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Antalya has been settled since pre-historic times. Evidence of human habitation dating back to the early Paleolithic age (150,000-200,000) years has been discovered in the Karain caves, 30 km (19 mi) of the north of Antalya city. Other finds dating back to the Mesolithic (Beldibi caves), Neolithic (Bademağacı Höyüğü) and more recent periods show that the area has been populated by various civilizations throughout the ages.
There are long periods shrouded in mystery until records from the Hittite period refer to the area as part of the “Lukka Lands” (from which “Lycia” is derived) and document the lively interaction going on between provinces in the second millennium BC. Like their descendants, the Lukkans or Lycians were known for their seamanship (especially their piracy) and demonstrated a fiery independent spirit. Neither the Hittites, nor the Kingdom of Arzawa on the west coast, could ever keep them at peace for long. Legends of Ancient Greece tell us that these communities grew into independent cities, the area as a whole came to be called Pamphylia. A federation of these cities was set up. There are also tales of the migration of the Akha clan to the area after the Trojan war and eventually Greek settlements were built along the coast and inland.
Before the Ancient Roman conquest Lycia was a polity with the first democratic constitution in the world, which later partly inspired the American Constitution.
Antalya was part of the Lydian kingdom from the 7th century BC until Lydia was defeated by the Persians during the battle of Sardis in 546 BC. The Macedonian commander Alexander the Great ended Persian rule and in around 334 BC conquered the cities of the area one by one—except for Termessos and Sillyonwhich managed to repulse his armies in 333 BC. After the death of Alexander in 323 BC, a long battle erupted between his generals that lasted until 188 BC.
The reign of the kingdom of Pergamon began with the defeat of the Seleucid army at Apamea. Shortly after this the city of Antalyawas founded. When Attalos III, the last king of Pergamom, died in 133 BC he left his kingdom to the Ancient Romans. At this time the area is dominated by pirates based in small cities along the coast.
From the 7th century Muslim Arabs started to be dominant in the Levant region and Antalya later played a part in the Christian Crusades against Islam. The army of Louis VII sailed from Antalya for Syria in 1148, and the fleet of Richard I of England rallied here before the conquest of Cyprus. In the late 11th and early 12th Century much of the area of the modern province fell to the Turks especially the Danishmends. From 1120 to March 1207, Antalya was again under the sovereignty of Byzantines.
The area was conquered by the Seljuk Turks and recaptured by the Byzantines again and again from 1076 onwards as the Seljuks strove to establish a trading base on the Mediterranean. At one stage Turkish lord Kilij Arslan had a palace here. In 1220 Byzantine rule ended for the last time and the city was quickly divided into Christian and Muslim sections, the Christian trading communities including Venetians and Genoese. Alanya also grew and throve during the Seljuk period.
There are many archaeological sites in the province including three National Parks and three Specially Protected Areas.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]