Alanya Citadel - History and Facts | History Hit

Alanya Citadel

Alanya, Mediterranean Region, Turkey

Part of Alanya Castle, the Citadel (or Ickale) dates back to the 6th century and offers magnificent views.

Peta Stamper

08 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Alanya Citadel

The Alanya Citadel or ‘Ickale’ dates back to the 6th century AD and is the oldest part of the Alanya Castle complex in Turkey. Most of the fortifications you can see today date to the 13th century.

Inside the Citadel are the remains of Seljuk cisterns, the palace of Sultan Alaaddin Keykubat, the ruins of a Seljuk bath and an 11th century Byzantine church.

Among the attractions of the Citadel is a high platform offering magnificent views of the Mediterranean peninsula and the Taurus Mountains while also concealing a much darker history…

Alanya Citadel history

Most of Alanya Citadel was built in the 13th century under the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm after the city’s conquest by Alaeddin Keykubad in 1220. Part of a building campaign that included the Kizil Kule tower – symbol of the city of Alanya – the castle was built upon remains of earlier Byzantine and Roman fortifications.

The castle, located 250 metres high on a rocky peninsula in the Mediterranean, had a 4 mile-long wall dotted with 140 towers. After the area was conquered and pacified by the Ottomans, the castle stopped being only defensive, and many villas were built inside the walls during the 19th century.

According to legend, the Alanya Citadel’s platform was ominously referred to as the ‘Throwing Platform’, where prisoners condemned to death met their fate. Accordingly, prisoners were given the chance to reprieve themselves if they could throw a stone into the sea without it hitting the cliff.

Unfortunately for the prisoners, this was an impossible feat and many met their end by being tied into a sack and thrown over the edge.

Alanya Citadel today

Open between 8am and 5pm, today Alanya Citadel functions as an open-air museum and although entry is ticketed, much of the area inside the walls including the landward castle is open to the public. It can be a long day walking the entire length of the castle walls, nonetheless, it is rewarding to find symbols or inscriptions along the walls and the views of Cleopatra Beach are well worth the walk.

Getting to Alanya Citadel

Situated up a hill surrounded by blue seas, Alanya Citadel is easily reached by bus number 4 from the centre of Alanya or can be walked to in under an hour.