- HOTELS (BEST RATED)
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- COFFEE & DRINK
- SIGHTS & LANDMARKS
- MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
- THINGS TO DO
Alanya, formerly Alaiye, is a beach resort city and a component district of Antalya Province on the southern coast of Turkey, in the country's Mediterranean Region, 138 kilometres (86 mi) east of the city of Antalya. As of Turkey's 2010 Census, the city had a population of 98,627, while the district that includes the city and its built-up region had an area of 1,598.51 km2 and 248,286 inhabitants.
Because of its natural strategic position on a small peninsula into the Mediterranean Sea below the Taurus Mountains, Alanya has been a local stronghold for many Mediterranean-based empires, including the Ptolemaic, Seleucid, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. Alanya's greatest political importance came in the Middle Ages, with the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm under the rule of Alaeddin Kayqubad I, from whom the city derives its name. His building campaign resulted in many of the city's landmarks, such as the Kızıl Kule (Red Tower), Tersane (Shipyard), and Alanya Castle.
The Mediterranean climate, natural attractions, and historic heritage make Alanya a popular destination for tourism, and responsible for nine percent of Turkey's tourism sector and thirty percent of foreign purchases of real estate in Turkey. Tourism has risen since 1958 to become the dominant industry in the city, resulting in a corresponding increase in city population. Warm-weather sporting events and cultural festivals take place annually in Alanya. In 2014 Mayor Adem Murat Yücel, of the Nationalist Movement Party unseated Hasan Sipahioğlu, of the Justice and Development Party, who had previously led the city since 1999.
Since the first modern motel was built in 1958, considered the first year of the tourist industry in Alanya, hotels have raced to accommodate the influx of tourists, and the city as of 2007 claims 157,000 hotel beds. Damlataş Cave, which originally sparked the arrival of outsiders because of the cave's microclimate, with an average temperature of 72 °F (22 °C) and 95% humidity, is accessible on the west side of the peninsula with trails from Damlataş Beach. Many tourists, especially Scandinavians, Germans, Russians, and Dutch, regularly vacation in Alanya during the warmer months. They are drawn to the area because of property prices, warm weather, sandy beaches, access to Antalya's historic sites, and fine cuisine.
Other outdoor tourist activities include wind surfing, parasailing, and banana boating. Attractions include Europe's largest waterpark, Sealanya, and Turkey's largest go-kart track. Hunting season also attracts some tourist for wild goat, pig and partridge hunting in area nature reserves.
For various reasons, tourist seasons after 2005 have been disappointing for Alanya's tourism industry. Among the reasons blamed were increased PKK violence, the H5N1 bird flu found in Van, and the Mohammad cartoon controversy. Alanya officials have responded with a variety of publicity initiatives, including baking the world's longest cake on April 26, 2006, a Guinness World Record. The economy has also suffered due to investment in more than 20,000 surplus properties. Israeli tourists, commonly arriving via cruise ship, have also declined sharply by about 85% from 2009 to 2011 due in part to strained relations between Turkey and Israel.
On the peninsula stands Alanya Castle, a Seljuk era citadel dating from 1226. Most major landmarks in the city are found inside and around the castle. The current castle was built over existing fortifications and served the double purpose of a palace of local government and as a defensive structure in case of attack. In 2007, the city began renovating various sections of the castle area, including adapting a Byzantine church for use as a Christian community center. Inside the castle is the Süleymaniye mosque and caravanserai, built by Suleiman the Magnificent. The old city walls surround much of the eastern peninsula, and can be walked. Inside the walls are numerous historic villas, well preserved examples of the classical period of Ottoman architecture, most built in the early 19th century.
The Kızıl Kule (Red Tower) is a 108-foot (33 m) high brick building, standing at the harbor below the castle, and containing the municipal ethnographic museum. Sultan Kayqubad I brought the architect Ebu Ali from Aleppo, Syria to Alanya to design the building. The last of Alanya Castle's 83 towers, the octagonal structure specifically protected the Tersane (dockyard), it remains one of the finest examples of medieval military architecture. The Tersane, a medieval drydock built by the Seljuk Turks in 1221, 187 by 131 feet(57 by 40 m), is divided into five vaulted bays with equilateral pointed arches. The Alara Castle and caravanserai near Manavgat, also built under Kayqubad's authority, has been converted into a museum and heritage center.
Atatürk's House and Museum, from his short stay in the city on February 18, 1935, is preserved in its historic state and is an example of the interior of a traditional Ottoman villa, with artifacts from the 1930s. The house was built between 1880 and 1885 in the "karniyarik" (stuffed eggplant) style. Bright colors and red roofs are often mandated by neighborhood councils, and give the modern town a pastel glow. Housed in a 1967 Republican era building, The Alanya Museum is inland from Damlataşh Beach.
Alanya is a member of the Norwich-based European Association of Historic Towns and Regions. In 2009, city officials filed to include Alanya Castle and Tersane as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and were named to the 2009 Tentative List.
Finds in the nearby Karain Cave indicate occupation during the Paleolithic era as far back as 20,000 BC, and archeological evidence shows a port existed at Syedra, south of the modern city, during the Bronze Age around 3,000 BC. A Phoenician language tablet found in the district dates to 625 BC, and the city is specifically mentioned in the 4th-century BC Greek geography manuscript, the periplus of Pseudo-Scylax. The castle rock was likely inhabited under the Hittites and the Achaemenid Empire, and was first fortified in the Hellenistic period following the area's conquest by Alexander the Great. Alexander's successors left the area to one of the competing Macedonian generals, Ptolemy I Soter, after Alexander's death in 323 BC. His dynasty maintained loose control over the mainly Isaurian population, and the port became a popular refuge for Mediterranean pirates. The city resisted Antiochus III the Great of the neighboring Seleucid kingdom in 199 BC, but was loyal to the pirate Diodotus Tryphon when he seized the Seleucid crown from 142 to 138 BC. His rival Antiochus VII Sidetes completed work in 137 BC on a new castle and port, begun under Diodotus.
The Roman Republic fought Cilician pirates in 102 BC, when Marcus Antonius the Orator established a proconsulship in nearby Side, and in 78 BC under Servilius Vatia, who moved to control the Isaurian tribes. The period of piracy in Alanya finally ended after the city's incorporation into the Pamphylia province by Pompey in 67 BC, with the Battle of Korakesion fought in the city's harbor. Isaurian banditry remained an issue under the Romans, and the tribes revolted in the fourth and fifth centuries AD, with the largest rebellion being from 404 to 408.
With the spread of Christianity Coracesium, as it was called, became a bishopric. Its bishop Theodulus took part in the First Council of Constantinople in 381, Matidianus in the Council of Ephesus in 431, Obrimus in the Council of Chalcedon in 451, and Nicephorus (Nicetas) in the Third Council of Constantinople in 680. Coracesium was a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Side, the capital of the Roman province of Pamphylia Prima, to which Coracesium belonged. It continued to be mentioned in the Notitiae Episcopatuum as late as the 12th or 13th century. No longer a residential bishopric, Coracesium is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.
Islam arrived in the 7th century with Arab raids, which led to the construction of new fortifications. The area fell from Byzantine control after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 to tribes of Seljuk Turks, only to be returned in 1120 by John II Komnenos.
Following the Fourth Crusade's attack on the Byzantines, the Christian Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia periodically held the port, and it was from an Armenian, Kir Fard, that the Turks took lasting control in 1221 when the Anatolian Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Kayqubad I captured it, assigning the former ruler, whose daughter he married, to the governance of the city of Akşehir. 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 Kızıl Kule, made it an important seaport for western Mediterranean trade, particularly with Ayyubid Egypt and the Italian city-states. Alaeddin Kayqubad I also constructed numerous gardens and pavilions outside the walls, and many of his works can still be found in the city. These were likely financed by his own treasury and by the local emirs, and constructed by the contractor Abu 'Ali al-Kattani al-Halabi.Alaeddin Kayqubad I's son, Sultan Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev II, continued the building campaign with a new cistern in 1240.
At the Battle of Köse Dağ in 1242, the Mongol hordes broke the Seljuk hegemony in Anatolia. Alanya was then subject to a series of invasions from Anatolian beyliks. Lusignans from Cyprus briefly overturned the then ruling Hamidid dynasty in 1371. The Karamanids sold the city in 1427 for 5,000 gold coins to the Mamluks of Egypt for a period before General Gedik Ahmed Pasha in 1471 incorporated it into the growing Ottoman Empire. The city was made a capital of a local sanjak in the eyalet of Içel. The Ottomans extended their rule in 1477 when they brought the main shipping trade, lumber, then mostly done by Venetians, under the government monopoly. On September 6, 1608, the city rebuffed a naval attack by the Order of Saint Stephen from the Republic of Venice.
Trade in the region was negatively impacted by the development of an oceanic route from Europe around Africa to India, and in the tax registers of the late sixteenth century, Alanya failed to qualify as an urban center. In 1571 the Ottomans designated the city as part of the newly conquered province of Cyprus. The conquest further diminished the economic importance of Alanya's port. Traveler Evliya Çelebi visited the city in 1671/1672, and wrote on the preservation of Alanya Castle, but also on the dilapidation of Alanya's suburbs. The city was reassigned in 1864 under Konya, and in 1868 under Antalya, as it is today. During the 18th and 19th centuries numerous villas were built in the city by Ottoman nobility, and civil construction continued under the local dynastic Karamanid authorities. Bandits again became common across Antalya Province in the mid-nineteenth century.
After World War I, Alanya was nominally partitioned in the 1917 Agreement of St.-Jean-de-Maurienne to Italy, before returning to the Turkish Republic in 1923 under the Treaty of Lausanne. Like others in this region, the city suffered heavily following the war and the population exchanges that heralded the Turkish Republic, when many of the city's Christians resettled in Nea Ionia, outside Athens. The Ottoman census of 1893 listed the number of Greeks in the city at 964 out of a total population of 37,914. Tourism in the region started among Turks who came to Alanya in the 1960s for the alleged healing properties of Damlataş Cave, and later the access provided by Antalya Airport in 1998 allowed the town to grow into an international resort. Strong population growth through the 1990s was a result of immigration to the city, and has driven a rapid modernization of the infrastructure.
Climate data for Alanya
|Average high °C (°F)||16.2|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||11.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||8.6|
|Source #1: Turkish State Meteorological Service|
|Source #2: Weather2|
|17.8 °C (64.0 °F)||16.9 °C (62.4 °F)||17.3 °C (63.1 °F)||17.9 °C (64.2 °F)||21.2 °C (70.2 °F)||25.3 °C (77.5 °F)||27.9 °C (82.2 °F)||29.0 °C (84.2 °F)||27.7 °C (81.9 °F)||24.9 °C (76.8 °F)||21.2 °C (70.2 °F)||19.0 °C (66.2 °F)|
Located on the Gulf of Antalya on the Anatolian coastal plain of Pamphylia, the town is situated between the Taurus Mountains to the north and the Mediterranean Sea, and is part of the Turkish riviera, occupying roughly 70 kilometres (43 mi) of coastline. From west to east, the Alanya district is bordered by the Manavgat district along the coast, the mountainous Gündoğmuş inland, Hadim and Taşkent in the Province of Konya, Sarıveliler in the Province of Karaman, and the coastal Gazipaşa district. Manavgat is home to the ancient cities of Side and Selge. East of the city, the Dim River flows from the mountains in Konya on a south-west route into the Mediterranean.
The Pamphylia plain between the sea and the mountains is an isolated example of an Eastern Mediterranean conifer-sclerophyllous-broadleaf forest, which include Lebanon Cedar, evergreen scrub, fig trees, and black pine. The Alanya Massif refers to the area of metamorphic rocks east of Antalya. This formation is divided into three nappes from lowest to highest, the Mahmutlar, the Sugözü, and the Yumrudağ. The similar lithology extends beneath the city in a tectonic window. Bauxite, an aluminum ore, is common to the area north of city, and can be mined.
The town is divided east–west by a rocky peninsula, which is the distinctive feature of the city. The harbor, city center, and Keykubat Beach, named after the Sultan Kayqubad I, are on the east side of the peninsula. Damlataş Beach, named for the famous "dripping caves", and Kleopatra Beach are to the west. The name "Cleopatra" possibly derives from either the Ptolemaic princess' visit here or the area's inclusion in her dowry to Mark Antony. Atatürk Bulvarı, the main boulevard, runs parallel to the sea, and divides the southern, much more touristic side of Alanya from the northern, more indigenous side that extends north into the mountains. Çevre Yolu Caddesi, another major road, encircles the main town to the north.
The tourist industry in Alanya is worth just under 1.1 billion euros per year, and is therefore the principal industry. The area is further known for its many fruit farms, particularly lemons and oranges, and large harvests of tomatoes, bananas and cucumbers. About 80,000 tonnes of citrus fruits were produced in 2006 across 16,840 hectares (41,600 acres). The greengage plum and the avocado are increasingly popular early season fruits where citrus fruits are becoming unprofitable.
Despite the seaside location, few residents make their living on the sea, and fishing is not a major industry. In the early 1970s, when fish stocks ran low, a system of rotating access was developed to preserve this sector. This innovative system was part of Elinor Ostrom's research on economic governance which led to her 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics. In 2007, locals protested the establishment of some larger chain supermarkets and clothing stores, which have opened branches in Alanya.
Beginning in 2003, with the provisional elimination of restrictions on land purchases by non-nationals, the housing industry in the city has become highly profitable with many new private homes and condominiums being built for European and Asian part-time residents. Sixty-nine percent of homes purchased by foreign nationals in the Antalya Province and 29.9% in all of Turkey are in Alanya. Buyers are primarily individuals, rather than investors. This housing boom put pressure on the city's many gecekondu houses and establishments as property values rise and property sales to locals fall. A height restriction in the city limits most buildings to 21 feet (6.5 m). This keeps high rise hotels to the east and west of the city, preserving the central skyline at the expense of greater tourist potential. The fringes of the city however have seen uncontrolled expansion.
Transportation - Get In
Alanya is about 2 hours drive from the nearest international airport in Antalya and half an hour from Gazipaşa Airport, which mainly serves domestic flights with a limited number of European destinations. Most holiday makers land in Antalya and are then taken to their hotel in Alanya by bus.
If your hotel is a bit far from Alanya, you can stand outside the hotel on the road and wait for a Dolmuş to come by and pick you up. You can stop at dolmuş stops anywhere on the road, mostly there are bus stops, rarely at someplaces there are not bus stops, they come in each 10 and 15 minutes and are sometimes quite crowded. Expect to pay around 2 Turkish Lira per person for the ride.
Transportation - Get Around
In the city center there is cheap Dolmuş to reach all around the town.
Walking around the town is the best option except very hot July and August days. You can take taxis or a Dolmuş to the castle if you don't want to walk all the way up the hill.
Also you can rent an electric scooter or a bike.
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Beaches in Alanya
Alanya draw attention with its long, sandy, blue flag beaches and afford to look good and large size are important terms for satisfaction for swim and having great time on the beaches.
Blue flag is an international control administration for the clean and high standard beaches. They have standard and your beach must fit the their standard also they are controlling sea water is well it has to be clean in their standard again. If you can catch their qualifications they give you a blue flag valid for one year. Its mean that microbiological and physicochemical analysis of sea water for every each two weeks. In Alanya color of the sea water is becoming turquoise from the blue by the coast. In calm weather it is always possible to see fish in deep of the sea water. Alanya has the long and sandy beaches on both side of historical peninsula. West side beaches are Damlatas and Cleopatra east side beaches are Keykubat and Portakal name call.
Outside of the city center there are many beaches again and those beaches names are Ulas, Konakli, Fugla, Incekum and Mahmutlar. Alanya has kilometers of beaches. Beside the beaches bays are by the main road combinate with the nature and pine trees are welcomes to people who like to be in peaceful area.
In Alanya beaches, as well as the international rules the local authorities rules are apply too. Accordingly, entrance to the beaches are for free always. Sun loungers and beach umbrellas are paid. It is not necessary to use this services on the beaches you can always go to beach for free. All the cafes on the beaches have the same price list. There isn’t any price different on their menu.
Boats and water sports are not allowed approach to the sea side, swimming areas are identified with the barriers. The beaches are very secure in Alanya we have sea and beach polices responsible for security on the beaches.
Damlatas blue flag beach situated to the west side of historical Alanya peninsula in front of Damlatas cave. Beach is sandy like sea floor. Long sandy beach reaches up to the peninsula. The bay with the big rocks and extending to the peninsula is called Cleopatra. According to legend queen of Egypt Cleopatra swam in this bay when she visit Anatolian coast line. Cleopatra bay specialty is clarity of water. If you like hiking you can use to walking path for to reach to Fosforlu Magra (Phosphorous Cave) by the peninsula. If you dive with the goggles you will have to chance to watch natural beauty of seabed in clean sea water. Entrance is free to the beach but you must pay for the parasols and lounge chair if you use.
As a continuation of Damlatas beach and approximately two kilometers long and blue flag beach. It is sandy like seabed. Long and large beach is very deep in few steps. It is one of the favorite beach in Alanya. In summer season this beach welcomes thousands of people. Just at the back side of the beach it is possible to find cafes, green parks, hotels and sports facilities. Water sports like parasailing, jet ski, pedalo are popular activities in this beach. All those activities area is outside of swimming zone. Entrance to the beach is free parasols and lounge beds are payable. Every each 50 m cafes are serving food and drinks. Sunset from this beach create magnificent scenery.
Blue flag beach start from Alanya town hall and 3 km long at the easth side of historical peninsula. It sandy but in some places it has rocky spaces. Because of the bougainvillea plants in the parks and green areas near by this beach called Bougainvillea Beach by the local resident. Like Cleopatra beach this beach also popular and water sports activities available on the beach. Entrance is free but parasols and lounge beds are payable. The hotels cafes and restaurants on the beach can be used by the visitors on that beach. From some of hotels pier the boat trips are available and it is also possible to take this tours by visitors.
Blue flag one kilometer long beach situated east side of Alanya city center. As a continuation of Keykubat Beach it starts where the Oba Cay meets with the sea and it ands in estuary of Dim River. At the back of this beach magnificent Taurus mountains are set. The beach is sparse sandy and sometimes they are 100 m long. The seabed is sandy and rocky in this beach. Free entrance to this public beach. Cafes and restaurants are available for the visitors. It is possible to find water sports activities on this beach. The rivers are bringing cold water to the sea and it is a great fun to swim in this cold water.
Catering for all the European tourists, almost everyone in Alanya accepts Euros. You may not even have to exchange your Euros at all. When taking money out of the automatic teller machines, make sure they can give you Euros as well as Lira. It's also very easy to exchange all Scandinavian crowns (krona, krone, possibly except Icelandic króna) in many exchange offices of the town—something not very usual in the rest of Turkey—as many holiday-makers in Alanya are Scandinavians.
Alanya is full to the brim of shops, which become very repetitive since they all sell pretty much exactly the same wares. The shops shamelessly sell fake brands and goods, where the expiry date has been long exceeded. A list of the most common items:
- Clothing: Shoes and T-shirts from Puma, etc. (fake of course!)
- Watches: Everything from Seiko to DKNY (fake of course!)
- Bags and Wallets
- Turkish Tea sets
- Water Pipes and tobacco
Be prepared to haggle, the shop owners expect it. This means you need to know the approximate value for the items you would like to buy. You can check the value either by research online in advance or by asking any friendly local. When you haggle, they will offer you an absurdly high price. This means that you can offer a couple of Euros and try to meet somewhere at the price you have decided to be your maximum. Obviously, you can't haggle in a supermarket, petrol station, etc. Trying to haggle for groceries is generally frowned upon. You will have to haggle in the cocktail bars that are lined up along the beach promenade, if you don't want to pay more for a meal and drinks than in Europe. Many restaurants/bars/etc don't even have prices on their menu.
Turkish food in general is really tasty. Try:
- Lahmacun: These will cost you around 5 Lira and are more like a snack than a meal
- Baklava: Turkish sweet. The cost depends on the weight (e.g. 25-50 Lira for a kilogram)
If you are in an "All Inclusive" hotel (which is usually the case), all your meals are provided by the hotel.
Coffe & Drink
- Turkish coffee
Be warned that the prices of drinks in the night clubs may be insanely high. Expect a beer to cost from €3.00 to €6.00.
Sights & Landmarks
- The Citadel (Kale) occupies a hilly peninsula surrounded by the sea on three sides, and by the modern parts of the city on the other. Although the signs showing way to ‘Castle’ (Kale) points to the highest parts of the walls, the walls can be followed starting right at the sea level. Particularly interesting in (or next to) the citadel is the tip of the peninsula formed by a high and narrow extension of rocks, jutting long into the sea. This formation is named Adam Atacağı in Turkish (pronounced aa-daam aa-taa-jaa-a), literally “man thrower”, as here was where people condemned to death were pushed into the sea.
- The Red Tower (Kızıl Kule) – The hexagonal tower of the citadel which is nearest to sea.
- Old shipyard (Tersane) – Built by the Seljuqs, this structure dates back to 1228. Located very near the Red Tower.
- Damlataş Cave near Kleoptra Beach.
- Caves around the town, accessible by boat trips.
- Dim Çayı
- Sapadere Kanyonu
Museums & Galleries
Alanya Ataturk House Museum
This museum is leader of Turkey and founder of Turkey Republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s house. Located in districk of Sekerhane, Azaklar Street.
This house is belong to deep-rooted family of Alanya Azakoglu. This house is storey 3 floors building. Atatürk stay and rest in this house 18 February 1935 in the mediterranean travel. The last owner of house Rıza Azakoglu donated to the culture and tourism ministry. Culture and tourism ministry decide to restore Ataturk House. This Ataturk House open as a museum in 30 April 1987 by president of Turkey Kenan Evren.
The garden of this house shows the 19th century of Turkish architecture quality. In entrance floor exhibiting Ataturk’s personal things, pictures, documents and telegraph which are sent by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk to Alanya people. There is also traditional furniture in last floor.
Alanya Archeology Museum
This museum opened in 1967 and divide 2 parts. One is archeology one is etnograpy. There are some collections and inventions to exhibit people. Every year museum became richer with new inventions and diggins.
Difference in Etnographic part is Lydia, Rome and Ottoman species available. You can see the bronze statu of Greek mythology Hero Hercul. This statu found 35km faraway to Alanya. Some of people tried to let escape this statu out of Turkey. But this attempt was failured. Now exhibiting in this museum.
At last there are many jugs exhibiting in etnographic part. At the same time you can see the ancient furniture in here. Also exculusive weapon collections, hand made carpets, ancient Kur-an, clothes and library.
Archeology part is in the garden of museum and interesting as well as Etnographic part. There are many flowers and animals. There are some grave in the garden. These are comes from Rome, Greek, Seljuk and Ottoman history. These are just example of grave. But some of the local people believe that these graves are real. Watching the how make olive oil in the past possible.
Alanya Citadel Castle Museum
This museum is at the hill peninsula of mediterranean. Alanya castle is symbol of Alanya. Every year many tourists visit this ancient castle. After dig the history this magnificent castle of Seljuk Sultan I. Alaeddin Keykubat was found. Diggins have been continue nowadays.
There is a church citadel of castle. This church belongs to Seljuk time. The history writes this church made by Aya Yorgi or Hagios Georgios in 6th century. The plan of church is as a clover. Many religion use this church at past. We understand that seljuks shows their hospitality all the time. There are many fresk on the Wall of church.
There is mountain and West side of Alanya panorama in citadel of Alanya castle. There is also a cistern and called ‘’ throw man place’’. According to tale that the guilty has three chance to reach stone to the sea. If the guilty reach it the guilty was forgiven. Otherwise the guilty throw to the cliff in the sack. The tale says that cistern as a prison.
Things to do
There is a lot to do in Alanya and there are plenty of tour companies whole heartedly willing to help you.
- Boat trip (try to haggle down to €5 for one hour), should include visits to caves (if the weather permits it) and lunch as well as animation with Eurodance music
- Scuba Diving (more fish during the high season)
- Jeep safari tours
- Quad bike tours
- Donkey riding
- Trip to historic Amphitheatre in Aspendos
- Trip to Dim Çayı