If you travel to Antalya and take a trip into the city center, you can not fail to notice the beautiful minaret, that towers above the city. The Minaret is called “Yivli Minare Camii”, but is also called “Ulu Camii” or “Alaaddin Camii”, so one might say, that dear child has many names. It is certainly well known, that Yivli Minaret is regarded as the city’s landmark and is a symbol for the whole city. The local football team Antalyaspor has the tower as a part of their logo and the tower is often pictured in different travel catalogs, postcards, etc.
Yivli Minaret is unique and recognizable because it is no less than 38 meters high and built of bricks with 8 half-round columns built into the tower. A technique which was hardly known then and only seen in a few places. In fact, the Minaret (and the related complex) is built on the ruins of an old Seljuks church in 1227. It was the renowned Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad the first, who built the tower and the entire surrounding complex after the Seljuks, that came from the Iran area in east, conquered the city in 1226. The complex consisted of 7 buildings, which included hammam (baths), Koranic school, graves and a mosque. The whole complex (in which only some of it consists today) is regarded as one of the first examples of Seljuk architecture in Anatolien with a mosque with 6 domes and an unusually high tower built of brick and covered with tiles. The tower was destroyed in the 14th century, but built for 2nd time in 1373rd.
Back then, the tower probably was a really beautiful sight, as it was covered with turquoise and dark blue tiles. Today you can only see a few of them left, really a shame. I think it must have been quite a breathtaking sight back then.
The tower is located just beside one of the entrances to Kaleici, the old town, which you can read about here. On the other side of the road, you will find the old Bazaar. The entire complex has been continuously restored, most recently in 1955 and from 2007-2010. The last period was a restoration prolonged, when the beautiful old irrigation canals in the mosque was discovered. Today you can see the irrigation channels, that have been covered by a glass plate. But you have to go and visit the mosque and the complex. Unfortunately, the tower is not open to public, so you can not get up in near the clouds. Really a shame, because with the 90 steps up, it was a manageable task (and the view simply must be PHENOMENAL from up there). I’d really like it. Just imagine the view of the bay and the old town and with the hazy mountains in the background … ..
In 1974 the Ethnographic Museum opened in the sourrounding buildings. There local clothing, kitchenware, tapestries, kelim carpets and nomadic tents are exhibited. A judicious mixture to be said. Formerly the buildings housed Antalya’s archaeological museum, which was created by the Sultan in 1922 to preserve the area’s cultural treasures. The museum, however, was moved to the present location in 1972. You can read more about Antalya’s Archaeological Museum by clicking on the link.
In April 2016 the town submitted an application for Yivli minaret to include on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage.