hotel in the city.
Hotel Mozaikphone: +90 326 215-50-20address: İstiklal Caddesi 18 (Sultan Sofrası Üstü)Located in the city center, the hotel rooms are very clean.
Onur hoteladdress: Istiklal cadessiA 3-star hotel, clean rooms and bathroom, staff speaks English.
phone: +90 326 215 7777address: Silahlı Kuvvetler Cad No:5Only boutique hotel in Antakya. The building was used as presidential residence of the former Syrian president. Central location with walking distance to historical places.
phone: +90 326 214 63 55address: Kurtuluş Cad. No:192Former 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 Sarayphone: +903262149001address: Hürriyet Cad. No. 3Cheap 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
phone: +90 3262162900