Another expedition day in Antakya
During the summer for some of us Antakya and the region of Hatay can be a little too hot but the good part is there are places where you can hide.
One of these places is the “Harbiye Selale” or Harbyie waterfalls, a place where you can enjoy a perfect breakfast, lunch or dinner eating in a forest surrounded by waterfalls. Some of the restaurants even have the tables in the water so you can cool down. The even greatest part is that this place is in the limitrophe area of Antakya, by bus we travelled just 20 min from the old city center. From the bus station to the restaurants area you can also have some shopping, homemade bay or olive soap, jams and all kind of souvenirs. When reaching down you will find few restaurants, all built in the most natural style.
After trying all of them I can only say that it doesn’t matter where you will find a free table, the experience will still be amazing.
For breakfast usually you will receive the usual tea with a lot of salads, delicious tasting butter and mulberry jam eggs, and a big selection of bread, either with local seeds, with pepper pasta or the well known pita. Having a breakfast in this place for sure will disconnect you from all your problems and thoughts and will give you energy for a fresh new day.
After breakfast we took the bus back to city and went straight to Hatay Archeology Museum, nowadays the world largest mosaic museum.
This is a place where you can spend 2 hours, discovering the history of this region, in a very interactive and modern museum. After the museum we visited St Pieter Church, a cave church built into the rock in Mount Starius. This is the place where is said that St Pieter first started to preach about Christianity. The entrance is refurbished but inside you will find some of old part that were preserved during the years. From inside you will see that there are some tunnels used back then to escape during the invasions. Apart from the spiritual side from here you can also have a beautiful view of Antakya.
History is good, religion the same but we had to eat something so we stopped in Affan Kahvesi to have the famous haytali, a desert made of rose syrup, sugar, starch, ice cubes and ice cream. The experience of eating a desert here will take you back some years as the building is not refurbished just because they want to keep the old Turkish culture alive. Worth to mention that that this place is on the first gas lighted street in the world.
From here, we went to visit Habibi Neccar Mosque, first mosque built in Anatolia. This place served during the years also as an orthodox church. The most interesting thing is that people in this city are very open with different religions and can love together as a family. On the way to the mosque we passed a synagogue and nearby there is also the Catholic Church. Just to continue on this idea in Habibi Neccar Mosque there are 3 tombs of the first Christians from Antakya.
The day continued with a little walk in the city center and a little rest before a well deserved dinner in a konak restaurant namely also Konak Antakya.