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Hotels of Antakya

A hotel in Antakya is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Antakya hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Antakya are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Antakya hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Antakya hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Antakya have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Antakya
An upscale full service hotel facility in Antakya that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Antakya hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Antakya
Full service Antakya hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Antakya
Boutique hotels of Antakya are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Antakya boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Antakya may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Antakya
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Antakya travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Antakya focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Antakya
Small to medium-sized Antakya hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Antakya traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Antakya hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Antakya
A bed and breakfast in Antakya is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Antakya bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Antakya B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Antakya
Antakya hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Antakya hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Antakya
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Antakya hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Antakya lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Antakya
Antakya timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Antakya often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Antakya on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Antakya
A Antakya motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Antakya for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Antakya motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Antakya

Metropolitan municipality
A view of Antakya from the high ground
A view of Antakya from the high ground
Antakya is located in Turkey
Antakya is located in South West Asia
Antakya is located in Europe
Antakya is located in Asia
Location of Antakya within Turkey.
Coordinates:  / 36.200; 36.150  / 36.200; 36.150
Country Turkey
Region Mediterranean
Province Hatay Province
• District 858.08 km (331.31 sq mi)
Elevation 67 m (220 ft)
Population (2012)
• Urban 216,960
• District 470,833
• District density 550/km (1,400/sq mi)
Time zone FET (UTC+3)
Postal code 31xxx
Area code(s) (+90) 326
Licence plate 31
Website www.antakya.bel.tr

Antakya (Arabic: انطاكيا‎‎, Anṭākyā from Syriac: ܐܢܛܝܘܟܝܐ‎, Anṭiokia; Greek: Ἀντιόχεια, Antiócheia) is the seat of the Hatay Province in southern Turkey.

In ancient times, Antakya was known as Antioch, and was for centuries one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire. It was an influential early center of Christianity. It has a population of about 250,000. Most of the population speaks Turkish as their native language, while a minority are native Arabic speakers. Antakya is situated in a well-watered and fertile valley.

Antakya: History

Antakya: Antiquity

The area of Antioch has been occupied by humans since the Calcolithic era (6th millennium BC), as revealed by archeological excavations of the mound of Tell-Açana, among others.

The King of Macedon Alexander the Great, after defeating the Persians in the Battle of Issus in 333 BC, followed the Orontes south into Syria and occupied the area. The city of Antioch was founded in 300 BC, after the death of Alexander, by the Hellenistic Seleucid King Seleucus I Nicator. It played an important role as one of the largest cities in the Hellenistic Seleucid Kingdom, in the Roman Empire and in the Byzantium, and it was a key city during the early years of Christianity, and of the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Antiochian Orthodox Church, and also since the 7th c. AD with the rise of Islam, and after the 10th c. AD with the Crusades.

Antakya: Rashidun period

Recapture of Antioch in 969

In 637, during the reign of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius, Antioch was conquered by the Rashidun Caliphate during the Battle of the Iron Bridge. The city became known in Arabic as أنطاكيّة (Anṭākiyyah). Since the Umayyad dynasty was unable to penetrate the Anatolian plateau, Antioch found itself on the frontline of the conflicts between two hostile empires during the next 350 years, so that the city went into a precipitous decline.

In 969, the city was reconquered for the Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas by Michael Bourtzes and the stratopedarches Peter. It soon became the seat of a dux, who commanded the forces of the local themes and was the most important officer on the Empire's eastern border, held by such men as Nikephoros Ouranos. In 1078, Philaretos Brachamios, an Armenian rebel seized power. He held the city until the Seljuk Turks captured it from him in 1084. The Sultanate of Rum held it only fourteen years before the Crusaders arrived.

Antakya: Crusader era

Capture of Antioch by Bohemund of Taranto in June 1098.

The Crusaders' Siege of Antioch resulted in its fall and the Crusaders caused significant damage during the First Crusade including a 3-day massacre of its population both Christian and Muslim. Following the defeat of the Turkish garrison, Bohemond I became its overlord. It remained the capital of the Latin Principality of Antioch for nearly two centuries.

In 1268 it fell to the Egyptian Mamluk Sultan Baibars after another siege. Baibars proceeded to massacre the Christian population. In addition to suffering the ravages of war, the city lost its commercial importance because trade routes to the Far East moved north following the 13th-century Mongol conquests. Antioch never recovered as a major city, with much of its former role falling to the port city of Alexandretta (İskenderun). An account of both cities as they were in 1675 appears in the diary of the English naval chaplain Henry Teonge.

Antakya: Ottoman city

Densely built Antakya in 1912: the traditional Muslim city shows no trace of its Hellenistic planning. To the east, orchards (green) fill the plain.

The city was the center of the Sanjak of Antakya, part of the Damascus Eyalet.

In 1822 (and again in 1872), Antakya was hit by an earthquake and damaged. When Ottoman general Ibrahim Pasha established his headquarters in the city in 1835, it had only some 5,000 inhabitants. Supporters hoped the city might develop thanks to the Euphrates Valley Railway, which was supposed to link it to the port of Sueida (now Samandağı). However, such plans were doomed to come to naught. The city suffered repeated outbreaks of cholera due to inadequate infrastructure for sanitation. Later the city developed and rapidly resumed much of its old importance when a railway was built along the lower Orontes Valley.

Antakya: Republic of Hatay and modern Turkey

See Hatay Province for the history of the region during the demise of the Ottoman Empire, the short-lived Republic of Hatay (in 1938), and the area's incorporation into the Republic of Turkey in 1939.

Antakya: Demographics in 1935

In 1935, Turkish and Arab Muslims made more than 80% of population.

Demographics of Antakya in 1935 according to the French census
Cities Ethnic group
Sunni Muslims 19,720 (58%)
Alawites 8,670 (25.5%)
Christians 4,930 (14.5%)
Others 680 (2%)
Total¹ 34,000 (100%)

¹Most Alawis and Armenians spoke Turkish as a second language and spoke either Arabic or Armenian as a first language.

A British traveller at Antakya in year 1798 said "the language here is generally Turkish" (while, by contrast, he said the prevalent language at Aleppo at the time was Arabic).

Antakya: City of Antakya today

The market place in central Antakya
Courtyard of the Church of Apostles Peter and Paul in Antakya

Mount Habib-i Neccar (Habib An-Najar in Sura al Yassin 36:13 ) and the city walls which climb the hillsides symbolise Antakya, making the city a formidable fortress built on a series of hills running north-east to south-west. Antakya was originally centred on the east bank of the river. Since the 19th century, the city has expanded with new neighbourhoods built on the plains across the river to the south-west, and four bridges connect the old and new cities. Many of the buildings of the last two decades are styled as concrete blocks, and Antakya has lost much of its classic beauty. The narrow streets of the old city can become clogged with traffic.

Although the port city Iskenderun has become the largest city in Hatay, Antakya is a provincial capital still of considerable importance as the centre of a large district. The draining of Lake Amik and development of land has caused the region's economy to grow in wealth and productivity. The town is a lively shopping and business centre with many restaurants, cinemas and other amenities. This district is centred on a large park opposite the governor's building and the central avenue Kurtuluş Caddesı. The tea gardens, cafes and restaurants in the neighbourhood of Harbiye are popular destinations, particularly for the variety of meze in the restaurants. The Orontes River can be malodorous when water is low in summer. Rather than formal nightlife, in the summer heat, people will stay outside until late in the night to walk with their families and friends, and munch on snacks.

Its location near the Syrian border makes Antakya more cosmopolitan than many cities in Turkey. It did not attract the mass immigration of people from eastern Anatolia in the 1980s and 1990s that radically swelled the populations of Mediterranean cities such as Adana and Mersin. Both Turkish and Arabic are still widely spoken in Antakya, although written Arabic is rarely used. A mixed community of faiths and denominations co-exist peacefully here. Although almost all the inhabitants are Muslim, a substantial proportion adhere to the Alevi and the Arab Alawi traditions, in 'Harbiye' there is a place to honour the Alawite saint Hızır. Numerous tombs of saints, of both Sunni and Alawite, are located throughout the city. Several small Christian communities are active in the city, with the largest church being St. Peter and St. Paul on Hurriyet Caddesi. With its long history of spiritual and religious movements, Antakya is a place of pilgrimage for Christians. The city also is home to a functioning synagogue serving the Jewish community of Antakya. It has a reputation in Turkey as a place for spells, fortune telling, miracles and spirits.

Local crafts include a soap scented with the oil of bay tree.

Antakya: Geography

Antakya is located on the banks of the Orontes River (Turkish: Asi Nehri), approximately 22 km (14 mi) inland from the Mediterranean coast. The city is in a valley surrounded by mountains, the Nur Mountains (ancient Amanos) to the north and Mount Keldağ (Jebel Akra) to the south, with the 440 m high Mount Habib-i Neccar (the ancient Mount Silpius) forming its eastern limits. The mountains are a source of a green marble. Antakya is at the northern edge of the Dead Sea Rift and vulnerable to earthquakes.

The plain of Amik to the north-east of the city is fertile soil watered by the Orontes, the Karasu and the Afrin rivers; the lake in the plain was drained in 1980 by a French company. At the same time channels were built to widen the Orontes and let it pass neatly through the city centre. The Orontes is joined in Antakya by the Hacı Kürüş stream to the north-east of the city near the church of St Peter, and the Hamşen which runs down from Habib-i Neccar to the south-west, under Memekli Bridge near the army barracks. Flora includes the bay trees and myrtle. There is a Jewish community.

Antakya: Climate

The city enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers, and mild and wet winters; however due to its higher altitude, Antakya has slightly cooler temperatures than the coast.

Climate data for Antakya
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 51
Average low °F (°C) 39
Average precipitation inches (mm) 7.5
Source: Weatherbase

Antakya: Education

Mustafa Kemal University, abbreviated as MKU, has several faculties including Engineering and Medicine, while having a campus called Tayfur Sökmen located in Serinyol district 15 km (9.3 mi), north of Antakya (centrum). Established in 1992, currently more than 32,000 students enrolled at the university.

Besides the campus in Serinyol, MKU has its faculties spread out in all main districts of the province including Altınözü, Antakya, Belen, Dörtyol, Erzin, Hassa, İskenderun, Kırıkhan, Reyhanlı, Samandağ and Yayladağı.

Antakya: Main sights

The long and varied history has created many architectural sites of interest. There is much for visitors to see in Antakya, although many buildings have been lost in the rapid growth and redevelopment of the city in recent decades.

  • Hatay Archaeology Museum has the second largest collection of Roman mosaics in the world.
  • The rock-carved Church of St Peter, with its network of refuges and tunnels carved out of the rock, a site of Christian pilgrimage. There are also tombs cut into the rock face at various places along the Orontes valley.
  • Old market district: It offers plenty of traditional shops, where you can explore what you have not seen before. It is exactly in the city centre, you are in when you see the sign Uzun Çarşı Caddesi.
  • The seedy Gündüz cinema in the city centre was once used as parliament building of the Republic of Hatay.
  • The waterfalls at the Harbiye / Daphne promenade.
  • The Ottoman Habib-i Neccar Camii, the oldest mosque in Antakya and one of the oldest in Anatolia.
  • The labyrinth of narrow streets and old Antakya houses. This district is the oldtown in fact.
  • Vespasianus Titus Tunnel-Samandagı. It is approximately 35 km. far from the centre.
  • Beşikli Cave and Graves (the antique city of Seleukeia Pierria)
  • St. Simon Monastery
  • Bagras (Bakras) Castle, which was built in antiquity and restored many times in later centuries (particularly during the Crusades, when it was a stronghold of the Knights Templar), served as a watchtower on the 27 km (17 mi) mountain road from İskenderun (Alexandretta) to Antakya (Antioch).
  • The panoramic view of the city from the heights of Mount Habib-i Neccar

With its rich architectural heritage, Antakya is a member of the Norwich-based European Association of Historic Towns and Regions [1]. The Roman bridge (thought to date from the era of Diocletian) was destroyed in 1972 during the widening and channelling of the Orontes.

A panoramic view of Antakya from the Church of Saint Peter

Antakya: Cuisine

The cuisine of Antakya is renowned. Its cuisine is considered levantine rather than Turkish. The cuisine offers plenty of meals, where beef and lambs are mainly used. Popular dishes include the typical Turkish kebab, served with spices and onions in flat unleavened bread, with yoghurt as ali nazik kebab, oruk, kaytaz böreği and katıklı ekmek . Hot spicy food is a feature of this part of Turkey, along with Turkish coffee and local specialities. Here are some savour:

  • İçli köfte and other oruk varieties: varieties of the Arabic kibbeh, deep-fried balls of bulgur wheat stuffed with minced meat; or baked in ovens in cylinder-cone shape. Saç oruğu is made of the same ingredients, however in circular shape.
  • Kaytaz böreği: It is patty that is made of wheat, beef, tomato and onion.
  • Katıklı ekmek: Ingredients in Katıklı Ekmek usually consist of wheat, traditional pepper (paste), spices such as sesame and theme, çökelek or cheese. It looks like an ancestor of pizza. Not a lot of restaurants serve it, however it can be found in old-market that is located in the centre and Harbiye.
  • Pomegranate syrup, used as a salad dressing, called debes ramman, a traditional Levantine Arabic dressing.
  • Semirsek, a thin bread with hot pepper, minced meat or spinach filling
  • Spicy chicken, a specialty of Harbiye
  • Za'atar (Zahter) a traditional Levantine Arabic paste of spiced thyme, oregano, and sesame seeds, mixed with olive oil, spread on flat (called pide or in English pita) bread.
  • Fresh chick peas, munched as a snack.
  • Hirise, boiled and pounded wheat meal.
  • Aşur, meat mixed with crushed wheat, chickpea, cumin, onion, pepper and walnut
  • Hummus - the chick-pea dip
  • pureed fava beans
  • Patlıcan salatası: Patlıcan salatası or babaganoush, made of baked and sliced aubergines that mixed

with pepper and tomato. It is usually served with pomegranate syrup.

  • Taratur: Known also as Tarator, made of walnuts, 'tahin', yogurt and garlic.
  • Süzme yoğurt: A type of yogurt that its water content is removed with traditional methods.
  • Ezme biber: It is made of pepper and walnuts.
  • Surke - dried curds served in spicy olive oil
  • Çökelek - the spicy sun-dried cheese
  • Eels from the Orontes, spiced and fried in olive oil
  • Künefe - a hot cheese, kadaif-based sweet. Antakya is Turkey's künefe capital; the pastry shops in the centre compete to claim being kings Turkish: kral of the pastry.
  • Müşebbek - rings of deep fried pastry.
  • Peynirli irmik helvası - Peynirli İrmik Helvası is a dessert that is made of semolina, sugar and traditional cheese that is the same as used in künefe. It is served warm, especially in restaurants in the region Harbiye, rather than künefe shops that are located in the centre.

Antakya: Twin towns

Antakya is twinned with:

  • Germany Aalen, Germany (since 1995).

Antakya: Notable people

  • Alexandros (1st century BC) Greek sculptor
  • George of Antioch
  • Ignatius of Antioch, Patriarch of Antioch
  • John Chrysostom (349–407) Patriarch of Constantinople
  • Saint Luke, 1st century AD, Christian evangelist and author of the Gospel of St. Luke and Acts of the Apostles
  • Yağısıyan, Seljukid governor of the city up to its capture by the Crusaders
  • Selâhattin Ülkümen - Righteous among the nations
  • Tayfur Sökmen - The president of the Republic of Hatay during its existence between the years 1938 and 1939.

Antakya: References

  1. "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  2. "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
  3. , p. 131.
  4. Vahan M. Kurkjian, "New Scourge from Egypt", in A History of Armenia
  5. Dumper, Michael (2007). Cities of the Middle East and North Africa: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 40.
  6. Go, Julian (2013). Decentering Social Theory. Emerald Group Publishing. p. 31. ISBN 9781781907276.
  7. Travels in Africa, Egypt, and Syria, from the Year 1792 to 1798, by William George Browne, year 1806 on page 449 (and page 442 for Aleppo).
  8. Avotaynu: the international review of Jewish genealogy, Volume 14, G. Mokotoff, 1998, p. 40.
  9. "Weatherbase: Weather for Antakya, Turkey". Weatherbase. 2011. Retrieved on November 22, 2011.
  10. "About Mustafa Kemal University (MKU)". MKU. Retrieved 2011-03-26.
  • Glanville Downey (1963). Ancient Antioch. Princeton University Press.
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Rockwell, William Walker (1911). "Antioch". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 130–132.
  • Pictures of Antakya
  • Pictures of Antakya Museum
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