Alanya with a history of thousands of years and a unique view, is one of the major tourist spots of not only Turkey, but of the world. Located about 135 km away from the city center of Antalya, and quite famous for its beaches, Alanya is more than a typical seaside spot with its history and natural beauty.
Alanya is located on a small peninsula surrounded by Taurus Mountains on the North and Mediterranean Sea on the South. It was located on the line between Pamphylia and Cilicia in the ancient times, so it was sometimes referred to as Pamphylia and sometimes as Cilicia. The 13th century Seljuk Castle, sitting a top Alanya Peninsula like a crown, welcomes visitors to the region upon first entry.
Alanya has a typical Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and mild and rainy winters. That’s why the most ideal time for people who wish to enjoy both the sea and the history, is between May and October. Aside from that, people who wish for a quiet, uncrowded holiday, can enjoy the history and natural beauty on other months, which are never really that cold.
A host to Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman civilizations, today Alanya Castle has become a symbol of Alanya. The old walls of the castle were fortified and new walls were built in Anatolian Seljuk Sultan Alaaddin Keykubat’s period, in the 13th century.
Today’s existing walls, large cisterns, the Red Tower and the palace complex within the fortress are some of the works that are built by Alaaddin Keykubat I.
The castle is built on a peninsula of 10 hectares, surrounded by 6 krn long walls. Surrounded by 83 towers, 140 bastions and three rows of walls, Alanya Castle consists of inner and outer castle sections. There are Suleyman the Magnificent Mosque, Sitti Zeynep Tomb, Aksabe Sultan Tomb, Aya Yorgi Church (Hagios Georgios), Seljuk Bath, Arasta, Bazaar, big and small cisterns, a lighthouse and a dungeon within the Antalya Castle.
Named after the cut stones it is made of, Red Tower was built by Alaaddin Keykubat I. in the 13th century, as a port and a shipyard, and to protect Alanya Castle against attacks from the sea. The octagonal shaped tower is made of five floors, and today its ground floor serves as an ethnographic museum, where carpets, rugs, clothes, kitchen utensils, weapons, weighing tools, lighting appliances and looms of Alanya region, and tents representing the nomad culture are displayed. Red Tower drew attention with its imposing appearance in the past, as it does today, and has been a topic of interest in many books.
With almost all beaches suitable for swimming, Alanya is a paradise of sea, sand and sun. The town of Avsaliar, located on the 25th km of Antalya-Alanya road, is a beautiful resort with sandy beaches. incekum, where the sea and the forest embrace, is also located in
Avsallar. Damlata~ Beach, located in front of Damlatas Cave, on the outskirts of Alanya Castle, has impressively fine and clean sand. Cleopatra Beach, to the west of the historical peninsula, IS surrounded by rocks, and looks just like a pool with its crystal clear waters. The beach is famous for Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Roman Emperor Antonius having swimmed there. There are excellent beaches on the east of Alanya, too. A historic harbor, Aytap is an important stop with its beaches and coves with preserved Roman ruins.
Sitting to the west of the historic Alanya Castle, Darnlatas Cave is a magnificent beauty that’s discovered during the construction of the port in 1948. There’s a 50 m passage at the entrance of the cave. After the passage, which can go up to 15 meters in height, there comes a cylindrical space. The cave is named after water drops still dripping from the stalactites. The air within the cave is constant summer through winter, and it has a humidity rate of 95%. Fosforlu (phosphorus) Cave, which is only accessible through the sea and is wide enough to have small boats pass, is named afer the play of lights within the cave caused by its geological structure. The cave is bright at night, and its phosphorus is still noticable during the day. Located 11 km away from Alanya, Dim Cave is a must-see natural wonder. There are many stalactites, stalagmites and travertines within the cave, and there’s a small lake with a 200 m of water surface at the end of the cave.
Alanya Museum has 14 indoor and 1 outdoor exhibiiton halls, in which bronze, marble, terracotta, glass and mosaic findings and coin collections belonging to Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods are displayed. In another section, Turkish and Islamic works belonging to Seljuk and Ottoman periods are exhibited. One of the most important works in the museum is the bronze statue of Herakles. The house, Ataturk stayed during his visit to Alanya in 1935, has been converted into Ataturk House and Museum in 1987. Ataturk’s belongings, photographs and documents are displayed on the first floor of the museum; and a typical Alanya
house is on display with examples of local ethnographic items on the second floor.
Alanya is very easy to access. There are flights to Gazipasa-Alanya Airport, as well as the options to take a cab, bus, personal car, rental car, or service buses provided by airlines to get to Alanya after landing in Antalya Airport. The distance between Antalya Airport and Alanya is about 125 km. And the highway distances are as follows; istanbul- Alanya 825 km, izmir-Alanya 580 km, Antalya-Alanya 133 km. There are also direct bus lines to Alanya from many places in Turkey.
Alanya offers various accommodation alternatives. There are many hotels, motels and b&bs in the city center, and resorts on the coastline. Also, if you’re planning to stay for a long time with a group of people, you may consider renting a seasonal house.
Alanya is very rich in fruits and vegetables, but those aren’t your only options, you can taste regional dishes such as laba, dugun (wedding) soup and okuz (ox) halva. There are also dishes that would suit all tastes.
The trademark of shopping in Alanya is the woven silk crafts. Boutiques, shops and stalls in the coastal region provide all kinds of silk weaves made with silk from locally grown silkworms, handicraft products, souvenirs and leather goods.