Just over 50km/30mi north of Tarsus the valley of the Tarsus Çayi narrows into the defile now called Gülek Bogazi but famed in ancient times as the Cilician Gates (Latin "Pylae Ciliciae") - a rocky gorge several hundred meters high but barely 20m/65ft wide through which the river rushes. The ancient road which frequently featured in history was used by such notable figures as Semiramis, Xerxes, Darius, Cyrus the Younger, Alexander the Great, Haroun al-Rashid and Geoffrey de Bouillon. It followed the east side of the gorge, partly hewn from the rock face and partly borne on projecting beams. A modern road has been blasted out of the cliffs and the new trunk road by-passes the gorge to the west. The old road is now in poor condition. Immediately south of the Cilician Gates rise the fortress-like crag of Gülek Kale Dagi with the ruined castle of Assa Kaliba crowning the hill 600m/2,000ft higher up.
Çamliyayla (formerly Namrun) is dominated by the castle of Namrunkalesi (formerly Lampron), the ancestral home of the Armenian Hetumids, who replaced the Rupenids as the kings of Armenia Minor. The castle set on a steeply sloping rock plateau consists of a higher and lower fortress and the remains of a large residential settlement. Apart from the fortifications with a keep and four towers, the inhabitant's way of safeguarding the water supply is of interest: a water tunnel links the keep with a spring and a bath. The castle itself with its huge walls occupies a position on the northern corner of the plateau and contains five rooms, the large east room being the most striking. The castle offers a magnificent view over the Taurus mountains.
Mersin (Icel), Turkey
The village of Viransehir is situated 14km/9mi southwest of Mersin and lies close to the remains of the ancient port of Soloi. The town was founded about 700 B.C. as a Rhodian colony but was later captured by Alexander the Great. During the subsequent struggle between the Ptolemies and Seleucids the town was destroyed several times. In the third century it was the birthplace of the Stoic philosopher Chrysippos and the mathematician and astronomer Aratos who wrote a didactic poem on the constellations ("Phainomena"). In 91 B.C. the town was destroyed by King Tigranes of Armenia (95-60 B.C.) and also during the wars against the Mediterranean pirates.After defeating the pirates Pompey settled them in Soloi, rebuilt the town and called it Pompeiopolis. Thereafter it developed into a flourishing commercial center. In A.D. 527 or 528 it was destroyed by an earthquake.Since the site was used as a source of building material for the construction of Mersin there are few remains of the ancient city to be seen. The main feature is a colonnaded street 450m/490yds long running northwest from the harbor through the center of the site. Other features which can be identified are a gate in the town walls of which only the foundations survive, an almost completely destroyed theater probably built against an artificial hill on the northeast side of the town, an aqueduct outside the town and the harbor wall which ends in a semi-circle. The harbor itself is almost totally silted up. To judge by the capitals of the colonnaded street, it was begun in the middle of the A.D. second century.