Country: Republic of Turkey
Coordinates: 36°33′N 32°00′E
Mayor: Adem Murat Yücel
Population: 104 thousand people
Time zone: GMT+3
Area code: +90 242
Postal code: 07400
Licence plate: 07
Website: http://www.alanya.bel.tr/; http://www.alanya.gov.tr/
Alanya is a beach resort city and a component district of Antalya Province in the Mediterranean Region of Turkey, 138 kilometres from the city of Antalya. On the southern coast of Turkey, the district (which includes the city and its built-up area) has an area of 1,598.51 km2 and (2010 Census) 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 makes 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. Mayor Hasan Sipahioğlu, of the Justice and Development Party, has led the city since 1999.
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”. Storm cells sometimes bring with them fair weather waterspouts when close to the shore. The presence of the Taurus Mountain in close proximity to the sea causes fog, in turn creating visible rainbows many mornings. 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 annually, with an average August temperature of 28 °C.
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. Dalmatic Cave, which originally sparked the arrival of outsiders because of the cave’s microclimate, with an average temperature of 22 °C and 95% humidity, is accessible on the west side of the peninsula with trails from Dalmatic 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 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.
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.
It is not exactly known when Alanya, situated on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey was first settled. However, the exploration made in the Kadiini Cave, 12 kilometres from the centre, suggests that the human history of the region dates back to the Palaeolithic Age. The earliest known name of the settlement was Coracesium. As early as the 4th century BC, Alanya, under the Persian control, exported honey and wine to Egypt. In 197 BC, the city, thanks to its strong defensive walls, successfully resisted an attack by King Antiochus III. The pirate Diodotus Tryphon began using Alanya as a safe harbour by 137 BC, and the city rapidly became a hub for Cilician sea-bandits. The Roman Commander Pompeius brought an end to the piratical activity in the region with his victorious sea battle in 67 BC. Following this war the region was incorporated into the Roman Empire, and the Roman General Mark Anthony later rendered it as a gift to Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt.
During antiquity the city passed between the control of neighbouring Cilicia and Pamphylia, and during the 7th and 8th centuries AD, successive wars and economic stagnation caused the city to shrink.
The Seljuk Period brought the history of Alanya to its zenith. In 1221, the Seljuk Sultan Alaaddin Keykubat made Alanya his winter residence and rebuilt the city, and Alanya became the main base of the Seljuk navy. In this period defensive walls ware renovated and Kizikule (Red Tower) and Tersane (Dockyard) were constructed. During the reign of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, in 1471, Alanya was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire, and between the 13th and 18th centuries it prospered as an important port for maritime trading with Egypt, Syria and Cyprus. In 1935, Ataturk visited the city and renamed it as “Alanya”. In our time, Alanya is one of the prominent tourist destinations of the Mediterranean, offering a rich historical and cultural heritage and modern facilities, enabling the easy enjoyment of sun, sand and sea.
Sights of Alanya:
- Fortifications and mosques of ancient city of Kaleici
- Yivli minaret (height is 38 m.; constructed in the XIII century)
- Adrian’s gate (constructed in honour of arrival of the Roman emperor Adrian in 130 AD)
- Hidirlik Tower
- Horologium Saat Kulesi
- Suna and Inan Kyrach’s museum
- Archaeological museum
- Monument to the first president Ataturk
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