Alanya, as a resort town, enjoys extraordinary popularity. Maybe the reason is the amazing atmosphere of antiquity, which literally breathes narrow winding streets, the abundance of architectural monuments, proximity to the sea or unusually warm and mild climate. But we can say for sure that many people are attracted by the unique Seljuk fortress of Alanya, founded in the 13th century. It is the hallmark of this region of Turkey and is definitely on the list of the most popular attractions.
History of Alanya and protective fortifications
The city owes its name to Sultan Allaedin Keikubat. It was he who discerned all the advantages of these shores, the trade opportunities opening up and the excellent conditions for protection against fast profiteers. Times were turbulent, and the first thing on the mountain, deep into the sea, was to build a fortress. It happened in the 13th century. The heights were predominant, the walls impregnable. Around the same time the port was equipped, the shipyard was built, and the city itself gradually began to grow.
It was the Greek colonists who first drew attention to a stretch of coastline that was convenient in every way. They laid the city, but could not withstand the onslaught of the Romans, who began by building fortifications. Their foundations still serve as the basis for later buildings. The history of the fortress in Alanya is rich in events. It’s worth starting with the size of the structure itself. Thus, the fortification line included more than 140 towers, and the wall stretched for 6 km. The castle had several gates, main and auxiliary. Most of them are ruined, and the towers have not withstood the onslaught of time.
Nowadays this complex looks quite peaceful, but just a few centuries ago the place was sinister. And the fame was well deserved. The condemned were thrown down from the battlements, and boiling oil was poured on the heads of their enemies during the siege. Gradually the conquering ambitions of the neighbors subsided and the castle in Alanya in Turkey became a famous tourist attraction, where people come on tours and admire the skill of the ancient builders.
Alanya Fortress – Open Air Museum
The fortress is quite well preserved. Yes, some of the towers collapsed, but most of the structures remained virtually intact. Behind the fortress walls there is a whole complex, which, even under siege, was able to keep the defenders alive by providing everything they needed.
The fortress has a unique system of underground reservoirs, their exact number is unknown, researchers insist that there are at least 400.
It was difficult for enemies to reach the walls. The most famous fortress of Alanya is located at an altitude of 250 meters above sea level, on a solid rock base. From above, the walls resemble a ribbon of stone, curving intricately down the mountainside. There is no strict rectangular or square layout typical of Western structures. The fortress was skillfully built into the existing landscape and was indeed impregnable, cutting off all enemy access to the city. Gates were given separate names, and entrances were located so that residents could quickly take cover behind the walls or quietly leave the fortress once the threat had disappeared.
One of the best preserved structures is considered to be the Red Tower. It was built in 1226 by the architect Khalepli Ebu Ali. The tower has a very complex layout. The external shape is an octagon with loophole windows. Inside is an intricate system of passageways, rooms for storing supplies and living quarters for the garrison.
The territory of the fortress is always crowded, especially in the peak tourist season. Many people are attracted not so much by the historical value of the site as by the stark contrast between the ancient ruins and the vibrant life literally a few steps away from the castle walls. In the 19th century, construction was allowed on this area and instantly grew private villas, apartment buildings, small restaurants. Then construction permits were no longer issued, only the restoration of existing structures was possible.
The views from the mountain are spectacular, and you can get great photos of the Red Tower or the battlements. Kale Fortress in Alanya, Turkey, is certainly worth a visit, you can devote a day to its visit, the evening meeting the sunset on the terrace of one of the cozy restaurants with luxurious Mediterranean cuisine.
How to get there
It is located in the central part of the city. It is possible to climb to the top of the mountain:
- The funicular to the level of the Bastion, then walk or take a cab;
- on the route number 4 bus with the inscription KALE;
- on foot, beginning the ascent near the Red Tower;
- by cab, but then you risk missing out on all the stunning views that will open up around every corner of the road;
- by personal or rented car, choosing a comfortable speed for yourself.
In the summertime access to the fortress is open from 9.00 to 19. 30, in winter the complex operates from 8. 00 to 17.00. There is a fee for admission, an adult ticket costs 30 liras, and you can also use it to visit the Bastion.
For those who come to Alanya for the first time, get acquainted with this city should begin with a tour of the famous fortress.