All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to email@example.com. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in May 2010 (photos taken in 2002).
Clickable map (from Spamers Grossen Hand-Atlas - Leipzig 1900) of the locations covered in this section (blue dots). Green dots indicate locations covered in other sections. For a general map of Turkey click here (opens in another window).
The assaults by the pirates were so frequent that in 67 BC the Roman Senate gave Gneus Pompeus (Pompey) an imperium infinitum (extraordinary authority) for a period of three years to eradicate the pirates from the Mediterranean Sea. The pirates were attacked by a fleet of 500 ships and in a few months Pompey gained a full victory. In recognition of this success he was crowned with the special crown used to celebrate naval victories (it is shown in the image used as background for this page).
In addition to ancient monuments, the coastal strip retains memories of the periods during which it belonged to the Armenian Kingdom of Lesser Cilicia (based in Sis) and to the Karamanid rulers of Laranda. In the second half of the XVth century the whole region became part of the Ottoman Empire.
Alanya is today a very popular holiday resort, especially among German tourists and retired people. The old town lies on a short rocky headland between two long sandy beaches. The headland protects a natural harbour on its eastern side. In the past it was the main harbour used by the pirates and Pompey gained there a decisive victory. Coracesium, the Latin name, derived from a Hittite word meaning protruding rock; the Byzantines renamed the town Kalonoros (beautiful mountain). In 1221 Seljuk Sultan Kaykobat I Ala ad-Din conquered Kalonoros and set his winter residence there (his usual residence was in Konya); the town was renamed Alaye, which in the 1930s was modified into Alanya.
In the XIVth century Alaye was conquered by the Karamanids and for a certain period it became a very important harbour. The conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and later on of the whole Eastern Mediterranean by the Ottomans led to the development of new trade routes and Alaye was almost abandoned. Captain Francis Beaufort, who surveyed the southern coastline of Turkey in 1811/12 for the Admiralty, found Alaye in a very run-down condition. Streets and houses were miserable, there was no sign of any commerce and its population was no more than 1500-2000 inhabitants.
On the headland the Seljuks built an impressive fortification system made of long stretches of walls, towers and castles (Kale). Kizil Kule, the octagonal tower built in 1226 to protect the harbour, is a very popular monument throughout Turkey and it was shown on the 250,000 TL note between 1990 and 2005.
The upper castle was surrounded by three curtain walls with over 100 towers. Some of the gates have lengthy inscriptions and are decorated with ancient reliefs and capitals.
The walls on the eastern side of the headland are very well preserved. They clearly show that they were built before
the development of modern artillery. Because of the loss of importance of Alaye, the Ottomans did not
care to upgrade them.
The overall system of fortifications was made up of sections which could be independently defended even though the enemy had succeeded in conquering the other ones.
The main mosque of Alaye was modified by the Ottomans in the XVIIth century; IÁ Kale, the upper fortress retains a typical Byzantine church.
Move along the Coast of the Pirates:
Korykos and Kizkalesi
Clickable Map of Turkey showing all the locations covered in this website (opens in another window).
SEE THESE OTHER EXHIBITIONS (for a full list see my detailed index).