From MERSIN To ANAMUR :
"A gift for Cleopatra"
The road from Mersin to Silifke closely follows the coast, passing by pine forests and
orange groves. On one side lie the ruins of cities, basilicas
and tombs, on the other a series of small secluded coves with
sandy beaches. 13 km west of Mersin, a row of Corinthian columns
that once lined the main street, remain at Viransehir (ancient
Pompeiopolis), founded in 700 B.C. by Rhodians. At Kanlidivane
are the ruins of ancient Kanytelis, with tombs resembling small
temples, churches and sarcophagi dating from Roman and Byzantine
times. The city itself and the ruins are all on the sides of
a deep chasm.
Kizkalesi, a holiday resort and the ancient site of Korykos, has
fine sandy beaches, motels and camp sites. The Castle of Korykos
on shore faces another fort, Kizkalesi (Maiden's Castle), that
stands on a tiny island 200 meters offshore. Formerly a
sea wall joined the two fortresses.
Just beyond Kizkalesi, on a bay lined with fish restaurants at
the little fishing village of Narlikuyu ,is a Roman mosaic depicting
the Three Graces. Farther on are the deep chasms known as Cennet-Cehennem
(Heaven and Hell). In the Vale of Heaven are the ruins of a fifth-century
chapel. Nearby in the deep Narlikuyu Cave, full of stalagmites
and stalactites, the humid air is believed to aid sufferers of
respiratory diseases. The Mausoleum of the Fearless King (Mezgit
Kalesi) is 12 km north of Susanoglu Beach and 2.5 km east of Pasli
Village. The mausoleum facade is 8 metres high, with Corinthian
columns and a 1 metre-high relief of Priapos on the base. It is
the largest mausoleum and dates from Roman times.
Located slightly inland, Silifke (90 km from Mersin) spreads out
at the foot of a hill. Crowned with a citadel this piece of high
ground was formerly the acropolis of ancient Cilician Seleucia.
In the town a Roman bridge crosses the ancient Calycadnos River,
today called the Goksu. Ataturk once stayed in a local turn-of-thecentury
house that has now been converted into the Ethnographical Museum.
The Silifke Archaeological Museum, on the way to Tasucu, is filled
with relies from all over the area. In Demircili ( the ancient
Imbriogon), north of Silifke on the way to Uzuncaburc, there are
well-preserved monumental tombs of the early Roman period.
The drive up the mountain
road to the magnificent ancient site of Diocaesarea, Uzuncaburc,
at 1200 meters, is lined with large tombs. The remains of the
impressive Temple of Zeus Olbius, theTemple of Tyche, a monumental
arch, theater, Byzantine church, and tower are outstanding. Four
kilometers to the east, the ruins of Olba (Ura) - the Roman aqueducts,
theater, and fountain -- make a quick tour well worthwhile.
Continuing along the coast road south from Silifke you come to
Meryemlik (Ayatekla), a Roman necropolis with the tomb and church
of St. Thecla, the first female martyr.
Tasucu, 18 km from Guney Dogu, with good accommodation for tourists,
is a resort town with sandy beaches and a harbor. A regular sea
bus and ferry boat service connects the town with Girne in the
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Ovacik, 44 km west of Tasucu, is a quiet spot wellknown for its
fisherman's wharf and beach. The Reninsula (ancient Cavaliere)
of Ovacik is one of the natural highlights of Turkey, an area
ideal for diving. If this sport interests you, visit Kosrelik
Bay and Kosrelik Island, Off the coast of Kosrelik Bay, you will
find Roman ruins and beautiful mosaics in Afrodisias, 18 km southeast
of Ovacik. Aydincik, to the west of Ovacik, clearly marks the
surrounding sailing waters ensuring safety for the yachts that
ply this breathtaking stretch of coast. The shore road that clings
to the pine-clad mountain slopes, which plunge steeply down to
the sea, offers spectacular views of cliffs, coves and the brilliant
turquoise waters of the Mediterranean.
Another 36 km to the west of Aydincik, Bozyazi is a holiday center
with clean and roomy camping sites along its wide beaches.
The fine, well-preserved Anamur Castle, set between two curving
sandy beaches, commands a splendid view of the coastline. Originally
built by the Crusaders in the Middle Ages, it later served as
an Ottoman stronghold.
138 km from Silifke and a few km inland, the town of Anamur, is
nestled in the mountains with banana plantations surrounding it.
Just west of town on a beautiful beach are the ruins of the ancient
Anamorium with double ramparts, a theater, odeon, bath and necropolis.