Facts Turkish Name Alanya
Number of tourists 110.000
When books are written it is not all towns that can brag of having pirates, queens and great war lords as main characters – Alanya can! In its early years Alanya was a small town discovered by pirates where the inhabitants existed mainly by farming and trading. The town, which at that time was named Coracesium, did not really start to grow until the arrival of Alaaddin Keykubat who, after five years of trying,finally conquered the town in 1226. He soon brought about the final construction of Alanya Castle and changed the name of the town to Alaiye, which means the town of Alaaddin.
The name Alanya did not appear until 1934 when Turkey’s president at that time,Mustafa Kemal ATATÜRK, visited the town. He did not like the name Alaiye and changed it to Alanya. Other prominent visitors who should be mentioned are Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and the Roman Emperor Mark Antony. According to legend, they spent their honeymoon in Alanya, after which Mark Antony gave the town to his wife as a present. Thereafter she had the many huge forests felled and the wood sent back to Egypt, where it was used for the construction of warships.
Today, Alanya has grown from strength to strength and developed into one of the most popular travel destinations in Turkey. The locals support themselves from tourism and work hard during the tourist season, from the beginning of April to the end of October. Many people come to work in Alanya during the summer, leaving their families behind in their villages. The winter is spent mainly in relaxation and visiting family in other parts of Turkey.
Facts Turkish Name Alanya Kalesi
Opening Hours 10:00 to 19:00
High above the rest of the city is the old castle. It is located approximately 250 metres above sea level and so the views from there are breathtaking.
It is difficult to confirm the exact foundation date of the castle but contributions from the Romans, Byzantines and Seljuks are there to be seen. However the biggest influence on the size and shape of the castle can be ascribed to the Seljuk Sultan Alaaddin Keykubat.
A 6km town wall with 140 watch towers winds around the castle. It made it almost impossible for would-be attackers to go undiscovered. On the way up the winding and sometimes very steep road you will find small cafes and cozy restaurants.
Near the sultan palace you can visit a church/mosque which is a very important relic of the Christian and Islamic heritage of the town.
You can also visit the area of the castle where many prisoners from the castle’s dungeons met their fate. When the dungeons became overcrowded, the prisoners who had been there the longest were packed together on a little plateau at the edge of the castle. One by one the prisoners pushed each other over the edge until only one was left. He then got three shots at throwing a stone over the edge and into the sea. If he failed he too was pushed over the edge with certain death as a result!
The road to the castle is very narrow and busy and therefore care should be taken when walking.
Facts Turkish Name Tershane
The shipyard, consisting of five docks and constructed in 1226 by the Sultan Alaaddin Keykubat, is 56 metres long and 44 metres deep. The entrance to the shipyard is behind the Red Tower. The shipyard also contains offices and a little mosque located on the left of the entrance.
At night all these buildings are illuminated creating a fantastic sight.
The shipyard can be visited at closer quarters by renting a small fishing boat. A trip around the rocky peninsula, where you can see the shipyard, the lovers cave, the pirates cave and the phosphorous cave.
Facts Turkish Name Keykubat Heykeli
The Statue of Sultan Keykubat stands at the western approaches of Alanya and is one of the first sights greeting the buses arriving from the airport. The Seljuk Sultan ruled Alanya in the 13th century. The statue shows Alaaddin Keykubat astride his horse ordering the Seljuk troops to attack.
Alaaddin Keykubat is mainly known for the construction of The Red Tower and the completion of Alanya Castle.
Facts Turkish Name Damlatas Magarasi
Opening Hours 10:00 to 18:00
During blasting work for the construction of Alanya Harbour in 1948, engineers found the Damlatas cave. Today the cave is one of the town's most popular attractions. The cave has a constant temperature of 22-23 degrees Celsius and humidity level of more than 90 %. There are also stalagmites and stalactites which are several thousand years old. The climate in the cave is said to be therapeutic for those with respiratory problems, especially asthma sufferers. Doctors can prescribe visits to the cave and time is reserved every morning for their patients.
The Red Tower
Facts Turkish Name Kizil Kule
Opening Hours 10:00 to 18:00
After five years of battle, Sultan Alaaddin Keykubat finally conquered Alanya and had The Red Tower built primarily to defend the town's shipyard. The Red Tower is one the town's main attractions and landmarks. It is illustrated on Turkish bank notes with a value of 250,000 trl.
The octagonal (eight sided) tower was finished in 1226 and is 33 metres high with five floors. The lowest floor these days often houses exhibitions, for example historical collections of fabrics, work tools, weapons or other items from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods.
Characteristic of the Red Tower are the oblong embrasures, which can be seen on all sides of the tower. Soldiers in the tower could defend themselves without being hit and, if attackers approached too closely, boiling water or other unpleasant substances could be poured out through the small openings.
Facts Turkish Name Ataturk Heykeli
As in all other Turkish towns, the main street in Alanya is named after the country’s first president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. At the big roundabout in the main street, not far from the post office, you will find the Atatürk statue.
Beside Atatürk are two small children – a symbol of Turkey's future. Beneath the statue is written Peace in the country, peace in the world.
Because of its strategic location, the statue has become a popular meeting point. It also provides a great photographic opportunity for you to be pictured beside Atatürk, Father of the Turks.
Following the renovation of the harbour and parking area in front of The Red Tower, another, much smaller, statue of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was erected.
Facts Turkish Name Alarahan
From Centre 35 km.
Entrance Fees Free
One of the most interesting but unfortunately often forgotten sights of the Alanya area is Alara Castle near the town of Alarahan. The impressive castle is built on a conical shaped rock, which is so steep that all potential conquerors were frightened by the sight alone.
The only way to get to the castle is through secret tunnels in the rock. Even today these tunnels are the only way up. Hence a torch, sensible shoes and great care are essential for those who want to climb through the tunnels all the way to the castle, which takes about 45 minutes. As an incentive and reward, a fantastic castle and magnificent view awaits you at the top.
Below Alara Castle are the Alara River and the Alarahan Caravansary, which dates back to circa 1200. In the past the caravans made a final stop here before they reached the ocean and the town of Alaiye – nowadays called Alanya.
Facts Turkish Name Dim Magarasi
From Centre 10 km.
Opening Hours 10:00 to 18:00
Not far from Alanya is one of Turkey's largest caves open to the public. The total length of the cave is nearly 400 metres and the highest point is approximately 230 metres above sea level.
After entering, a large 310 metre cavern opens up on your left and to the right there is a smaller but no less interesting cave.
The Dim Cave is equipped with ingeniously constructed footbridges that allow you to move around without destroying the numerous fragile stalagmites throughout the cave. At the far end of the cave there is a little lake.
Facts Turkish Name Siedra
From Centre 23 km.
The ancient town of Syedra is found among banana fields located near the main road to southern Turkey. Like most ancient towns on the south coast it is divided into two parts - the harbour area from where all supplies were transported into the countryside and the inner city. In the inner city the population lived well protected by the thick city walls and the soldiers of the city.
By driving carefully it is possible to reach the first city walls by car and from this point there is only a couple of hundred metres to the inner city which is situated 240 metres above sea level. There is a fantastic view over the whole area and when the weather is good it is actually possible to see all the way to Alanya.
Like hundreds of other ancient towns in Turkey, Syedra is neither fully excavated nor explored. The reason for this is lack of qualified personnel and finances.
However the town walls and the fascinating aqueducts which lead to the water cisterns give a good impression of ancient Syedra and are well worth a visit.
Facts Turkish Name Iotap/Aytap
From Centre 30 km.
Entrance Fees Free
The town of Iotap dates back to 40BC and is named after King Antiochus’ wife. Today the main road between Alanya and Gazipaşa cuts through the ruins and thereby divides the area into two.
From the top of Iotap’s castle there is a fantastic view of the present area and the remains of what used to be a successful town with houses, churches, steam baths and a lot more.
Another interesting thing is the natural harbour which is approximately 100 metres deep and 50 metres wide. Here the water is crystal clear and inviting for a swim.
Please note that the ruins are most easily reached from small paths before and after the official parking lot on the other side of Iotap’s natural harbour.
Facts Turkish Name Dim Cayi
From Centre 8 km.
The Dim çayı River flows from the highlands in Konya and about 200 kilometers southwards before it meets the Mediterranean Sea east of Alanya. The river played an important role in the economical development of Alanya in the 40ths when many banana fields where founded. It was with water from the Dim çayı River that the fields were irrigated.
Even today where farming and banana growing is no longer the main industry in Alanya the river is still important for the town. Many restaurants are found along the riverside and they are almost situated in the river. In the summertime when the water level is low the tables are placed in the water and thus it is possible to put the feet into the chilly water while eating.
Every restaurant at Dim Çayı breed trouts that are served freshly caught. Especially in the very warm summer months, when the temperature reaches 40 degrees the river and the many nice and cheerful restaurants are a popular place – not only for the tourists, but as much for the locals who do not like to sun oneself at the beaches. Approximately 5 kilometres from the mouth of the river the government is constructing a large dam which is scheduled to be finish in 2005.
The dam will not only supply Alanya with drinking water, but also solve the problems about the insufficient and unstable supply of electricity.
When the dam is ready it will also be easier to regulate the amount of water in the river. However the area and hereby also the many restaurants behind the dam will be flooded when the dam once will be ready.
Facts Turkish Name Ulash Koyu
From Centre 5 km.
Sun Beds No
Not far from Alanya's Ulas park you can find the beautifully situated Ulas beach – one of the best beaches in the area. Here you can also find tables, chairs, barbeque grills and even public toilets. Perfect for a little picnic and a good place for relaxing, swimming or just enjoying life.
As it is possible to avoid topless tourists at Ulas Park, the place is frequented mainly by locals!
Unfortunately the beach is disappearing slowly due to sea erosion.
Facts Turkish Name Incekum Plaji
From Centre 25 km.
Sun Beds Yes
Incekum Beach is often talked about as one of the best beaches on the south coast. It has fine sand and the crystal clear water deepens very slowly.
Because of the shallow water, the beach is especially recommended to families with children.