Çay in a home against a former sultan’s wall 🇹🇷

Where: Kaleiçi (Old Town), Antalya, Türkiye 🇹🇷

It was the casual afternoon ambiance that could be felt surrounding the three ladies sitting on a veranda one Saturday in the Old Town of Antalya. And also that of their home, which was distinctly built up against an ancient fortified wall.

When I expressed interest in writing an article on their home they invited me to stay a while.

“70-80 years,” Nurcan said to me, citing how old the house was.

The three ladies were Oya, Serap and Nurcan.

“[That] was the parent’s house first,” Nurcan continued, pointing at a two-storey house across the street. And this one [came after]. Then the parents died, of course. And [Oya] is living here. And [Serap] is living [elsewhere].”

Formerly also a home of the family (across the street), several years ago, Oya sold the home.

Oya’s home in Antalya Türkiye. The house was built by her (and sister, Serap’s) parents in 1944.

As it turned out Oya and Serap were sisters. Nurcan was a close friend. All Turkish, Nurcan was born and raised in Germany. She would marry Turkish man, Bülent, who—like Serap and Oya—was born in Kaleiçi. (The historic old town of Antalya) Nurcan and Bülent met while formerly working together at a hotel in the Turkish coastal city of Kemer. And as Nurcan put it, now “retired”, the two run a boutique hotel in the Kaleiçi, Charme Boutique Hotel, comprised of nine rooms. (The hotel is scheduled to open for the season later this month) (During most of the conversation, Bülent was meandering about the property doing yard work for Oya—trimming shrubs, removing lawn debris, etc.)

Sister of Oya’s, Serap, slicing up oranges as a snack for our gathering. They shared that these were the last oranges for this season from the orange tree on their property.

The owner of the home, Oya. (Sister of Serap’s)

As Serap sliced oranges obtained from a tree on the property, Oya, Nurcan and I went outside to discuss the wall.

“Look,” Oya said pointing to a part near the ridge of the wall. It was an ancient inscription on stone in the shape of a scroll written using the Arabic script.

“It’s the name of [the sultan] Alaaddin Keykubad,” Cercun explained, translating her friend. The inscription was built during the reign of former Seljuk leader Alaaddin Keykubad. When asked if he ever resided in the area, Oya didn’t think so. So the inscription would have been tributary during his reign.

Of Antalya

The three ladies were all clearly fond of Antalya. But reminisced about how the city has changed over the years.

“There are more people than before,” Cercun told me. “Antalya was a small city before. All the people know [each other], you know, that’s why we are all friends.”

An influx of 200,000 residents to the city in the wake of the Earthquake that occurred in central-south Türkiye in 2023 was cited in the conversation. And there was sentiment that the pricing for goods were becoming higher.

Despite all the changes that have happened to the region the three have remained close friends for 40 years. Both sisters, Oya and Serap, never married in their life—an occurrence in Türkiye from their generation which would be uncommon. Both seemed content, and even joked about how their lives have gone in that area.

On a veranda in a house built in the 1940s against a wall dedicated to a former sultan are Oya, Serap and Nurcan, sharing experiences, hospitality and cheer in the Mediterranean city of Antalya, Türkiye.

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