The History of Alanya
The first settlement of Alanya was on a small peninsula with the Taurus Mountains on the north, the Mediterranean on the south. As it was on a line between Ancient Pamphylia and the Kilikya border, sometimes it was called city of Kilikya and some times Pamphylia.
The documents describing the periods of Alanya in ancient times are quite limited. The studies made by Prof. Dr. Kılıç Kökten in 1957 in Kadrini Cave 12 kms away from the city center indicated that the region extends until the Later Paleolitical period (B.C. 20.000-17.000). The time of its foundation and that of Alanya is not yet known. The oldest name of the city known is “Coracesium”. During the Byzantine period it was called “Kalonoros”. Upon the conquest of the castle by Alaaddin Keykubat I of the Seljuks in the 13th century (1200-1237), the name of the city was changed into “Alaiyye”. Atatürk gave the name of “Alanya” to the city when he visited the city in 1935. The first person to mention Coracesium is Skylaks, one of the geographers of antiquity in the 4th century B.C. During this period the city was under reign of Persian civilizations invading most of Anatolia. Those to see and then mention the city name in their books include Strabon, Pir-i Reis, the Traveller İbn-i Batuta and Evliya Çelebi. We do not have sufficient information about the history of the city during the Byzantine period. In the 7th century A.D., during Arabic attacks, the city’s defence gained greater importance. And in order to defend the city against attacks, castle construction was given priority. Therefore most of the castles and churches in Alanya and surroundings are dated from the 6th and 7th centuries A.D. Alaaddin Keykubat I, one of the Seljuk sultans, defeated the Kyr Vart dynasty residing in Alanya Castle in 1221 and conquered the castle. The Sultan built a house in his name there. The Seljuk Empire used Alanya as a second capital city in addition to Konya and used the city as a winter residence and made improvements there. Mongol attacks in 1243 and the Invasion of Anatolia by Egyptian Memluks weakened the Seljuk Empire. The Seljuk Empire was divided in 1300, and the region came under the reign of the Karamanoğulları dynasty. In 1427 Alanya was sold to the Memluk Sultan for five thousand gold pieces, and then in 1471 the city was included within the borders of the Ottoman Empire by Mehmet II (The Conqueror). Alanya, together with Tarsus, was affiliated to the Province of Cyprus in 1571. In 1864 it became a part of Konya District. In 1868 the city was affiliated to Antalya and in 1871 became a county of this district.
Alanya Castle and Monuments
Alanya Castle has always been settled because of its inaccessibility from sea and land, and is only one of the castles decorating Anatolia and surviving until present.
The castle has a castle wall of 6.5 km length, 140 towers, about 400 cisterns, doors with inscriptions and as an open air museum reflects Seljuk art at its best, showing the fascination of Seljuk art. The ramparts start from Kızkule, extend down from Ehmedek, İçkale, Adam Atacağı, Cilvarda Burnu, Arap Evliyası Rampart and Esat Rampart and pass through Tophane and Tersane and end at Kızılkule at the starting point. The first construction the castle dates from the Hellenistic Period, but in fact the construction took its fascinating and monumental form during the Seljuk Empire. The altitude of the part called the inner castle and located at the highest place of western corner of the peninsula is about 250 meters. It was surrounded by walls from four sides as it was the centre of administrative and military organisation. Two Seljuk period cisterns made of bricks located in the middle part of the inner castle are still in good condition at present. Main buildings in the inner castle were constructed so as to lean on the castle walls, except for the western part.
During recent years Turkish scientists have been carrying out archaeological excavations in major building groups extending to the south-west. The recent findings indicate that it could have been a palace. While walking around in the inner castle today, other buildings that can be seen are believed to be a military barrack, a dormitory and a store. Approximately in the middle of the inner castle there is a small Byzantine Church which indicates that the castle had been used quite a time before the construction of aforesaid buildings. In addition, its survival until the present indicates that the Seljuk empire respected believers of different religions and their places of worship, and in this connection they are among the buildings requiring our protection. The large drum center consisting of sound absorbing niches and vaulted round windows surrounds the church. From the remaining parts it is understood that the church was decorated with frescos. It dates from the 10th century judging from the architectural characteristics. Alaaddin Keykubat also erected some monumental buildings completing the castle. Kızılkule, one of the unique Seljuk works of art, is the symbol of Alanya with its plan and magnificent appearance adorning the castle. It was built in order to permanently keep the harbour under control. The diameter at the ground is 29 metres, its height is 33 metres. It has a hexagonal design. The architect of the tower built in 1226 is stated as Ebu Ali from Halep as understood from the inscription facing north. The seven line inscription has words in praise of A. Keykubat.
During construction, materials from previous ages were used. Grids at each face, observation windows, holes with rubber in the front used for pouring asphalt and boiling water over the enemies provide a special beauty. The dockyard symbolising the first meeting of the Seljuks with the Mediterranean remains standing strong with its facinating view and forms an ensemble with the castle. The building consists of five arched vaults and is 57 metres in length and 40 metres in depth. The inscription at the entrance includes Sultan’s seal and is decorated with rosettes. There is a room by the door which was used for prayer in some scientists’ opinion, while as a storehouse according to the others’. The room at the end of the dockyard is believed to have been allocated for dockyard officials. Seljuk had access to the Mediterranean through this harbour, which was the second marine base after the harbour in Sinop. The construction date is 1227. Tophane with two storeys thought to be built for the security of the dockyard has a rectangular ground plan 14×12 metres in size. The building was erected during the reign of A. Keykubat.
The museum has two sections where archaeological and ethnographical arts are exhibited and it was opened for visitors in 1967. An increasing number of artefacts found in the region required the establishment of new museum facilities, and the Archaeological Museum was taken into operation. For the opening of the museum, works of art from Ancient Bronze, Urartu, Frygian and Lydia Periods were brought from the Ankara Museum of Anatolian Civilisations for exhibition. The inscription dating from 625 B.C. discovered around Alanya with writing in the Phoenician language is one of the oldest artefacts and is exhibited here.
Besides, remains from Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Periods, made of bronze, marble, earthenware, glass and mosaics and inscriptions in the Karamanlica language and coins from Classical(B.C. 7-5th century), Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuki, Ottoman and Republic Times are also exhibited here in a separate section.
In the ethnographical section, Turkish-Islamic artefacts and others delivered by Directorate of Primary Education and collected in the surrounding region and reflecting features of the times, yörük rugs, red sacks, daily utensil containers, jewellery, manuscripts and writing tools are exhibited in a room arranged in the form of an Alanya house. Furthermore, the stone carvings and mosaics exhibition from Roman, Byzantine and Islamic Times are exhibited in the yard of the museum.
The Kızılkule Ethnography Museum
This grand building erected in 1226 for military and dockyard control purposes is one of unique monuments of the Seljuks, and is the symbol of Alanya. After repairs between 1951 and 1953, in 1979 carpets, rugs, clothes, kitchen tools, weapons, scales, lightening rods and weaving tools unique to the Alanya region and tents reflecting the yörük (nomad) culture are exhibited, and thus the building functions as our ethnography museum.
The Atatürk House Museum
The founder of Turkish Republic, the Great Leader Atatürk, came to Alanya on February 18th, 1935 and stayed in the house to rest for a while, and the house was donated to the Ministry of Culture by its owner Tevfik Azakoğlu and in 1987 the house was restorated and decorated in order to receive visitors as “Atatürk’s House and Museum”. On the first floor, Atatürk’s personal possessions, photographs, a telegram written for the Alanya people by Atatürk and other historical documents are exhibited, on the second floor the elements of a typical Alanya house can be seen and some ethnographical objects unique to the region are exhibited.
Ruins in the Surrounding Region
Dağlık is within borders of Güneyköy, 18 km from the Gazipaşa district. It falls into the borders of region known as Mountainous Kilikya in Ancient Times. The name of the town comes from Antiochus IV, king of Kommagene. The ruins stand on three hills. The first one is an area consisting of agora, bath, triumph parade line and church; the second part is the necropolis area with tomb structures unique to the Kilikya region; the third part consists of the ruins of the castle built on the sharp rocky area extending to the sea to the west. To the north of the city there are the ruins of a temple whose architectural components are still visible. There is a building with religious functions with an apsis of three walls called trikonkhos. The ruins date from Roman, Byzantine and Medieval times.
It is located 3 km south of Gazipaşa, about 45 km from Alanya. The city lies at the foot of hill extending towards the sea in elbow shape. The acropolis of the city stands on the hill. There is a vaulted two-room bath at the point where Selinus (Hacı Musa) meets the sea. The coulmns of the agora on the sea side have been lost, but stylobat traces can still be seen. Upon walking Further towards the east from the agora, a building with an apsis is to be seen. Most probably the building was established over a religious temple. There is monumental structure on the east side of the church. The entrance door, which is the only Islamic structure of the city, is surrounded with lively arabesque motives of Lescuklu. These ruins must be the remains of a mansion. The tomb structure in the cemetery, which is the necropolis of the city, gives a very good impression of the burial customs in Kilikya. Some parts of the water canals of the region have survived untill our time. The Roman Emperor Trajan died in the city while he was returning from the Parthan expedition and his ashes were buried in Rome. The ruins date from Roman, Byzantine and Medieval Times.
Located on 33rd km of the Alanya-Gazipaşa highway. The ancient city has its name from Iotape, the wife of Antiochus IV, King of Kommagane (A.D. 38-72). The city minted its own coins during the period from Emperor Trianus to Valerianus. The ruins have features of the Roman and Byzantine Periods. The acropolis of the city is on the high hill extending to the sea. The castle walls give it the appearance of a castle. The buildings have been subjected to considerable destruction. In the valley where the acropolis is connected to the land, there is the Harbour street extending in east-west direction. On both sides of the street, there are crepis consisting of three steps and sculpture podiums. On these, the inscriptions contain information about successful athletes and philanthropic citizens of the town. In the bay located on the east of the acropolis there is a basilica in rectangular shape with three naves. There are traces of frescos inside the small church in the town. In the fresco H.G. stratelates was depicted. Another building still remaining in the city is the bath. The sewage system of the bath can still be seen. On the modern road passing through the city center there are the ruin of a temple 8×12.5 m. in size. The necropolis of Iotape is on the north and south hills of the city. Beside monumental tombs there are also small tombs. There are structures covered with vaults in the city.
Located approximately on the 20th km of the highway between Alanya and Gazipaşa, within border of Seki village. The city is entered through a monumental gate still remaining on the west side of the town. There are several cisterns which met the water needs of the city. In one of the caves, there is a niche carved into the stone with fresco paintings. The cave must have been used for religious purposes. It is known as the baptising cave. There is a bath building on the east side of the town. There are mosaics on some parts of the bath floor. Just to the west of the bath, in north-south direction, the columned street of the town lies. There are niches in the north walls of the street. In the excavations made by Directorate of the Alanya Museum since 1994 it was understood that the street is 250×10 metres in size and was covered with a wooden roof and the south side is open. There are many inscriptions about races and competitions. Other important structures in the town include temples, the theatre, shops, houses and town walls. The excavations dated the ruins to between 7th century B.C. and 13th century A.D.
A settlement on the foot of Cebel-i Reis Mountain rising at the entrance of Dim Valley in the Taurus Mountains. About 25 km from Alanya. The nearest village is Gözüküçük. The border of the region known as Mountainous Kilikya Region in antiquity. Strabon mentions the town as having a harbour and standing on a hill shaped as a breast. The important ruins of the town remaining at present are observatory towers, Caracalla excedra, odeon or theatre, Zeus Megistos temple, Apollon temple, Caesar temple, agora, bath and necropolis. Absence of ruins from Hellenistic times is due to the fact that the town was under control of pirates during that period and therefore sufficient improvements were not made. An inscription in the Phoenician language dating the town to the 6th century B.C., which was found in the town, is exhibited in the Alanya museum. Another important object discovered in the town is the “diploma of a Roman soldier” on exhibit in the Alanya Museum, which gives information about the military aspect of the town. The ruins date from the Roman period.
In the Elikesik village located 6 km north-west of Alanya. Within the borders of the Pamphylia Region. Popularly known as Sinekkalesi. Strabon mentions that the timber used in ship building was grown in the town and particularly there were cedar trees in the town. It is believed that the town was founded before the Roman period. The rectangular stone tower shows Hellenistic features. The most important ruins of the town include: an ancient fountain, pool, semi-circle designed, excedra the seats of which are still seen, inscriptions still readable, religious complex and necropolis. Some inscriptions discovered in the town pavement include the emblem of Hermes, which indicates existence of a Hermes temple in the town. Considerable parts of an embossed stele ostotechs exhibited in the Alanya Museum were discovered in the town. It is known that a small relatively impoverished community lived in Hamaxia between A.D. 100 and 200 under the administration of Coracesium. An important part of the ruins date from Roman and Byzantine Periods.
Within the borders of Bayırkozağacı village of Güzelbahçe town of Gündöğmuş county. The important ruins have survived until present, include tombs in the necropolis and natural rock tombs. The face of rock stones are of a monumental nature and have 18 steps. The tomb room is only one location and the top of entrance is carved in a vault shape and the inside of the cave is decorated with a Medusa head, and both sides of the vault are decorated with eagle figures. Several inscriptions discovered nearby include information shedding light upon the history of the town. The ruins date from Roman and Byzantine Periods.