• What is the Hadrian’s Gate – The Three Gates ? 

Historical Place.

  • History of Hadrian’s Gate – The Three Gates 

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 tower, written in Old Turkish language, but in Arabic script.

Hadrian’s Gate was discovered for the Western world by Francis Beaufort who, in 1817, published its description in his diary of the trip along the southern coast of Asia Minor. This text contains information about a higher level of the gate. However, it must have been destroyed later in the 19th century, as other European visitors to Antalya, Charles Texier (in the 30s of the 19th century) and Lanckoronski, were no longer able to describe its exact appearance.

At the end of the 19th century, the state of Hadrian’s Gate preservation was described the Polish explorer Karol Lanckoronski in these words: Today it is buried to a depth of several feet, and only visible from the outside, because its internal façade is surrounded by new buildings. The monument is relatively well preserved thanks to the special circumstances i.e. that it has long been obscured by a wall that covered the façade of the exterior and the gap was barely made ​​a couple of years ago. To the same researcher we also owe a precise description of the entire visible structure and its accurate drawings and plans, made by his companion, George Niemann.

Although it may be hard to believe, the total exposure of Hadrian’s Gate and its renovation took place only in the 50s of the twentieth century, over 60 years after the visit of Lanckoronski. Currently, it is one of the highlights of a visit to Antalya and the place where almost every tourist wants to take a commemorative photo.

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