Alanya is a fast growing town about 135 km east of Antalya. Quite often called the pearl of the Turkish Riviera, Alanya has become well known world wide because of its sandy, clean beaches, the crystal clear, deep blue waters and the excellent climate of the Mediterranean area.
Its historical development, numerous sights of natural beauty and its multicultural life style have made Alanya into something really special. Lots of different types of water sports are on offer, and its picturesque bazaar and never-ending night life have made Alanya into a famous holiday resort on the Turkish Riviera for Turkish as well as for European people. There is a joke about the town which says Alanya has been conquered by Europeans and then set free as a Turkish holiday resort.
Alanya and its surroundings are in an area of subtropical Mediterranean climate with very mild winters and dry summers. Because of this there are no huge fruit gardens in the area as there is not enough water from the ground and no artificial irrigation system has been introduced. Instead of the fruit gardens you will find a kind of steppe vegetation with bushes of oleanders and wild olive and eucalyptus trees all along the coastline. It is only in spring that the scenery changes from the grey of the mountain ranges to the green of the grass and lots of small flowers.
Alanya was a very important harbour for the Seljuk people. Now it is the Miami of Turkey. Over the years, Alanya has become one of the most important tourist cities in Turkey.
Because of its subtropical climate, more and more tourists stay in Alanya during the winter as well, when it is comfortable and relaxing, partly because its small restaurants, bars and shops are not as crowded as they are in summer.
The ancient town formerly called Alaiye is situated at the eastern end of the Gulf of Antalya. The town is situated on a peninsula of thick marble stone and is overlooked by an old Seldjuk castle. To the right and left of this huge mountain the sandy beaches meet the feet of the mountain. Immediately away from the coastline the land rises to the peaks of the Taurus Mountains, the highest one nearest Alanya being the Ak Dagi (2647 metres in height).
Because of its picturesque position, its subtropical climate and certainly its wonderful beaches, many people visit Alanya both as a winter health resort and as a seaside resort. The number of historical buildings created by the Seldjuks also draws people to the area.
The town's name has changed several times throughout its history. About 2200 years ago its name was Korakesion (Coracesium) when it was a Kilikian fortress against the kingdom of Pamphylia. About 200 BC, a pirate leader called Diodoros Tryphon started building the first castle. This was destroyed by Pompeius at the end of his campaign against the pirates. Following these events Alanya came under Roman control and leadership. A little later Antonius gave Alanya to Kleopatra as a present. Much later, under the leadership of the Seldjuks (from 1221), Alanya became more famous when Sultan Alaeddin Kaikobad used it as one of his winter resorts and changed the name to Alaiye. Between 1226 and 1231 he started building the castle and the harbour as one of his marine bases. This led to the town becoming more and more important to the Seldjuk control of the seas. However, because there wasn´t enough protection from the sea and the distance inland to the mountains was so small, the town did not become important economically.