Silifke Tourist Attractions
South coast (Eastern Mediterranean)SituationSilifke (formerly Selefke) lies about 10km/6mi from the Mediterranean on the right bank of the Göksu Nehri. It occupies the site of ancient Seuleukeia Tracheia, one of the cities founded by Seleukos Nikator (312-281 B.C.) and an important road junction in "Rough" Cilicia. The town which flourished up to the end of the Imperial Roman period was also famous for its oracle of Apollo.
The remains of the Konak which dates from the Roman period are visible. Inside is a collection of architectural material (inscriptions, statues, fragments etc.). The ruins of the Crusader Castle of Camardesium, successor to the acropolis, can be seen on the hill to the west. An ancient necropolis with many sarcophagi and rock tombs lies on the southern slope and on the neighboring hill.
Göksu Nehri (Saleph)
The Göksu Nehri (Blue Water), the sources of which originate in the mighty Ak Dagi range to the northwest, acquired some notoriety as it was here on June 10th 1190 that Emperor Frederick Barbarossa was drowned while on the march during the Third Crusade. A memorial stone was erected in 1970 on the road to Konya. The predominantly westerly direction of the wind is causing the river delta to extend southwards in a long narrow sand spit, creating areas of marsh, small lakes and coastal lagoons.
Meriamlik (Aya Tekla)
A good half-hour's walk to the south of Silifke along a stepped footpath hewn from the soft local rock lies Meriamlik. It is situated on a hill projecting to the east and was one of the most frequented places of pilgrimage during the Early Christian period. St Thekla, a pupil of the Apostle Paul, was said to have lived in a cave here and to have disappeared into the earth to escape her oppressors. Of the numerous churches, monasteries and other sacred buildings, only the apse of the great columned basilica at the southern end of the plateau remains above ground. This huge structure (90x37m/295x120ft) with forecourt, narthex, three aisles and sacristies in addition to the apse was built by the Emperor Zeno (474-91) on the site of an earlier basilica. Below the church are the sacred caves, reconstructed in the second century to form a three-aisled crypt; they are still visited by pilgrims.
About 7km/4mi north of Silifke, the road to Uzuncaburç passes a number of second and third century tombs in different styles. There are three basic architectural styles: towers, temples and houses: the square towers are mostly simple and relatively slender, the temple tombs are so called because of their Corinthian columns, while the plain house-tombs have a rather squat appearance. The last two often display sculptures of the deceased on the gabled wall. These tombs are a part of the necropolis of the ancient Roman town of Imbriogon, dating from the second/third century.
Highlights at ancient Olba include the 200 B.C. tower, Hellenistic and Roman period dwellings, a theater, a Byzantine church, and the 300 B.C Temple of Zeus.
Six km north of Susanoglu lies the small coastal town of Narlikuyu (pomegranate fountain) with the remains of ancient baths and a finely colored fourth century mosaic on display in a small covered museum. The mosaic represents the "Three Graces" with the goddesses Aglaia (Grace), Euphrosyne (Merriment) and Thalia (Charm). According to the inscription it was presented by the governor of the Princes' Islands, Poimenios, who controlled the flow of water from the spring and built a bath here. Another inscription reads: "Whoever drinks this water will become wise and live long, the ugly will become beautiful."
A side road from Narlikuyu (3km/2mi) goes up to the two Corycian Caves or in Turkish Cennet ve Cehennem (Heaven and Hell) with a chapel and various ancient remains. The two huge, collapsed sink-holes (obruk) are sited above a cave system with an underground lake that extends under the sea in the Bay of Narlikuyu emerging as a karst spring. When the sea is calm, the flow of water can be seen from the surface. While the round 120m/393ft Cehennem (Hell) cave 75m/80yds further east is not accessible, steps lead down to the larger Cennet (Heaven) cave which is 100m/325ft wide and 550m/1,800ft long. What is initially an open pit leads to a deeper cave at the rear. Known as the Typhon Cave (300m/984ft long and 75m/246ft high), the fifth century Chapel of St Mary stands at the edge, guarding the entrance to the underworld where the monster Typhon with a hundred dragon heads and snake feet lived.
4km/2.5mi northeast of Narlikuyu the massive remains of the citadel of ancient Korykos face the picturesque island fortress of Kizkalesi (Maiden's Castle). During the Middle Ages this fortified islet became one of the most notorious pirates' lairs on the coasts of the Mediterranean. The present name derives from an old legend. A sultan was told by a soothsayer that his daughter would die of a snakebite, whereupon he built a castle, hoping that the sturdy walls would protect her. The prophecy was fulfillled however, when he himself sent her a basket of fruit and she was bitten by a snake concealed inside.
4km/2.5mi north of Korykos lies Ayas with the widely scattered remains of ancient Elaiusa-Sebaste. Partly covered by drifting sand, there are remains of a five-aisled basilica on the mainland and various ruined parts of the city including a temple, theater, grain-stores etc. In a wide arc around the city lie several necropolises with house-tombs and sarcophagi.
Above the Cennet ve Cehennem Caves some 3km/2mi from Kizkalesi in the direction of Hüseyinler some interesting rock tombs and carvings with human figures can be seen.
About 40km/25mi northeast of Silifke a side road forks off to the left to the ruined site of ancient Kanytelleis (3km/2mi). It was discovered by Langlois in 1852 and lies around a deep sink-hole (obruk) which it is possible to descend by a narrow footpath. The ruins of many of the town's sacred and secular buildings can still be seen, including five churches (two large eighth/ninth century basilica). On the south side stands a huge Hellenistic tower, which the priestly prince Teukros of Olba Diocaesarea (Uzuncaburç) built around 200 B.C. in honor of Zeus Olbios who was revered in Olba. Extensive necropoles with sarcophagi, temple tombs and house-tombs can be found around the town.Several decades ago the town was settled by the Yürüks (a nomadic or semi-nomadic tribe), whose simple dwellings and cemetery can be found inside the ruined site.
About 20km/12mi west of Silifke beside the large bay of Tasucu (Bogsak Körfezi) stands the octagonal castle of Liman Kalesi. Cisterns and dwellings can be found hidden behind the walls. At the beginning of the 19th century it was almost certainly used as a pirates' lair.