is one of the coasts major resorts and has grown beyond recognition in the last 20 years. Due to its natural position on a small peninsula it has been a local stronghold for many Empires including the Ptolemaic, Seleucid, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman.
History of Alanya
It is believed the town was originally founded by Greek settlers who named it Kalonoros
which means “beautiful mountain”. In the 2nd century BC, Cilician pirates based themselves here terrorizing the whole coast until the Romans sent in Pompey to des Troy
the pirate fleet in a sea battle in 67 BC. Mark Anthony gifted the city to Cleopatra in 44 BC for her to use its resources to help build her navy. In 1221 Sultan Alaeddin Kayqubad I, from whom the city derives its name, began his building campaign resulting in many of the city's landmarks, such as the Kizilkule ( Red Tower ), Tersane ( shipyard ), and Alanya
Places to Visit in Alanya
Kizilkule and Ethnographic Museum
The Kızılkule, a 35m defence tower built with red stone and restored in 1951, remains one of the best examples of medieval military architecture. It has a pedestrian Ethnographic Museum (Etnografya Müzesi) and roof terrace overlooking the eastside of the harbour showing the old wooden houses clinging on above its slopes.
Tersane and Tophane
Along the coastal defensive wall down to the waterside is the Ottoman
shipyard, Tersane, with its 5 workshops linked by an arched roof and just beyond is another defensive tower, the Tophane.
Take the hour long winding climb up to Alanya
Castle with lots of restaurants and cafés along the way or alternatively catch the hourly bus that goes there. The castle today is an open air museum located 250 metres high on the peninsula and protected from three sides. The wall surrounding the castle is 6.5km long includes 140 towers and 400 different cisterns were built to serve the castle which aided its impregnability.
Ehmediye and Aksebe Tomb
Through the huge archway leading to Ehmediye, a small village with a cluster of Ottoman
houses sited around a decaying 6th century mosque, also has a kervansaray and the unique 13th century Aksebe Türbesi tomb.
Kaleici or Ic Kale
Inside the Iç Kale (inner castle) built in 1226 and remains very much intact, is the shell of a Byzantine
church with its fading frescoes. In the northwest corner stands the platform originally used to throw prisoners to their deaths on the rocks below and has great views of the western beaches and mountains.
Museum is filled with archaeological and ethnological artefacts, a copy of an Ottoman
living room with a beautifully carved ceiling, shutters and cupboards and a model of a village wedding. The garden at the museum, a former Ottoman
graveyard, is a welcome refuge from the summer heat.
Beaches in Alanya
Alanya, divided by the rocky peninsula, gives it its distinctive feature, with the harbour, city centre, and 8km Keykubat Beach on the eastside, and Damlatas Beach
and Cleopatra Beach to the west.
Not far from the museum is the Damlatas Cave (“Cave of the Dripping Stones”) the stalactite and stalagmite filled underground cavern.
Fosforlu and Lovers' Cave
There are other caves along the coastline at the base of the peninsula such as Fosforlu Cave (Phosphorus Cave) with shimmering green water and Aşıklar Mağarası ( Lovers’ Cave ) to which boat trips operate.
Daily Boat Tours in Alanya
The boat tours also take in Cilyard Burnu home to a ruined monastery and former mint, the Korsanlar Mağarası ( Pirate's Cave ) a long ago pirate’s hide out and to Cleopatra’s Beach where she was said to bathe whilst staying here with Mark Antony.
The Friday bazaar is well worth a visit for the bargains to be found there.
Dimcay River & Dim Cave
The Dimcay River 6km from Alanya
is a great place to visit if you want a day away from the beach. It offers activities such as rafting, canoeing or hiking; take a swim in the cool water or eat at one of the 30 plus trout restaurants along its banks. The stunning cavern of Dim Cave or Dim Mağarası, set in the mountains high above the river 11km from the town centre, has a 360m long walk way built through showing a series of limestone formations on the way to its prime attraction, a beautiful crystal clear pool. There is a small café at the entrance giving lovely views over the mountains. The dolmus leaves and returns hourly during the season.
This summer mountain village retreat or “yayla” 25km from Alanya, has a 13th century mosque and although the outside of the building is modern, the original interior fittings include woodwork of the ceilings, doors, cupboards and galleries.
There is an original fountain in the courtyard and a 650 year old fir tree. The valley, surrounding mountains and village houses, as well as the distant beach of Incekum, are all visible from viewing platforms next to the tree and mosque. There is no accommodation available here and as the dolmus is geared toward the villagers it arrives in the evening and does not leave again till the next morning. It is well worth renting a car to get here as it’s a good way to escape the oppressive heat of summer.
Restaurants, Bars and Nightclubs
There are plenty of restaurants in Alanya, albeit overpriced and the more expensive of which are on the harbour area with cheaper options being found in the back streets. The main boulevard, running parallel with the sea, divides the southern and more touristic side from the northern more original side that extends north into the mountains. The large number of bars and clubs are geared towards the package tourist, these and lots of shops can be found at the main road that runs along the port. The night life is never ending and has something for everyone.
Transportation in Alanya
From Alanya’s otogar it’s a 20 minute walk to the town centre or use the Servis shuttle bus. The dolmus run from the central terminal to the local beaches.
Accommodation in Alanya
Rooms are generally available even in high season and competition keeps the prices reasonable.