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Alanya Castle - Alanya Kalesi

 


 

Alanya castle lies above the city on a steep peninsula about 250 metres above sea level. Its position on the peninsula makes it difficult to reach by land or sea. This made it easier to defend in years gone by. The castle was built by Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad between 1226AD and 1232AD but with contributions from the Seljuks, Byzantines and Romans many additions have been made since then.

There are structures and remains of various buildings such as churches, baths and market buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries, making it one of the best preserved castles in Turkey.

 

A street view of the Castle

A street view of the castle

A view of the Castle taken from the road that runs alongside Cleopatra's beach. There is a regular bus service with a bus stop on the right of the picture that will take you all the way to the top. Alternatively you can take a taxi or walk on foot if you're the energetic type.

 

The defensive walls of the castle are 6500 metres in length with 140 watch towers. Built with stone and mortar, they also had openings to pour out hot oil. The castle consists of 3 wall sections outer, middle and inner. The outer section stretches from the Red Tower (Kizil Kule) to the Ehmedek and the Arap Evliyasi tower and down towards the sea. The Red Tower, a key point of the fortress was the first structure to be built by the Seljuks.


The middle section runs between Arap Evliyasi tower and the citadel. It contains a bath house and the Ehmedek, a small citadel from the Seljuk period. The middle section was also home to the Suleymaniye mosque and Bedesten from the Ottoman period as well as the Byzantine chapel Arap Evliyasi.

 

The remains of a Byzantine Church

The remains of a Byzantine Church

 

Behind Bars

Former Castle Barracks

A section of the castle wall as seen from inside the former barracks.

 

The Castle Walls

The castle walls

The zigzag structure of the castle walls can be seen down the hillside moving towards the Red Tower and harbour area.

 

Inside the Castle

Inside the castle

The inner section contains many structures including barracks and a cistern from the Seljuk period. Being the last refuge and stronghold of the castle, the citadel was positioned on the highest point of the peninsula.

 

If you decide to walk the steep and winding road to the castle, you will find some small restaurants and cafes to help break the journey. You will also find a few market stalls to buy gifts and souvenirs. Shown here is a typical market stall near the castle entrance. When you arrive at the top, you will find a turnstile type entrance.  

 

     A Market Stall                               The Castle Turnstile

A Market Stall        Alanya Castle Turnstile

 

The photos were taken in April 2006 so expect it to be busier in the high season. The opening hours then were from 10 am to 7 pm and the entrance fee was 5 YTL.

The views from Alanya castle are breathtaking and well worth the effort whatever method you use to get there. Neither these photos or the high resolution originals do them justice.

  South East View from the Castle     South West View from the Castle

A South East View        A South West View

City officials applied to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) for Alanya Castle to be placed on the list of world heritage sites in 2009.

Sadly, much of the castle's walls have been damaged with graffiti over the years. In addition to the many tourists that visit the castle, a number of local people also live nearby. Not only thoughtless tourists but in some cases certain unwelcome traditions like 'declarations of love' have been written on the walls by a few of the local people.

In 2013, a new project to remove the graffiti from the walls has been established. Alanya Municipality together with Alanya Museum Directorate have begun cleaning and restoration work.

Taken from a sign within Alanya Castle

Alanya castle lies atop a steep peninsula jutting into the sea. Because this peninsula is difficult to reach by land or sea and is therefore easy to defend. For many centuries the castle rock of Alanya has been home to human settlement.

The top of the peninsula was furnished with a defensive wall for the first time in the Hellenistic period. In subsequent centuries, additions were made; the last being the magnificent that we see today. Which was built by the Seljuks.

The city was known as Korakesion (Coracesium) in ancient times. Until the 2nd century BC it retained its independence in the face of numerous attacks thanks to the strength of its geographic situation.

By the 1st century BC  the city had become a pirate haven. It was taken by the Romans under the leadership of Pompey in 65 BC.

The history of Korakesion in the Byzantine period is largely unknown. We do know that the city in this era became known as Kolonoros (Beautiful Mountain). Some structures still survive from the Byzantine period. These are the 11th century church in the citadel, the church called Arap Evliyasi, a monastery near the tip of Cilvarda point, and round towers that run in a line towards the citadel in the middle sector of the castle.

In the 13th century AD the city was in the hands of a Christian named Kir Fard who gave it to Seljuk Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad in exchange for the governorship of Akşehir. Under the Seljuks, Alanya began its most resplendent era.

The city took a new name, Alaiye, after the name of Seljuk Sultan who acquired it and it continued to be called Alaiye until the time of the Turkish Republic. Atatürk changed its name to Alanya.

With the collapse of the Seljuk dynasty, control of Alanya passed to the Karamanoğlu  dynasty in 1293. There are buildings with inscriptions in Alanya that date to this period.

In 1427 the city was sold to the Egyptian Mamluk dynasty for 5000 pieces of gold. In 1471 Alanya became part of the Ottoman empire when it was conquered by Gedik Ahmed Paşa . The Süleymaniye Mosque and Bedesten in the castle are important remains from the ottoman period.

The oldest known inscription in the castle dates to 1226 AD. The castle was built by Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad between the years of 1226 and 1232. The top of the castle rock has many examples of urban civil and religious architecture with mosques, churches, cistern, market buildings, baths, etc.

Alanya castle is also notable for preserved examples of domestic architecture from the late 19th and 20th centuries. The walls of Alanya stretch 6500 metres and have 140 towers. The walls and towers have chemin de ronde for the easy movement of troops. In addition, towers were furnished with crenallations and loopholes.

Different sections of the castle were entered through doorways surmounted by inscriptions. In addition there are several small doors or posterns allowing direct access through the castle walls.

The castle consists of three major walled sectors. The outer, middle and inner sectors. The outer sector stretches up the hill from the Red Tower (Kizil Kule) to the Ehmedek and the Arap Evliyasi tower and then again back down towards the sea. It contains such important Seljuk period buildings as the Red Tower, the shipyard and Tophane tower.

The middle sector runs between the walls of the Arap Evliyasi tower and the citadel (Ickale). In the middle sector are the Aksebe turbesi (tomb), a bathhouse and the Ehmedek, a small landward citadel all dating from the Seljuk period, the Süleymaniye Mosque and Bedesten from the Ottoman period and the late Byzantine chapel known as Arap Evliyasi.

The citadel is located on the highest point of the peninsula at its southwest. It was the last refuge and stronghold for the entire castle. As such it always seems to have had a military character. It contains many structures including a palace belonging to the sultan or other important personage, barrack depots and cistern from the Seljuk period, an 11th century Byzantine church and a cistern with the colourful name of Adamatacagi, “Hurling Place.”

 

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