In mid-October, while on vacation in Antalya, I wanted to visit the local center of culture and art (Antalya Kültür Sanat). By chance, my friends brought me to this Archeological Museum instead of exhibitions of contemporary Istanbul artists. The first thought was: “for what?” — I’m not a fan of looking at antiquities. However, I was delighted with the Museum and its collection, and did not get to the actual art.
The Museum as an institution was formed in 1922 in the Alaeddin Jami mosque. In 1937, the exposition was moved to another mosque, called Iyvli-Jami. Only in 1972 the Museum found its own spacious house in the Konyaaltı district.
The idea to collect ancient and antique objects appeared in Süleyman Fikri Bey, a famous teacher of the first half of the twentieth century. Then Turkey was occupied by the Italians, who began to export the objects of antiquity found at the excavations. It was because of the initiative of Süleyman Fikri Bey that all the objects found remained in Antalya, which formed the collection of the Museum.
The Museum has several thousand exhibits found in excavations in different parts of Turkey. Every year their number only grows. The collection is very diverse: from prehistoric stones, primitive tools to antique vases, sarcophagi and statues. To the Greco-Roman theme added coins from different eras of Turkey and the incredible beauty of Orthodox icons, which are also given a little space.
On 7,000 m2 there are 13 exhibition halls, one open exhibition gallery, laboratories, storage, workshops, photography room, conference room, administrative offices, cafeteria and even living quarters for Museum staff.
What halls are there in the Museum? History of nature, prehistoric period, protohistorical, antiquity period, hall of gods, two halls of small finds, hall of emperors, culture burials, mosaic hall, coin hall, and ethnographic halls.
For a tourist from Europe or even Russia, the price will seem adequate, if not low: an adult will pass for about 30-40 liras (about 450 rubles). For the Turks themselves, the cost is very high. When using the audio guide — it is available in several languages, including Russian — add about ten liras to the ticket price. It is nice that you can do photo/video shooting without flash for free.
I was very lucky: I was in the company of friends from Turkey and Kazakhstan, versed in the culture and history of their countries. All this served as a good ground for discussion of the exposition as a whole and individual exhibits. We shared our knowledge and experience, looking at objects that are more than one thousand years old. Of course, many joked and told funny stories. I regret that we did not take an audio guide-probably would have learned a lot.
It was amazing that even in the summer, outside the school year, the Museum is visited by many tourists and even groups of schoolchildren-they almost crawled into sarcophagi to make beautiful shots. No alarms went off, the Museum wardens did not scream — such a position, in fact, the Museum does not seem to exist.
The main thing: despite my bias to “antiquities” and indignant thoughts in my head, the trip to the Museum was delightful. The total amount of time we spent there speaks for itself: we spent there about good 3-4 hours.