This museum used to be a bit of a dump, one of those monolithic Turkish state-controlled institutions where none of the exhibit labels were written in English, in fact many of them not written at all, and time-serving security men lounging about over glasses of tea or playing backgammon. I could have walked out with a marble sarcophagus on my back and nobody would have noticed, or if they had then a few million lire hush-money would have done the trick.
But in 1985 the museum was completely revamped and now it’s truly world-class. there are wonderful antiquities from all around Lycia and Pamphylia on display, from prehistoric times through to the Greeks and Romans, with everything from cylinder seals to statues of emperors.
For me it’s become a place of pilgrimage and I drop in every year to remind myself of what it is that draws me back to Turkey like a magnet. If I ever manage to get things sorted out I’ll settle somewhere along the Mediterranean coast, maybe Alanya or Side a bit further to the east, in a small villa with vines and ivy at the front, a vegetable patch at the back and a spacious balcony to read Conrad on as I sip a G&T before feeding the cat and going for a dip.