ALANYA An Introduction
The large popular resort center of Alanya lies at one end of a rocky promontory which juts out into the Mediterranean between two long sandy beaches. A 13th century Seljuk fortress-one of the most magnificent sights on the coast-crowns the headland. About 150 towers punctuate the walls of the well- preserved, double walled citadel. Within the outer walls are ruins of mosques, a caravanserai and a covered bazaar; in the inner walls are a ruined cistern and a Byzantine church. Although Alanya's history dates back to Roman times, it rose to prominence under the Seljuk Empire (1220) as a naval base. The surviving buildings reflect the importance of the city in Seljuk times. Besides the impressive citadel tourists should explore the unique dockyards and the octagonal Kizil Kule (Red Tower).
Alanya is a beautiful holiday center of modern hotels and motels, numerous fish restaurants and cafes and bars. The cafes that ring the harbor have become popular gathering places for tourists. From the town's lovely park, the road runs along the coast to the harbor, lined with countless boutiques that tempt tourists with handicrafts, leather, clothes, jewelry, handbags and the amusing painted gourds, a symbol of the area. In August, when Alanya hosts a colorful International Folklore Festival the atmosphere is charged with vitality.
If you enjoy exploring you should visit the Damlatas Cave to see the eerie misshapen rock formations. Nearby is the Archaeology and Ethnography Museum.
A boat can take you to the three sea grottoes: Fosforlu Magara with its phosphorescent rocks, the Kizlar Magarasi, where pirates imprisoned their female captives, and the Asiklar Magarasi.
When the intense sun overpowers you, take a day trip to the Dim Cayi Valley, 15 km east of Alanya, where you can relax in the shade of this scenic valley and listen to the stream rushing by. Avsallar (incekum), about 25 km from Aianya to the west, is a holiday resort center with fine sandy beaches. If you travel east from Alanya towards Gazipasa you will discover and no doubt linger on the exceptional beaches. 30 km east of Alanya, Aytap, the historical harbor city Lotape, is a great excursion site, with Roman ruins, secluded beaches and bays.