The other day I sat and looked at photos in our family album. All the images were from my mother in law and arrived pell-mell in a large bag. Gosh there were many!! It was a bit of a task to put them in order and find out, which year they were from. But it was SO fun to get a sneak peek and see Antalya (and a Turkish family in Denmark and Turkey) up through the 70s and 80s. Family Photos have the course to evolve, and it’s always quite entertaining to look back and maybe laugh a little. But it was really very interesting to look at the landscape in and around Antalya and see how much has happened.
My husband has often told me how Antalya looked the first time he went there in the early 80s and later, when he lived there for several years in the 90s. I still have a hard time really imagin it, but development has been immense. From being a town of reasonable size in the 80s, with about 180,000 inhabitants, large green areas, olive and orange groves as far as the eye could see, till now over 1 million inhabitants. Orange groves have now been replaced by large and high districts, where the areas around the beaches of Lara and Konyaalti is a central part of the city. Naturally it’s necessary, when you have a city that evolves, but still quite a shame I think. Just the scent of thousands of orange trees must have been intoxicating .At least that’s my experience from the trees in my father in laws garden.
I would really love to have experienced the city at the time – green and open, but I first got there in 99 and by them the city was already expanding. You can still see the oranges around the city (but the plantations are just further away from the city). You will still find statues with a large orange in several places in the town. A bit silly maybe, but since Turkey is one of the largest exporters of citrus fruits, the orange has aspecial meaning for the city and area. The Antalya region is there, where they mainly cultivate mandarins, oranges and lemons due to the warm Mediterranean climate. Today rates are also much on the avocados, but not for export.
The orange first came to Antalya around the 1930s, when the first many orange groves were planted on the outskirts of the city. The citrus Institute, which opened in 1936, was promoting cultivation of the orange, so it was widespread and used throughout Turkey. The bitter oranges (which is still used for marmalade, perfume, scented water and pickled oranges as Antalya is famous for) have grown in the region from around d. 7th century and were valued at Topkapi Palace already in Ottoman times. In Egypt, the orange called “Addalia” – the ancient name of Antalya, while the name “Portakal” (Turkish for orange) comes from Portugal.
But the orange is still the city’s official landmarks and is represented in the regions logo. Every year there is a great film festival, Antalya Altin Portakal Film Festivali promoting new films from home and abroad). It has lasted since 1963 and is considered as Turkeys answer to the Oscars.
I honestly admit that the times my father in law has travelled up here for Christmas and almost had the whole suitcase full of delicious, freshly picked oranges, is magic times. The oranges are so sweet and delicious, that nothing compares to it. They are the best ones I can get. That is truly something special and very precious for me (and a good reason why you should go to Antalya in December and January)..