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Hadrian’s Gate

Attalia (modern Antalya, Turkey) was a city and bishopric of Pamphylia. Although inscriptions and remains indicate some prosperity in late antiquity, Attaleia became most important in the 9th-11th century as a naval and military center. A special force of Mardaites under a katepano attested in the 10th century may have been installed in Attalia as early as 689. Attalia was apparently capital of the Kibyrrhaiotai theme; it was certainly a main base of the Byzantine navy and a major entrepot for trade with Cyprus and the Levant. According to Ibn Hawqal (10th century) Attalia was the center for collecting taxes on goods brought by trade or piracy from Muslim lands; the revenue from this amounted to 300 pounds of gold. He also states that the city was directly subject to the emperor and paid no taxes. Attalia was a base of the imperial post that connected it with Constantinople in eight days by land and 15 by sea. Powerful Roman walls, rebuilt and extended by Leo VI, kept Attalia from capture by the Arabs; it maintained its ancient size throughout the Byzantine period. By the 11th C., Attalia had a substantial Jewish community. Attalia survived the turmoil after the battle of Mantzikert in 1071, remaining a center of imperial and Venetian trade, but by 1148 it was a Byzantine island in territory overrun by the Turks. It was taken by the Italian Aldobrandini family ca. 1204 and by the Seljuks in 1207. Attalia, a suffragan bishopric of Perge, was elevated to a metropolis by Alexios I. Attalia preserves the circuit of its walls, much of them Byzantine, and a large Justinianic cruciform church with a central tower, later transformed into a basilica.


Hıdırlık Tower

Adalia by John Carne (1836-1838).jpg

Adalia by John Carne (1836-1838)

 Byzantine Church / Kesik Minare Mosque

Kesik Minare (“Broken Minaret”) Mosque is a former Byzantine church located in the southern part of the old walled town of Antalya, the ancient Attaleia, in Pamphylia. Its roofless minaret forming one of the most prominent features of the area. The structure is currently in ruins.

The original church (Period I) was built, probably not later than the sixth or early seventh century, in the form of a square enclosing a cross, the lateral arms of which were  cut short by transverse arcades. The west arm opened into a narthex running the whole width of the building, while at the east end a single apse was flanked by large rectangular chambers, connected by doors with the spaces in the corners of the square. Galleries and a glazed clerestory were probably included in the design, and the roof appears to have been of wood, with some kind of central tower.

Subsequently (Period II) the piers inside the church were strengthened in such a way as to suggest that, while the plan remained more or less unchanged, a heavier roofing system was installed. In Period III the lateral arms of the cross were blocked by arcades supported on piers, to give the building the appearance of a basilican plan. The apse was probably rebuilt on a smaller scale at this time. At some indeterminate period a vaulted structure of cruciform plan (a martyrion?) was added at the west end. Eventually, a considerable time after the town had passed finally into Turkish hands, the church was converted for use as a mosque, though without any major structural alteration beyond the addition of a minaret to the cruciform annex.

Plan by Ballance.jpg

Plan by Ballance

Yivli Minare Mosque
 Antalya Museum


Oxford Byzantine Dictionary

“Cumanin Cami'i at Antalya: A Byzantine Church” by M. H. Ballance


Attalia Album (Byzantine Legacy Flickr)

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