The Antalya Kaleici Museum is a true little gem right in the middle of Kaleici – the old town of Antalya. Suna & Inan kirac Kaleici museum, as the real name is, is a really nice little ethnographic museum, which shows the life and culture of Antalya in the 19th century in the best way possible.
The museum opened in 1996 by the couple Suna and Inan kirac. The purpose was showing and maintaining important elements of Antalya’s life and culture. The museum consists of 2 buildings – an old traditional town house and an old Greek Orthodox church. Both restored beautifully.
A brand new museum:
I have to admit, that I have never been to the Antalya Kaleici museum before last year, when I was on my first trip alone to Antalya without my husband and children. That’s because two things I think. First, I have not really known about the museum’s existence until some years ago. And I have always thought, that my husband did not want to go to the museum after our obligatory visit to the Antalya Archaeological Museum. You can read about that visit here (and – I must add, the museum is definitely a visit worth – my husband has just been there too often in the history lessons in his childhood. Therefore, the reluctance).
But this little museum is definitely worth a visit as well (I hadn’t really believed that, I must admit). First, the buildings speaks for themselves. The house itself offers a unique insight into the old traditional houses in the city with inner courtyards and small overhanging 1st floor windows facing the street (which you can read more about here). This house was restored from 93 to 96 and again in the summer of 2017, so it appears as original as possible (except from a single staircase, which has been rebuilt). The original woodwork also had to be replaced, as it was not to be saved.
You get a pretty vivid idea about life in the houses from the different scenarios set up with wax dolls, traditional clothes, furniture, textiles, etc. There are scenarios made with wedding preparations, the henna party, shaving the groom and the coffee tradition. Super interesting to see.
In English and Turkish:
As something completely new (and very different from most tourist places in the city), large information boards have been set up, where the life, traditions and customs of that time is described in English and turkish. You can also read a lot about the building style and function of the houses, if one is interested in that part. And finally, there is a guide that is more than willing to help and answer questions if you are least interested. He was really genuinely happy to help. And as something quite unexpected, he actually spoke a reasonably good English !
At the museum there are also many great paintings of Antalya as well as a beautiful photo collection of old houses and people in the city. The old photographs are really interesting I think. Now, I really like photos, but there was also an incredibly nice collection of pictures of the various salesmen, who once walked the streets. People selling bread, fruit, candles, toys, clothes and much more. Really exciting and like a gateway to a completely different world and time.
Ceramics and photographs in the church:
Kaleici museum, as mentioned, also consists of a church. An old Greek Orthodox one, that I have not been able to see, which year it was built. It is one of the 5 well-known Greek Orthodox churches in Antalya. At one entrance there is a marble frieze, where it says in Turkish “It is the Hagios Giorgio’s church that has been standing long and has been restored by the Antalya Christians. The Great Martyr St. George 1863 “. The church is square and with a large room, where the Canakkale ceramics collection from the 18th and 20th centuries is, and on the 1st floor , you will find the fine photographs of the old local people.
You can easily sense, that it is a church, because some of the old things in the church have been preserved and the room exudes tranquility, light and air. A truly beautiful and unexpected place, I must say.
The courtyard itself with the large fine tree is also a nice place to be. It seems like it’s a bit cooler, even on hot days. Perhaps due to the incredible floor that is made of black and white rounded stones set up in beautiful patterns. This type of flooring is very common in Antalya and in my opinion is absolutely fantastic. I am just getting caught every time I see one.
Super interesting and relevant:
The museum is really super interesting if you are the smallest bit curious about the city, the history and the place you are vacationing in. It is almost a must see, when you are inside Kaleici anyway. The actual visit to the museum takes about 1-1½ hours, unless you have to read all the boards. So it doesn’t take a lot of time from your holiday and the beach. At the same time, there are plenty of shopping opportunities, sights and many good restaurants around the museum. So, just choose when you have finished your visit.
The Kaleici Museum is open every day from 9 am to 6 pm, except on Wednesday when closed. I gave nothing to get in. But I have heard that you now have to pay a small symbolic entrance fee of 5 lira. So it’s really cheap.
I can clearly recommend the place, if you want to expand your horizon, do something cultural, get a good knowledge of the city and the history of the population.
Kaleici Museum is located here: Barbaros Mah. Kocatepe Sok. No: 25 Kaleiçi – Antalya, 07100 Muratpaşa / Antalya, Turkey and you can find their website here.