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
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 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
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
A section of the castle wall as seen from inside the former barracks.
The Castle Walls
zigzag structure of the castle walls can be seen down the hillside moving towards the
Red Tower and harbour area.
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
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
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
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
Taken from a sign within Alanya Castle
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 BCthe 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
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 GedikAhmedPaşa .
The SüleymaniyeMosque and Bedesten in the castle are important remains
from the ottoman period.
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.
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
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.
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
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 SüleymaniyeMosque and
Bedesten from the Ottoman period and the late Byzantine chapel known
as Arap Evliyasi.
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.”