Alanya is a seaside resort on the Turkish Riviera and is located 125 km east of Antalya. Alanya is the capital of the eponymous district in the east of Antalya province.
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. 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. Alanya has a typical hot-summer Mediterranean climate. Located at the Mediterranean Basin, the subtropical high pressure zone ensures that most rain comes during the winter, leaving the summers long, hot, and dry, prompting the Alanya Board of Tourism to use the slogan “where the sun smiles”. The height of the mountains creates an interesting effect as snow can often be seen on them even on hot days in the city below. The sea at Alanya has an average temperature of 21.4 °C (71 °F) annually, with an average August temperature of 28 °C (82 °F).
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 centre. Inside the castle is the Süleymaniye mosque and caravanserai, built bySuleiman 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 another well-known building in Alanya. The 108-foot (33 m) high brick building stands at the harbour below the castle, and contains the municipal ethnographic museum. Sultan Kayqubad I brought the accomplished 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 dry-dock 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 centre.
Atatürk’s House and Museum, from his short stay in the city on February 18, 1935 is preserved in its historic state and is a good example of the interior of a traditional Ottoman villa, with artefacts from the 1930s. The house was built between 1880 and 1885 in the “karnıyarık” (stuffed eggplant) style. Bright colours and red roofs are often mandated by neighbourhood councils, and give the modern town a pastel glow. Housed in a 1967 Republican era building, The Alanya Museum is inland from Damlataşh Beach. With its rich architectural heritage, 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.
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, andDutch, 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 water park, 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.