Each of the works exhibited in the Antalya Archeology Museum, which is considered one of the leading museums of not only Turkey, but also the world, is among the masterpieces of its kind. Undoubtedly the main source of this wealth is Antalya’s location which is one of the first places where human traces are seen in Anatolia, hosting the magnificent cities of Lycia, Roman and Byzantine civilizations and witnessing continuously the history of mankind. The Neanderthal skeleton fragments unearthed in Karain Cave, the magnificent sculptures found in Perga which is one of the sculpture production centers of the Antique Age, Elmalı coins which are called the ‘Treasure of the Century’, and the finds discovered during the excavations in the St. Nicholas Church, i.e. Santa Claus Church, are priceless. The Museum was selected as the ‘Museum of Year’ in 1988 by the European Council and received the ‘Excellence Award’ in 2016 thanks to its artifacts.
This piece, an AC-2nd-century copy of the sculpture made by Lysippos who is the famous sculptor of the 4th century BC, belongs to Perga ancient city, known for sculpturing. The lower part the sculpture was found during the excavations in 1980, whereas the upper part, which was illegally smuggled abroad, was brought back to its homeland in 2011 and the two parts were combined. It depicts Heracles leaning on his club after beating the Nemean lion which was impervious to all weapons. Although there are 60 copies of this sculpture, known as ‘Heracles Farnese’ from the Roman Period, the specimen exhibited in the Antalya Archaeological Museum is considered to be superior to others in terms of workmanship.
The sculptures of Roman emperors, all of which were found during excavations in the ancient city of Perga, are among the masterpieces of Roman art. The Dancer Sculpture, which is a symbol of Antalya Museum, is exhibited here besides the emperor sculptures. This sculpture, which was assembled after being discovered in pieces, is one of the most admired works of the Museum with its monumentality and fine details and vitality.
Sarcophagi in which important and wealthy people in general were placed after death in the Antique Age are also the works that reflect their understanding of art. A few floral motifs and also some very complex figures are used in the decoration on these sarcophagi. Most of the sarcophagi that can be seen in the Sarcophagi Hall belong to the ancient city of Perga. The most popular ones are the Sarcophagus of Domitias belonging to a married couple apparently not separated after death, the Heracles Sarcophagus depicting the 12 tasks of Heracles, and the Garland Sarcophagus decorated with floral motifs.
Hall of Coin, Small Artifacts and Icons
The most significant parts of this part of the Museum are ‘Elmalı Coins’ which are called the ‘Treasure of the Century’. The most precious pieces that make this collection valuable, including coins issued by the cities comprising the union against the Persians, are monumental coins, which are very rare all over the world, issued when the Greeks defeated the Persians. In the hall, you can see the coins of all civilizations in Antalya’s rich history, finds unearthed in shipwrecks, jewelry and icons, as well as the Anatolian coin minting tradition and techniques.