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    Alanya Information

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    Though first fortified in the Hellenistic period following the area's conquest by Alexander the Great, the castle rock was likely inhabited long before that under the Hittite and Persian Empires. Known in Latin as Coracesium or in Greek as Korakesion from the Luwian Korakassa meaning "point/protruding city," it was a popular spot for Mediterranean piracy [3]. This period ended with the city's incorporation into the Roman Empire by Pompey in 65 BC. After the Empire's collapse and split, the city remained under Byzantine influence, becoming known as "Kolonoros," or beautiful mountain. The area fell from their sphere of influence after the Battle of Manzikert to tribes of Seljuk Turks, only to be returned in 1097 by Alexios I Komnenos and forces of the First Crusade. The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia periodically held the port, and it was from an Armenian, Kir Fard, that Muslims took lasting control in 1221 when the Anatolian Seljuk Sultan Ala ad-Din Kay Qubadh I exchanged governance of the city of Aksehir for it. The the city was renamed Alaiye, a derivative of Ala ad-Din. Seljuk rule saw the golden age of the city, and it can be considered the winter capital of their empire. Building projects, including the twin citadel, city walls, arsenal, and Red Tower made it an important port for western Mediterranean trade, particularly with Ayyubid Egypt and the Italian city-states. Kay Qubadh also constructed numerous gardens and pavilions outside the walls, and many of his works can still be found in the city.

    The Mongol invasion broke down Seljuk control, and the city fell to a series of beyliks, and even to Lusignans from Cyprus. The city was sold by the Karamanoğlu dynasty in 1427 to the Mamluk dynasty for a period before the general Gedik Ahmed Pasha in 1471 incorporated it into the growing Ottoman Empire. In 1571 the city was organized into the province of Cyprus, then later under Konya, and in 1868 under Antalya, as it is today. Like most in this region, the city suffered heavily following the population exchanges the heralded the Turkish Republic, when many of the city's Christians resettled in Nea Ionia, outside Athens. In his 1935 visit, Atatürk finalized the name in the new alphabet as Alanya, changing the 'i' and 'e' in Alaiye, reportedly because of a misspelled telegram two years prior [4]. Tourism in the region started among Turks who flocked to Alanya in the 1950s for the alleged healing properties of Damlataş cave, and later with the access provided by Antalya's airport gaining the city greater international appeal.


    Located on the Gulf of Antalya in the coastal plain of Pamphylia, the town is bordered by the Taurus Mountains on the north and the Mediterranean Sea on the south and is considered part of the Turkish riviera. The town is divided by a rocky peninsula with the harbor and Keykubat beach, named for Ala ad-Din Kay Qubadh I, on the east side and Damlataş beach, named for the famous "dripping caves," and Cleopatra beach on the west side. Legend and locals claim the name derives from either the Ptolemaic princess' visit here or the area's inclusion in her dowry to Mark Antony. Regardless, the area was indeed under Egyptian hegemony in the first century BC.

    Atatürk Caddasi, or Boulevard, runs perpendicular to the sea, and divides the southern, much more touristic side of Alanya from the northern, more native side, that extends north into the mountains.

    Though Alanya has been part of Antalya Province since the Ottoman Empire, an Alanya Province has been a goal of many area politicians.



    On the peninsula stands a Seljuk era citadel from 1226. Walls surround the old city, home to many fine villas, leading down to the pride of the city, the Kızıl Kule (Red Tower). Sultan Ala ad-Din Kay Qubadh I brought the accomplished architect Ebu Ali from Aleppo, Syria to Alanya to complete the building. Completed in 1226 the octagonal tower protects the Tersane (arsenal) which dates from 1221. So well made was it that it remains one of the finest examples of medieval military architecture.

    With its rich architectural heritage, Alanya is a member of the Norwich-based European Association of Historic Towns and Regions [5].



    Places of Interest

    Alanya Kale (Castle), old city walls, Süleymaniye Mosque and Caravanserai

    Kızıl Kule (Red Tower), a brick building located at the harbor, 33 meters high; with the ethnographic museum inside.

    Tersane (arsenal), the dry dock located adjacent to the Tower

    Damlataşh cave, with an average temperature of 22 °C and 96% humidity

    Archaeology museum


    The city has a population of 264,240, with 150,346 in the city center, and of which about 45,000 are European. During the summer the population increases due to large numbers of tourists, about 1.2 million each year pass through the city. Many social classes meet in Alanya. Wealthy Turks and Europeans who vacation or reside part-time here are the revenue source for much of the population. The town is also home to many immigrants from the west, particularly the southwest of Turkey, of Kurdish, Turkish, and Armenian heritages. The town is near 99% Muslim, and although many ancient churches can be found in the city, there are not regular Christian services. In 2006, a German language protestant church with seasonal service opened with much fanfare, a sign of the growing European population in the city. Israeli tourists, often from cruise ships, constitute the Jewish population. The city boasts a 95% literacy, with public, private, and religious based schools available. Akdeniz University [6], the largest higher education in the area, is located between Alanya and Antalya. Georgetown University also operates an annual study abroad program for American students to study in Alanya [7].


    Many tourists (especially Scandinavian, German, Russian and the Dutch people) vacation in Alanya during the summer. Tourists are drawn to the area because of reasonable prices, pleasantly warm weather, sandy beaches, access to historic sites, and fine cuisine. Beach activities frequently include wind surfing, parasailing, and banana boating. Nightclubs and bars aimed at tourists are numerous. A height restriction in the city keeps high rise hotels to the east and west of the city, preserving its skyline at the expense of greater tourist potential.

    The tourist industry here is worth over 1.2 billion euros, and is therefore the principal industry, though the area is known for its many fruit farms, particularly lemons and oranges, and large harvests of tomatoes, bananas and cucumbers.



    Alanya is home to a woman's basketball team, Alanya Belediye, which started in the first division but was relegated after the 2002 season. The city hosts a third level soccer team, Alanyaspor [8], though fan in the city are mostly divided between the three major Istanbul teams. Alanya is perhaps more famous for the annual triathlon [9] held every October, and for the city's role in the European Beach Volleyball championship tournament, currently sponsored by Nestea [10].






    Sister City

    Nea Ionia,Greece




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