This area has been inhabited since the earliest times. The oldest artefacts, found in the Karain Cave (Karain Mağarası) 2km inland from Antalya, date back to the Palaeolithic period. As a city, Antalya is not as old as many others that once lined this coast, but it is still prospering while the older ones are dead.
Founded by Attalus II of Pergamum in the 1st century BC, the city was named Attaleia after its founder. When the Pergamene kingdom was bequeathed to Rome, Attaleia became a Roman city. Emperor Hadrian visited here in AD 130 and a triumphal arch (now known as Hadrian’s Gate) was built in his honour.
The Byzantines took over from the Romans but in 1207 the Seljuk Turks based in Konya snatched the city from them and gave Antalya a new version of its name, and also its symbol, the Yivle Minare (Grooved Minaret). After the Mongols broke the Seljuk grip on power, Antalya was held for a while by the Turkish Hamidoğullari emirs. It was taken by the Ottomans in 1391.
After WWI the Allies divided up the Ottoman Empire. Italy got Antalya in 1918, but by 1921 Atatürk’s armies had put an end to all such foreign holdings.