When I first visited Alanya back in 1982, it was a sleepy coastal town with only a handful of hotels. Now, Alanya has become a booming and popular tourist destination, especially for package holiday tourists and is one of the major holiday resorts on the Mediterranean coast. For independent travellers like us, we would rather skip it entirely if it weren't for the great views. The dizzying scenery from the İç Kale fortress, the old district with the Kızılkule and Tersane were just enough to hold us here for one day.
History of Alanya
Little is known about Alanya's early history. It is thought that Greek colonists founded the town. In the 2nd century BC, Alanya was known as Coracesium and Cilician pirates used it as a basis to strike the Pamphylian coast. The pirate chieftain Diototus Tryphon had his castle built on the top of the mountain. Eventually, the pirates were defeated by the Romans in 67 BC. During the Byzantine period, the town was named Kalonoros meaning beautiful mountain. In 1221, the Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin (Alaaddin) Keykubad I conquered Kalonoros and renamed it to Alaiye, which means the City of Ala, after himself (Ala Eddin). After the declaration of the Turkish republic in 1923, the name of the city changed finally in Alanya.
Sights and Photos of Alanya
The most prominent of Alanya's landmarks and a major tourist attraction is certainly the Red Tower or Kızıl Kule. The Red Tower is an octagonal structure with an overall diameter of 28 meters at its base and a maximum height of 33 meters. The building was constructed in 1226 by a Syrian Arab architect named Al-Halabi under the reign of Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad. The Red Tower was restored to its former glory in 1951 and now houses an ethnographic museum. The old Seljuk shipyard (Turkish tersane) dating from 1228 is the last of its kind in Turkey. It is a long winding climb of more than one hour to reach İç Kale, the castle of Alanya castle. We were wise and took a taxi the way up and descended by foot. Inside the stronghold, there are the remains of a Byzantine church of central plan church and constructed inside of a larger earlier basilica. Based on the architectural features, the church is dated to the 11th century. The platform at which tourists now enjoy breathtaking panoramic views originally served as a point from which prisoners were thrown to their deaths on the rocks below. Ehmedek or Ehmediye is a small village with a few Ottoman houses on the way up towards İç Kale. The dilapidated Süleymaniye Camii dates from the 16th century.
Travel Information & Travel Tips
We visited Alanya during our 2004 tour along the Mediterranean coast (Mediterranean Turkey - Travel Report) and stayed one night in Hotel Temiz, Iskele Caddesi 12, (Tel. +90-(0)242 - 513 10 16), conveniently located in Alanya's old town district and on walking distance from the Kızılkule. The hotel was indeed very clean (temiz means clean in Turkish) and had comfortable nicely decorated rooms with air-con, television, and breakfast. The hotel's staff was very friendly and helpful.