Hadrian's Gate

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Antalya's most beautiful monument is undoubtedly the monumental gate leading into the Kaleiçi. It is called the Hadrian's Gate (tr. Hadriyanüs Kapisi) or the Triple Gate (tr. Üçkapılar). The first name is a memorial of the ancient history of the city, when, in the second century AD, it was visited by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, while the second term refers to the appearance of the monument, which has three archways.

Hadrian's Gate was built in 130 AD to commemorate the visit of Emperor Hadrian in Attaleia, as Antalya was known in this period. It was incorporated in the walls surrounding the city, and has become a major gateway to the city.

Fantastic stories are told about the gate, like the one about Makeda, Queen of Sheba, who drove through the gate, and then rested in Aspendos, on her way to a meeting with King Solomon. However, there is not a grain of truth in it since these events, even if they had been real, happened in the tenth century BC, and therefore long before the construction of the gate.

Two towers, standing on both sides of the gate, come from different periods of history. Southern tower (the one on the left looking from the Atatürk Boulevard) is from the Roman era, but it was, most probably, built independently from the gate. The architectural distinctness of the tower seems to confirm this theory. This structure is called the tower of Julia Sancta, and its ancient origins are testified by a stone inscription.

The northern tower (on the right) was rebuilt during the reign of the Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubat I, that is, in the first half of the thirteenth century AD. Only its lowest part has been preserved from Roman times. There is also an inscription on this towers, written in Old Turkish language, but in Arabic script.

The entablature above the colonnades extending on both sides of the gate has a height of 1.28 meters and consists of an architrave, a low frieze decorated with floral motifs and a cornice. The rich decoration of the cornice represents, among others, the heads of lions. The barrel vaults over the archways are decorated with caissons, each of which has a distinct decoration - floral motifs and rosettes.

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