Alanya has more than 20.000 years of exciting history regarding tradeing, roman occupation, emperors and pirates.
Settlements in the Alanya area has been traced as far back as 20.000 years ago, the earliest known name for the area was Coracesium, which means rock. This name was first seen around the 4th century BC, the city was at that time under Persian control. Thanks to the great walls for defense, the city resisted an attack in 197 BC from Antiokus III the great. The fact that the city resisted the attack from this mighty conquer, showed how strong the Alanya fortress was.
The fortress was upgraded and made even stronger, when the pirate “diodutus Tryphon” from 137 BC, started to use Alanya harbor as his base of activities. He build the impressive fortress on the mountainside in the middle of Alanya. This transformed Alanya into the center for all the kilikis pirates, who plunder the eastern parts of the Mediterranean for more than a 100 years.
Julius Caesar in Alanya
The pirates became a big problem for Rome, and as a young unknown soldier Julius Caesar was captured and held hostage for a year in one of the pirate cities, before ransom was paid and he was released. After his release, Caesar gathered a small army he then brought to destroy the pirates who had him as a prisoner. This was the foundation that he later became famous of. The senate of Rome commanded in 67 BC, Pompejus to equip a fleet, that was to travel to the eastern part of the Mediterranean and get rid of all the pirates there, this lead to a massive last stand for the pirates at Coracesiums harbor, this was the last safe haven for the pirates and after it was lost to the Roman, the region became a part of the Roman empire.
The famous queen Cleopatra from Egypt also was a part of the region’s history, this was threw her love affair with the roman general Markus Antonius. He gave the city to Cleopatra, so she would be able to gather lumber there, to rebuild her fleet. West of the big mountain fortress in Alanya, the best beach of Alanya is placed; this beach still carries the name of Cleopatra. At the top of the fortress area, the Byzantines raised a Christian church in the 6th century AD. This was called Sct. Georg, at the time the city was called Kalonoros, which means ‘beautiful mountain’.
Armenians, Seljuk’s and the Ottoman turks.
Later the Armenians captured the region, and then the Seljuk’s sultan Alaeddin Keykubat took over the area making it his winterhome. He renewed the city, and he build the red tower and some docks at the harbor. Besides that he also rebuild some of the fortress that had earlier been destroyed. From then the harbor was the base of operations for the Seljuk’s fleet. Alaeddin Keykubut the called the city Alaiye, which means “Ala’s city”. Under the rule of sultan Mehmet the conquer in 1471 AD the city became a part of the Ottoman turk’s realm, and was until the 18th century an important harbor for trading with Egypt, Syria and Cypress.
The modern Alanya
When Atatûrk in 1935 visited the city, it was named Alanya. After that the city had a long period where it had no importance, but around 35 years ago, the city began to develop into the modern and well-functioning travel location it is today.