Alanya Castle dominates the eastern side of the city , but is highly visible from most points of the city. It's hard to imagine visiting Alanya on your Turkey holidays and not wanting to go up to see this splendid relic. Overlooking Cleopatra Beach and Eastern Beach, it's a superb place to get a panoramic view of the city and it's surrounds, with the Taurus Mountains setting the backdrop.
Also known locally as Alanya Citadel, it's6.5 kls of walls , 140 towers and numerous cisterns give a fantastic in-sight into 13th-century life in the city. I'm not going to give a long history lesson; if you're interested in this sort of thing you will go up and learn all the details.
However, I will show you some of the fantastic sights you can see on the way up to the summit. It's a fascinating journey and I recommend it to everyone, whether you're interested in the history or not. So, let's start our day trip at the bottom.
The large tower in the photo above is KizilKule, commonly known as The Red Tower. Built in 1226 ,it basically is
a lookout for the dockyard( the arches to the left).There was a lot of piracy
and plundering back in those days, and because of its high peninsular shape,
Alanya was a much- coveted port. .Essentially, that's why a fortress was a
necessity, and the Seljuk Sultan of the
time, Keykubat, set about building it.
The peak of Alanya Castle is approximately 250 metres high.Doesn't sound high, but it would be too steep for vehicles to get up; even ancient ones (including horses etc.), and too steep for people to ascend.
So, the road winds its way up at a "steady" camber; It's about 3 kilometres of road from base to the fortress Now, there are taxis conveniently waiting at the foot of the ascent, ready to convey the one that says "I am not legging it all the way up there". Mini-buses (dolmus) and coaches also make the trip up. It's normally about 10 or 12 Turkish lira to go to the top by taxi ,one way. Dolmus from town is about 3 Turkish lira.
If you really want to appreciate the whole thing, you should WALK it. Most local literature will tell you it takes an hour to walk to the top. I've walked it in peak months and I can assure you, if you're going to take in the views, look at the fascinating buildings, and take a few photographs, you're looking at one hour and 30 minutes.
A bit of advice: don’t wear soft soled footwear. The insole on my cheap but comfortable plimsoll-like shoes, just MELTED as I walked up. Yes, it can get that hot!
Now, another bit of advice. At "basecamp" there is a public convenience. There isn't another until you reach "the summit", though you could stop for a drink or some lunch on the way up and use their facilities.
Yet MORE advice: ALWAYS carry some tissue when out of your villa or hotel. Public toilets are not usually fully equipped, even though they might be,- and generally are-, basically clean.
Moving up. After about 7 minutes you get a birds-eye view across the bay and looking down on the mosque, known as the Suleymaniye, Kale, or Alaadin mosque.Originally built in 1231, it was reconstructed again in the 16th century. The resplendent Taurus Mountains are in the background.
Bedesten is a little further up from the Suleymaniye Mosque.Thought to be a 14th or 15th century inn,it now serves as a hotel.There are several other ancient buildings, some are small mosques or churches, as you move up the hill.
A little further up there is a place to pull in if you're driving a hire car. Stop and take some photos. You can already see the scale of the walls compared to the vehicles.
A little further
on and you'll pass this
impressive dwelling, with it's
magnificent bougainvillea garland .The view across the bay must be
spectacular. As they say..location,location,location!Mind, you'd need to be fit to get up there.
These wood-piles are common to several houses on the climb up the hill. Although it can be extremely hot when you make your journey, it can be pretty cool so high up in the winter.
On And up, a birds-eye view of The Red Tower. You can see Alanya Castle's walls starting at the base of the tower.You can also see a change in the brickwork towards the top third of the tower.The original stonework was deemed too heavy to carry so high, so redbrick was used to finish the tower; thus the name.
From this viewpoint you can clearly see the octagonal shape of the tower.Each section served as a separate tower for defence purposes.There are 5 floors to the building.After extensive repairs in the early 1950's, the lower floor is now a museum.
A little higher and you can see the stepped groves .A reminder that Alanya Castle was a working community centuries ago and is still farmed today.
The road up is well maintained.
Taxis ferry people to the summit of the fortress.
As you get closer to the top there is a pedestrian walkway with spectacular views .
Starting to level off a little now and offering some welcome shade. This small cemetery comes as quite a surprise.
Another surprise and a reminder that Alanya Castle is still home to a working community.
Finally, the official entrance to Alanya Castle. The entrance fee is 10 Turkish lira.
As with many attractions, souvenir shops are waiting for when you come out.
And these boards give a pretty concise history of the fortress. Zoom in on the photo if you want the graphic details.
These views make it all worthwhile, even if you're not interested in Alanya Castle's history.You can see the miles of Alanya's beaches,the city,the harbour,the spectacular Taurus Mountains, and the view to the east.
The story goes that enemy prisoners and probably unsavoury characters from within the Seljuk ranks, were thrown off the cliffs onto the rocks below.
There are caves and inlets at the base.The gulets (boats) do trips from Alanya harbour around to the base,and people are often seen jumping from ledges on the rock face into the sea.
Boat trips and swimming around the base of the castle is very popular.
There are a couple of refreshment places around Alanya Castle, but this one on the way back down is so shady and cool it's difficult to walk past it. Best of all they do a huge jug of fresh-squeezed orange juice.
At 10 Turkish lira for a big jug it's well worth stopping here to cool off. It is so typically Turkish ; rustic, shaded, with chickens and ducks wandering around the tables.
Now, you could of course have got a taxi or dolmus (bus) from the entrance of Alanya Castle to go back down. Or you could carry on walking. I generally prefer to walk. For some reason I always feel I'm missing something if I'm driving or in a vehicle.
If you decide to walk back down you eventually get to a fork in the road, about half way down. Carry on to the right and you'll be back at our original starting point below the Red Tower.. But if you take the left route you end up close to the entrance to the Damlatas Caves.
So you could take in two fascinating sights in one trip. I walked down this route, visited Damlatas Beach and caves, then headed back to my hotel for a well earned Efes beer, before removing my now totally melted footwear.
Then again, you might want to save this for another day of your Turkey holidays.
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Fridays from 7pm,Asian and Oriental buffet. 50tl per person. Includes: onion bahjies, samosas, Chinese spring rolls,Vegetable Roti, Chicken satay. Types of " hoppers". Main courses include Birianies,Chicken and lamb curries,Butter chicken,Vegetable noodles,sweet and sour chicken, and chicken devil. Booking required, see Kadriye Restaurants for details.