ALANYA : “The Pearl of the Turkish Riviera”

This inviting and charming coastal city is situated in an indisputably idyllic location.Alanya is home to around 120,000 inhabitants and is located on the Mediterranean , on the Turkish southcoast surrounded by the scenic Taurus Mountains.

The city has a long and turbulent history and has been subject to both the Romans, Byzantines, Armenians , Seljuks and Ottomans. The past 20 years the city has grown as a tourist destination and is today a vibrant resort with good swimming opportunities and an attractive old town center.

Alanya was located on a little peninsula on the north surrounded by the Toros Mountains and on the south by the Mediterranean Sea. Due to its location between Pamphylia and Cilicia the city was called both Pamphylia and Cilicia in the ancient ages. 

There is no sufficient information about when was and by whom was founded Alanya. The oldest known name of the city is Korakesium. Later on the Byzantium era, its name formed into Kalanoros. In the 13th century the Anatolian Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad I (1200-1237) took over the control of the city giving it the name Alaya. Ataturk named the city as Alanya when he visited it in 1935. For the first time Korakesium was mentioned in his writings by the ancient geographer Skilak back in the 4th century of BC. At that time, a significant part of the current Anatolia was in the hands of the Persians. In later times, the city was visited by such historians, geographers and travellers as Strabo, Piri Reis, Seyep, Ibn Battuta, Evliya Çelebi and all of them were colourfully describing the city in their books.

Today we haven’t enough reliable information about the early history of the Byzantine period and the region. It is known that in the 7th century of AD the town was forced to defend itself from the raids of the Arabs and for this reason the paramount importance was given to strengthening of the castle. That is why many castles and churches in Alanya and the surrounding areas are dating back to 6th and 7th centuries of AD. 

The Anatolian Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad I conquered the castle defeating the Christian ruler of Alanya Warta Cyrus in 1221. Following this, the Sultan built a palace for himself. Seljuks used Alanya as a second, after Konya, capital and as a winter residence and was developed a lot.

The Mughal invasions in 1243 and the Egyptian Mamluks in 1277 seriously undermined the power of the Seljuks. In 1300, the Seljuk State collapsed. The region was sold to one of the Mamluk Sultans from the Karamanoguls dynasty for five thousand Altıns. Subsequently, in 1471, during the reign of the Sultan Fatih Mehmet the city became part of the Ottoman Empire.

In 1571 Alanya together with Tarsus joined Eyalet Cyprus, and in 1864 became the county province of Konya. In 1868 Alanya was attached to Antalya and in 1871 officially became a district of the province.

Alanya is the south coast ‘s largest holiday destination with long beaches and fantastic shopping opportunities . Here you will also find Turkey’s best possibilities for entertainment . Alanya is a very well developed and fashionable resort with high quality. With an extremely visionary mayor in charge, the city has transformed into a true vacation paradise. Here the citizens stand together to offer you a wonderful holiday .

In Alanya the best of European and Middle Eastern cuisine meet , and you can eat well at fine international restaurants as well as in small local places.
From the city center you find a rocky peninsula , where on the top, in about 250 meters height, are the ruins of a castle . The Great Seljuk castle from the 13th century is one of the most magnificent sights along the Turkish southcoast. 150 towers and lookouts surrounding the well-preserved , double walled citadel .

If you want to go on exploring Alanya’s history, it is a good idea to stop by Alanya Museum. Here you can see archaeological finds from Roman and Byzantine times . In the big bazaar areas located on both sides of Alanya’s main street behind the harbor , it is possible both to see and buy everything your heart desires .

Bathing takes place on the fine-grained Cleopatra Beach or the more coarse-grained Keykubat Beach. The two beaches are separated only by the city’s rocky peninsula with the impressive ancient fortifications on top.

One of the most memorable aspect of a visit to Alanya is the hospitality of its people. Their genuineness and kindness are incredible, their wit and ready smiles infectious, their openness and honesty endearing.

There are currently a total of 463 ‘blue-flag’ beaches in Turkey, the third highest amongst all 50 countries that participate in this accreditation programme. No less than 72 of these are to be found in Alanya, stretching along a coastline that extends for 46 km.

‘Alanya – ‘Where the Sun Smiles’, is the most easterly of all developed resorts in Turkey and is bathed in sunshine around 320 days of the year. Located on the south-east of the Mediterranean Basin, the high air pressure zones means that the summers are long, hot and dry and the winters short and relatively mild.

The imposing Taurus mountains run parallel to the coastline and the height of these have significant impact upon the climate. Rising to an average height of some 1.300 metres, this impact is two-fold: firstly, they provide a natural barrier against the winds from the north, resulting in a unique, almost sub-tropical climate; secondly, this barrier effect ensures that the ambient sea temperature is maintained, meaning that swimming is possible almost all year round – the average sea temperature is around 21C (72F) annually, with a high of 29C (84F) during the hottest months.

Given the pervading weather conditions and the extremely fertile land, Alanya is an important agricultural centre and a diverse range of vegetables and fruit are grown here.

The golden sands of Cleopatra beach stretch out for 2 km to the west of the city centre. According to legend, the name originates from 37 BC when the Roman emperor Mark Anthony gifted parts of the city to his Egyptian queen. The equally stunning Keykubat beach stretches out to the east and its shallow waters make it a perfect choice for bathing. Numerous cafe-bars are dotted along both beaches and a wide range of water sports are on offer.

The wider world is coming to realize that Alanya has so much stacked in its favour as a holiday destination and as a place in which to own a home in the sun – it is no surprise to find that Alanya is now the single most popular resort in Turkey, for both numbers of tourism visitors and second home owners from overseas.