Located on the Turkish Mediterranean coast, Antalya enjoys an average of 300 days of sunshine every year and is a recognized and firmly established tourist destination. It has a history stretching back approximately 50,000 years and has been conquered by civilizations from the Hittites to the Romans and The Ottomans. Antalya’s status as the Turkish Rivera was not the reason for my trip to Turkey in spring 2006.
The previous summer whilst at a 7 day festival in Italy, I came across a stall promoting what became the next festival I would go to. I live in the UK and let me tell you the winters here are bleak to say the least, perhaps not as severe in other countries, but there is definitely an atmosphere of moroseness, especially in the months after Christmas. Anyway, back to Turkey! In a nutshell, I went to Turkey because another festival was being organised, this in itself is a reason to travel. If you are going to see a full solar eclipse in Antalya, then well you have to go.
In November 2005, I booked the ticket for the event a snip at 60 Euros (about £50 or $30 at that time) and then knew that I had something to look forward to after the dark winter months. I only actually stayed in Antalya proper for two nights (one night each side of the festival) in the old town in a beautiful little hostel run by a lovely Turkish family, who made me feel more than welcome and were very happy at the sudden influx of foreigners. This was late March so the eclipse provided a very helpful boost to the region’s economy.
The main reason for my visit was found approximately 75km North of Antalya, Paradise Canyon, next to the Koprulu River in a national park of the same name. Let me be clear, the site of the festival was located on the line of totality, which lasted for 3.5 minutes on this occasion. The location was truly stunning with plenty of opportunity for hiking, swimming and white water rafting.
This was to be my third eclipse; I have not seen one since and am very keen to rectify this state of affairs. The climate weather was perfect and with clear sky’s forecast, the decision was obviously taken to walk up to higher ground on eclipse day. So after dancing all night and a highly invigorating morning dip in the river off we went to higher ground to see the eclipse. I don’t need to say it was incredible, but it was. If you haven’t seen one before I advise that you fix that. I also advise that if you like a good party and you appreciate nature combine all three elements by finding an eclipse festival in a country that you have not yet visited, Job done!