Anamur - Mamure Castle

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Anamur - TurkeyAt the most southern point of Turkey's Mediterranean coast lies Anamur. Anamur town itself is of virtually no interest for the traveler. However, Anamur Iskele, the harbor district is the ideal basis to visit the medieval Mamure Castle and explore the Byzantine ghost town of Anamur - Anemurium.

A couple of kilometers east of Iskele stands Mamure Kalesi, an impressive castle built by the rulers of the Cilician kingdom of Armenia on the side of an older Roman fort constructed in the 3rd century AD. After the decline of the Cilician kingdom, the fort was used by the Byzantines. The present castle was built in 1226 by the great Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat I (Aladdin's Castle?) and is, without a doubt, the most impressive of the castles of Turkey. The Karamanoğlu ruler Mahmut Bey added the mosque that is still inside the castle. In the 14th century, Mamure Kalesi became occupied by the Crusaders who used it as a bridgehead in Asia for their Lusignan kingdom in Cyprus. In 1469 Anamur Castle was seized by the Ottomans who reinforced the castle after the British occupied Cyprus in 1878. It remained garrisoned by the Ottomans until the end of World War I. The impressive Mamure Castle with its stark facade of crenelated outer walls and watchtowers stands romantically with one foot in the sea. The castle was a favorite setting for many Turkish films. Inside the castle, there are further defenses and an ancient mosque which was added by Mahmut Bey a Karamanoğlu Ruler.

The best place to stay in Anamur is at İskele (which means quay in Turkish), an unpretentious resort with a nice beach.


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