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article imagePhoto Essay: Alanya, Turkey, castle by the sea Special

By Lonna Lisa Williams     Mar 3, 2013 in World
Alanya - Two hours' drive east of Antalya, Alanya is a Turkish town built by a hilltop castle above the Mediterranean Sea. Swimming coves next to stone walls and olive groves beckon visitors who long for a sunny place.
I lived in Antalya for five months and was able to ride the bus for just over two hours east to Alanya. The southern coast of Turkey, along the Mediterranean Sea, is a place of sunny beaches, warm water, and old stone walls. Castles, mosques, churches, and Greek & Roman temples nestle in the hills or directly by the water.
Alanya is tied to Mediterranean-based empires like the Ptolemaic, Seleucid, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman. In the Middle Ages, during the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm, Alaeddin Kayqubad I fortified the city by building the Kızıl Kule (Red Tower), Tersane (Shipyard), and Alanya Kale (Castle).
Tourism is the main industry in Alanya, and 10,000 of the 250,000 inhabitants are European expatriates. I was amazed at the castle by the sea, close to swimming bays with warm, clear Mediterranean water. A modern yacht harbor with lighthouse leads to the Red Tower which is also a museum. My Turkish husband and I walked past the tower, on top of the castle walls, with the sea on one side and quiet olive groves on the other. Toward the end of Alanya Peninsula is the Tersane where Medieval ships would dock and be lifted up for repairs.
A hill rises above the sea, topped by Alanya Castle. You can ride a motorbike up the hill and see castle gates, old stone walls, and Mediterranean-style villas with red tiled roofs and courtyards. Merchants display their wares along the road, and little cafes offer Turkish tea and homemade cheese and potato bread. You can pay extra money to go inside the castle at the top of the hill and see an old church and mosque, but I preferred the natural views of coastline and blue sea cradled by red castle walls and cypress trees. Fresh sea air bathed my face as I drank in one of the best views in Turkey.
A lighthouse marks the yacht harbor
A lighthouse marks the yacht harbor
View of the lighthouse from the dock; you can see Alanya city center behind it
View of the lighthouse from the dock; you can see Alanya city center behind it
Red Tower and the castle by the sea
Red Tower and the castle by the sea
A swimming cove beneath the castle walls
A swimming cove beneath the castle walls
A boy swims in the clear Mediterranean Sea
A boy swims in the clear Mediterranean Sea
You can walk along the top of the castle walls
You can walk along the top of the castle walls
with an olive grove on one side
with an olive grove on one side
and a view of Medieval boat docks on the other side
and a view of Medieval boat docks on the other side
Villas nestle inside the castle walls
Villas nestle inside the castle walls
You can also ride a motorbike up Castle Hill
You can also ride a motorbike up Castle Hill
Stop at a viewpoint of Alanya harbor and city with its distant hills
Stop at a viewpoint of Alanya harbor and city with its distant hills
You can also look down at cypress trees and castle walls by the Mediterranean
You can also look down at cypress trees and castle walls by the Mediterranean
Further up the road  you can see the cliff-top castle above the Mediterranean coast
Further up the road, you can see the cliff-top castle above the Mediterranean coast
And the most beautiful view of all
And the most beautiful view of all
We stopped at this point
We stopped at this point
to drink tea at a hilltop cafe
to drink tea at a hilltop cafe
while a woman cooked us hot cheese and potato bread
while a woman cooked us hot cheese and potato bread
and her son played with his pony
and her son played with his pony
Then we drove down the back side of Alanya Hill to Cleopatra Beach  thankful for our time in Alanya
Then we drove down the back side of Alanya Hill to Cleopatra Beach, thankful for our time in Alanya
More about Alanya, Turkey, Castle, mediterranean sea, Beaches
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