Turkey's southern Mediterranean province of Antalya, dubbed the country's tourism capital, as its world-renowned beaches and historical richness attract thousands of tourists every year, continues to host visitors in the winter season, with 70% of them being foreign tourists, mostly from Russia, at its ski center.
Antalya, a gateway to Turkey's southern Mediterranean region with a resort and yacht-filled old harbor, attracts foreign tourists due to its sea, sand, sun, historical and natural charms, cultural structures, ancient landmarks and luxury accommodation options.
It also has four different skiing tracks for novices, intermediate and professional skiers and snowboarders, each of which allows them to ski or snowboard for 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) without interruption.
Tourists can enjoy the sun and sea on the beach while skiing at a ski center barely 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the city center, where snow thickness has topped 1 meter due to recent snowfall.
Osman Özaydın, a ski coach in charge of the ski center tracks, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the ski season started earlier this year than in previous years.
"Some 70% of our guests are foreigners. We have guests mainly from Russia, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Great investment has been made in our facilities. We have seven ski tracks. We also have 4,500 and 3,200-meter tracks," he informed.
Kristina Malova, a Russian tourist, said she enjoyed her first visit to the ski center at Antalya's Saklıkent – which means "hidden city" in Turkish.
Noting that Saklıkent is nothing like any other mountain she has visited, she added: "I struggled with skiing at first, but I got help from the coach. It is very comfortable to spend a vacation in Turkey as we were able to swim and ski."
Another visitor from the Netherlands, Vedat Koşan said they used to ski in Switzerland and Austria every year, but this time they chose Antalya.
Stating that Antalya's climate is very different, Koşan said: "The temperature in Antalya (city center) was 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 degrees Fahrenheit). We went to the beach and then came here to ski. We learned that there will be snow until April. So, we will come again in April."
"We enjoy the snow. It is very surprising to go swimming and skiing on the same day," said Selma Karabelen from Belgium.