The popular holiday resort and city of Alanya is about 90 minutes from Antalya. Alanya’s pride is its sandy beaches and the great fortress that crowns it. Alanya has grown considerably in the past 20 years. New hotels and apartment blocks line the broad, elegant boulevards running along the sandy beaches stretching on either side of the town. During summer the population nearly doubles and the town turns into a lively colony of predominantly foreign tourists.
With its rich architectural heritage, Alanya is a member of the European Association of Historic Towns and Regions
Alanya has many modern hotels and motels, numerous fish restaurants and cafés and bars. The cafés that ring the harbour have become popular gathering places for tourists. From the town's lovely park, the road runs along the coast to the harbour, lined with countless boutiques that tempt tourists with handicrafts, leather, clothes, jewellery, handbags and the amusing painted gourds, a symbol of the area. In August, when Alanya hosts a colorful International Folklore Festival the atmosphere is charged with vitality and gaiety.
At the end of the 2 BC, notorious pirate ruler Diodotus Tryphon made Alanya a base for his slaving activities. In 67 BC Pompey conducted a war on behalf of Rome against piracy on the Mediterranean coast of Anatolia. He completely destroyed the pirate fleet in a naval battle. Mark Antony presented Coracesion as a wedding gift to Cleopatra. A flight of brick stairs descending the cliffs is said to have been used by Cleopatra to go down for her morning swim. After the Romans and Byzantines Cilician kings ruled the city for about 150 years. Later the city was ruled by Seljuks. In the Seljuk period the town was renamed as Alaiye to honor the conqueror, and shortly after became the winter residence of the Seljuk sultans. Before the republic period the city was dominated by Ottomans.
The fortress is 117 m / 384 ft above the sea with medieval walls running 6 km / 3.7 miles around the summit. It was originally established as a smaller pirate fortress on the protected peninsula. It was conquered and destroyed by Pompey in 67 BC. Alaattin Keykubat captured the fort after a long siege and made Alanya an important naval base. Today’s fine fortifications were built then. Church of St. George is a 6C AD Byzantine building. The platform pinned into the cliff at the edge of the citadel is said to have been the place from where condemned prisoners were hurled to their death.
The enormous dockyards (Tersane) and a defense tower, Kizil Kule (Red Tower) at the harbor contributed to the town’s role as a naval base.
Among many caves the most famous is Damlatas (drop stone) on the western edge of the peninsula. It features an immense cavern with enormous stalactites and stalagmites that slowly continue to grow.
© Wendy Blann