Alanya, formerly Alaiye, is a beach resort city and a component district of Antalya Province on the southern coast of Turkey, in the country's Mediterranean Region, 130 kilometres east of the Antalya.
Because of its natural strategic position on a small peninsula into the Mediterranean Sea below the Taurus Mountains, Alanya has been a local stronghold for many Mediterranean-based empires, including the Ptolemaic, Seleucid, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. Alanya's greatest political importance came in the Middle Ages, with the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm under the rule of Alaeddin Kayqubad I, from whom the city derives its name. His building campaign resulted in many of the city's landmarks, such as the Kızıl Kule (Red Tower), Tersane (Shipyard), and Alanya Castle.
The Mediterranean climate, natural attractions, and historic heritage make Alanya a popular destination for tourism, and responsible for nine percent of Turkey's tourism sector and thirty percent of foreign purchases of real estate in Turkey. Tourism has risen since 1958 to become the dominant industry in the city, resulting in a corresponding increase in city population. Warm-weather sporting events and cultural festivals take place annually in Alanya.
Alanya in Byzantine period was the seat of the the Bishop of Kalonoros (as the town was named that time) under the Metropolitan of Side.
Until the year 1922 in Alaia (later changed in Alanya) about 2.000 Greek Orthodox Christians lived and they used as parochial churches: The Archangels Michael and Gabriel Church (above) and St. Constantin & Helen (down), both in the fortress. An other church, in the honor of St. George, about 10 kilom. N.W. over the town on the mount was used for special ecclesiastical events. The building of this Church from the Christmas of 2012 for two years was using for the monthly Divine Liturgies by the Orthodox Christians living in Alanya's area. Now days, until a new church will be finished, the Divine Liturgies are celebrating at Alanya's Cultural Center.
The mediaeval castle is located 250 meters high on a rocky peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean Sea, which protects it from three sides.
It is surrounded by the wall 6.5 km in length that has 140 towers on it. Most of the castle was built in the 13th century under the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm following the city's conquest in 1220 by Alaeddin Keykubad I as part of a building campaign that included the Kızıl Kule. The castle had several gates. The major ones had beautiful painting on them. Nowadays they are destroyed.
There are some ancient buildings inside if the castle -brick cisterns and Byzantine churches. A lot of villas were built inside in the XIX century.
Today the building is an open air museum.
Red Tower (KIZIL KULE)
The Kızıl Kule (Red Tower), a main tourist attraction in the Turkish city of Alanya, is situated in the port. The building is considered to be the symbol of the city, and is even used on the city's flag.
Construction of the building began during the reign of the Anatolian Seljuk Sultan Ala- ddin Kay Qubadh I and was completed in 1226. The sultan brought the accomplished architect Ebu Ali Reha from Aleppo, Syria to Alanya to complete the building. The name derives from the more red color brick he used in its construction. So well-made was it that it remains one of the finest examples of medieval military architecture. Though more preservation has gone into the building, it clearly is the best preserved Seljuk building in the city. The octagonal red brick tower protects the Tersane shipyard. In 1979 the tower was open for visitors.
Damlatash Cave (DAMLATAŞ MAĞARASI)
The cave is situated in the center of Alanya. The name DAMLATAŞ can be translated in English as "stone in drops" (DAMLA-stone and TAŞ- drop).
The cave was found in 1948 while building works in the port. Amazing 15 000 year stalactites and stalagmites were inside. From those times the cave was under protection and numerous studies began.
Together with its natural beauty DAMLATAŞ Cave is also known for its great atmosphere that makes people who have sick of asthma better. If you have such an illness you should definitely visit Damlataş Cave when you are in Alanya.
DIM CAVE (DİM MAĞARASI)
The cave is a natural formation that offers amazing scenery of stalagmite and stalactite for the visitors.
There is a small salt lake in the middle.
This place was well-known among local hunters as a shelter.
It was introduced to the visitors in 1998 and it is the second biggest cave known to the visitors.
The DOCKYARD (TERSANE)
Its construction started in 1227, six years later than the Sultan's conquest of the city, near Kızılkule and finished in one year. The Side of the dockyard overlooking the sea and having five cells with arches is 56.5 metres long and it is 44 metres in depth. The area selected for the dockyard was planned to have the most sunlight. The statement on the front door of the dockyard has the Sultan Keykubat's armorial bearings and is decorated with badges.
The dockyard of Alanya was the first one of Selcuks in the Mediterranean, Alaaddin Keykubat, who had the dockyard of Sinop built before, was given the little of "the Sultan of the two seas" with the opening of the dockyard of Alanya. On one side of the dockyard there is a small mosque, and a guard room on the other. There is a well that has dried up in time in one of the cells. You can go to the dockyard by boats or on foot passing the walls near Kızılkule and can enter the dockyard without any payments.
There's a gun house next to the dockyard. It was built with the aim of defence on a rock ten meters above the sea level. It's also known that cannons for battleships were made in the three-storey and rectangular building made of stone blocks and constructed in 1277.
There have been some efforts made by the Ministry of culture and the Municipality of Alanya to make the Dockyard and the Gun House naval museums.
It was rebuilt and began to be known as the "middle castle" during the Selcuks' Era, replacing the little one on the northern Side of the citadel left by the Byzantine Empire. It's clear from the inscription on its front door that it was built in 1227. It's thought to have been named after the master builder "Ehmedek" of the Selcuks' Era.
The middle castle consisting of two parts with three towers is located on a strategically important place and at the same time it can protect the inner one where the Sultan's palace is. The walls of the towers we can see today were built during the Byzantine Era, carving rocks. The three cisterns in the middle castle are still used today.
SULEYMANYE MOSQUE (SÜLEYMANİYE CAMİSİ)
It was built just outside İçkale on the top of the castle in 1231 when the city was being reconstructed by Alaaddin Keykubat, the Sultan of Selcuks. However the mosque was not in good condition in the following years and it was rebuilt by Kanuni Sultan Süleyman in the 16th century during the Ottoman Era.. The mosque with a single minaret is known as Alaaddin, Kale or Sülaymaniye. The building is made of rubble stones and it is square in shape.
It has a brick dome based on an octagonal frame. Fifteen little earthenware jars were placed in the part functioning as the hanger of the dome in order to ensure its acoustics. That quality is felt during religious practice, the final public place is found below three brick domes on a four-foot basis. The covers of doors and windows are fine examples of wood carving of the Ottoman.
It's in the citadel, near The Süleymaniye Mosque. It's thought to have been built in the 14th or the 15th century during the Karamanoğulları period as a bazaar or an inn. It's a rectangular building made of stone blocks. It has 26 rooms and a courtyard that is 35 metres long and 13 metres wide. Today this historical building is used as a hotel, a restaurant and a cafe.
The shops of the medieval times, overlooking the courtyard are now redesigned as hotel rooms. There's a big cistern at the end of the stairs in the garden. The garden overlooks the above walls on one side, and the Taurus Mountains, the Mediterranean and the beach on the other side. Bedesten can be visited with the permission of the person who runs it.
THE TOMB OF SITTI ZEYNEP (SİTTİ ZEYNEP TÜRBESİ)
It's on a rock on the way to the citadel. It's thought to be of the Selcuks or Ottoman period. It is square in shape and consists of two rooms, there is a long sarcophagus and the other room is empty. Evliya Çelebi wrote that the building was a lodge of Bektaşi Dervishes, we have no certain information about Sitti Zeynep. The name of the pious foundation of the tomb was Sitti Zeynep Gin't Zeynül Abidin" in that foundation's records of the Ottoman Empire during Kanuni Sultan Süleyman period.
The person who had a tomb there is thought to have been an enlightened mystic.
Three tombs, two meters long each, were carved in the rock where the tomb is situated in the antique era. Antique tombs were once used as water tanks.
HIDIRELLEZ CHURCH (HIDRELLEZ KİLİSESİ) ST.GEORGE ORTHODOX CHURCH
It is within the boundaries of Hacı Mehmetli Village in Hıdır İlyas, ten kms far from the center of Alanya.
The church that is thought to have been founded on a slope overlooking the Mediterranean at the beginning of the 19th century is used for worshipping by Christian and Muslim visitors today. It is rectangular in shape, its roof is built of brick, its walls are made of stone and it has a little apse. There's a mezzanine floor wooden decorated in the church. The frescos on the walls have been deteriorated. It's understood from the inscription that the church was repaired in 1873. The inscription being exhibited in Alanya Museum was written in Turkish (the language of Karamans), using the Greek alphabet. The church was closed when the people of Orthodox Church living in Alanya and speaking Turkish, went to Greece because of the exchange in 1924. Hıdırellez Church that has got a water source nearby is also known as the Church of Antalya Kaleiçi. Entrance to ruins is free.
((NOTICE: WE MUST COMPLETE ABOUT RESTORATION of the church building 2015.))
One of the 16 quarters existing around Alanya, during Byzantine period (then "Kalonoros"), was Naula.
Naula (sources: Mahmutlar Belediye & Akmedanmed) – has some ruins dating back to the Byzantium period such as a theatre, a temple, a columned street, two observatory towers, a hole used to keep wild animals, two fountains, all of which reflects Roman life. Naula, mentioned as the port of Leatres in the ancient sources, lies concealed behind the summer resort houses near the coastal road in Mahmutlar and, surrounded by banana plantations, the site has two-storied tower-like structures rising upon the fortifications. The city walls were built from slate stone and brick masonry. Four churches identified within the city are noteworthy for their monumental size. Church A, all that remains is its apse wall, which carries traces of wall paintings. Church B, its apse, south and north walls remain still standing. This monumental structure has a length of approximately 20 m and the walls are plastered and traces of wall paintings are discernible in places. A niche in the southeast wall of the apse should have been used as a prothesis. To the west of the naos and off the axis of this church is a two-storied building with windows. Church C is located today within the garden of a village house. Only its apse is standing and there is no other evidence regarding this structure. Church D is located in the back yard of a village house, near the banana plantation. Only its apse and part of the north wall remain and the apse has a twin window. Tesserae on the ground suggest the presence of an original mosaic floor, concealed beneath the earth filling. Our first observations and impressions based on the materials and masonry techniques are that the church and the city walls were constructed at the same time. The fifth church, whose existence is known from the sources, should be identified next year.
Les mer: http://www.mahmutlar.cc/en/historie/
Researchers have managed to date back the history of Syedra to the 7th century BC. There was a continuity of the settlement in the area until the 13th century AD. Syedra experienced the period of its greatest prosperity in the 2nd century AD, when the city walls were erected, defining an extensive area on the top of the hill. It is estimated that at that time Syedra's population reached 4500 inhabitants. Later, the city declined and the fortifications were rebuilt in order to better protect its smaller area.
Syedra first appeared in historical records in the first century BC. The most memorable moment of the city's history was in 194 AD when a letter of commendation from Roman Emperor Septimius Severus arrived to the city. The Emperor praised the courage of Syedra inhabitants who bravely fought off numerous pirate attacks. In order to commemorate this event the contents of this letter were engraved in stone. This inscription is currently displayed, along with some other artifacts from Syedra, in the Archaeological Museum in Alanya.
Among the most important buildings that have been preserved, in better or worse condition, in Syedra are impressive baths, a gymnasium, a colonnaded street, five water cisterns, an ancient temple, a Byzantine church and an olive-oil workshop. Unfortunately, almost nothing has remained from an ancient theatre. However, the ruins of houses and workshops from the Roman period are still visible. There is also an interesting cave where baptisms took place in early Christian era. It was decorated with frescoes, fragments of which can still be seen on the walls.
Syedra in Byzantine period was the seat of a Bishop under the Metropolitan of Side.
Antiochia ad Cragum
Historically the site with its harbor served as one of the havens for the Cilician pirates who operated from these shores and preyed upon shipping and coastal communities of the eastern Mediterranean during the first half of the first century BC. Pompey the Great ended the pirate scourge in 67 BC with a naval victory at nearby Coracesium (Alanya).
The emperor Gaius ceded control of Rough Cilicia to a client-king of Rome, Antiochus IV of Commagene, for a brief period in AD 38, and was restored to power in 41 under Claudius. He ruled continuously until AD 72, during which period he founded the self-named city. After his removal by Vespasian in 72, the city, along with the rest of Rough Cilicia, fell under direct Roman rule as part of the enlarged province of Cilicia.
The ancient city of Antiochia ad Cragum occupies sloping ground that descends from the Taurus range down to the sea. In spite of the fact that the city is coastal, its center lies several hundred meters above sea level, protected on several sides by cliffs and steep slopes that offered protection from sea borne attack. The portion of the site where ancient architecture is still preserved lies within the confines of the modern village of Güney and extends over 24 ha in area. Perched on the city’s highest inhabited point, the Imperial Temple overlooks the city center.
The temple mound lies at the site’s highest point overlooking the city center. Most of the architectural material of the temple is preserved but exists in a collapsed state. Since 2005, ACARP has been methodically removing the blocks scattered on the mound and transporting them to adjacent blockfields for study. The removal of the blocks allows excavation to reveal the buried podium and foundation structure of the temple.
Antiochia ad Cragum is located in the village of Güney, approximately 20 km southeast of Gazipaşa, where the project headquarters is located and where participants stay. Gazipaşa itself lies approximately 40 km southwest of the tourist resort town of Alanya.
SHARAPSA INN (ŞARAPSA HANI)
It's a building from the 13th Century, 13 km to the west of Alanya on the highway. The caravanserai was built by Gıyaseddin Keyhusrev the Sultan of Seljuk between the years 1236-1246 on the historical Silk Way. The building which was built on a piece of land about 1000 square metres has walls built of bulky cut stones. The Caravanserai which was one of the most important accommodation points of the Middle Ages is to be used as amusement centre today.
THE CITADEL OF ALARA (ALARAHAN)
The Citadel of Alara was built in 1232, 37 kilometres westward from Alanya on the demand of Alaaddin Keykubat, the Sultan of Selcuks and it is 9 kilometres far from the sea. The aim of the citadel that was on the Silk Road was to protect the crowds stopped at the inn near the Alara creek. It's built on a steep hill of 200 meters up to 500. It looks magnificent. It consists of an inner and outer part. A dark entrance-hall of 120 steps enters the citadel. It is important to be careful about the wild plants and ruins, since it is not organized as a place to be visited.
There are tunnels made by carving rock in the citadel. There is a small palace, the rooms of the workers, a mosque and a Turkish bath in the ruins. Those who would like to go to the top of the citadel through the walls and paths have to climb at least one hour and be equipped properly. However, the view from the top is worth climbing.
ALARA INN (ALARAHAN)
It's located on a tableland 800m far away the Citadel of Alara on the Alara Stream. Whole caravanserai has been built of cut bulky stones on a land of piece of 2 thousand square metres. The inn, built in 1231, was restored a few years ago and is to be used as restaurant and shop centre. The guard's room keeps its specialties today. The second door of the caravanserai opens out to the guest rooms. There are small rooms next two sides of the long hall. There is a fountain, a small mosque and a bathhouse in the caravanserai. The signatures of the stone craftsmen which searched out during the reparation are very conspicuous. Keykubat said in the epigraphs in Alanya he was, "the sultan of the land and the two seas, the owner of the Arabic and Persian countries" and in the epigraphs in Alara Inn he got the titles, the conqueror of Greek, Damascus, Armenian and European countries." Alara Inn must have been paid for visiting. You can have your meal in the restaurant in the Inn as well as the small eating houses on countryside and you can swim till mealtime.