GAZİPAŞA, ANAMUR, SİLİFKE: THIS ROUTE IS NOT SO POPULAR DUE TO ITS ROADS HAVING MANY CURVED SEGMENTS; HOWEVER, IT CONTAINS MANY INTERESTING STOPS.
Pirates used to hide at the coves of Gazipaşa, Anamur, and Silifke route. This region had that wild and remote nature once. It is not much different today; this route is not so popular due to its roads having many curved segments; however, it contains many interesting stops. The region situated between Alanya and Adana is named ancient Cilicia. This region is remarkable for visitors who would like to experience nature and history all together and for the ones who would like to take a break from crowds, ride around freely in a caravan, camp under the pine trees, and observe birds at Delta of Göksu. You are going to pass by the banana plantations, valleys, mountains, villages nested in ancient cities, restaurants unspoiled by tourism, and small but astonishing museums as you travel. We are going to accompany you all the way. Gazipaşa is settled near the ancient city of Selinus. It used to be an important harbor city that was linked to Cyprus by sea. Gazipaşa has a three kilometers long beach where it is known as Marina. Also, the pools situated in the sea at the Koru Beach are interesting to see. Sunsets are amazing in here. You are going to see the sign that says Antiochia Ad- Cragum pointing to Cilicia while traveling to east for about ten kilometers. Take the exit and advance through the southern village, five kilometers later you are going to pass by the village center and enter to a dirt road, then you are going to find yourself in the land of bananas.
History accompanied by banana plantations
Along the Gazipaşa-Anamur route, banana plantations and bananas sold by clusters are going to accompany you. The economy of Anamur benefited largely from banana plantations and strawberry greenhouses. You arrive in Anamur, which is 80 km to Gazipaşa and 130 km to Silifke, through sharply curved road segments. Anamur that is visited mostly by domestic visitors is a holiday destination. The very clean 18 km long beach, thanks to not being an industrial area, the 12 untouched coves situated between the village of Melleç and Anamur, and the suitable prices are remarkable. To go to the ancient settlement of Anemurium located on the shoulders of the Toros Mountains that reach to the sea, travel to east from Gazipaşa, five kilometers before reaching Anamur take the right exit, which is a two kilometers long dirt road and you are there. Its name means ‘windy cape’ and it is in the list of harbors, so we know that it existed in the 4th century BC. Because of its closeness to Cyprus, it had been used as a way station especially during the reign of the Romans. It covers the largest land surface in the city and it is among the best-conserved necropolis sites of Anatolia. Some of the inner walls and floors of the tombs are covered with frescos and mosaics. When the weather is clear, it is possible to view the silhouette of Cyprus from the hill, which used to be the acropolis of Anemurium once. You arrive in a beach with fine pebbles after leaving behind the ancient city. This is one of the 17 beaches where caretta caretta turtles leave their eggs. By following the rocks to your right, you reach the Anemurium Guiding Light, Turkey’s closest point to Cyprus. You can watch the high seas after climbing up to this French Light, which is located in Cape Anamur, 64 km away from Kyrenia.
A castle that has been a set for films
As traveling from Anamur to Silifke, you are going to see Mamure Castle, which is 8 km away from İskele. The castle is settled over an ancient foundation as many other Anatolian castles are. The Ottomans, following the British invasion of Cyprus in 1878, restored the castle, which had been used to protect the coast for long years. This place has served as a set to many Turkish movies, as its locals have become figurants. You should watch the landscape and observe its strategic location after climbing up to one of its towers. You can have a 1.5 km pleasant walk from İskele to the castle. You can see the boats that can take you to the other side where Dragon creek unites the sea, 500 meters away from İskele. After getting off the boat, you reach the castle following a short walk for one kilometer.
From the Three Beauties to Heaven and Hell
Narlıkuyu that is about 21 km away as you travel from Silifke to Mersin is located at a quiet cove, which is surrounded by seafood restaurants. It used to be a sea entrance for the visitors who used to come to see Heaven and Hell during the ancient times. Don’t miss to see the Three Beauties mosaic that takes place on the floor of the bath that was built by the order of Roman commander Poimenios where the healing waters plumed from the earth; the semi-goddess daughters of Zeus are dancing among the doves and partridges. The most interesting limestone caverns, Heaven and Hell, are located 2 km away from Narlıkuyu and Astım-Dilek cavern is situated 3 km through the inland.
The symbol of the Eastern Mediterranean
Kızkalesi, which is the most popular leisure destination, is located at the 25th kilometer of Silifke-Mersin road, a few kilometers east of Narlıkuyu. Kızkalesi –the Ancient City of Korykos– is an important harbor town of the region. It is known as the symbol of the Eastern Mediterranean. The outer castle located at the coast –Land Castle– and the one in the middle of the sea are in great condition. It is possible to see a part of the connection between the two castles over the sea surface.
Erdemli, which is popular among the campers, is located at the 32th kilometer of Silifke-Mersin highway, as traveling to east from Kızkalesi, 7 kilometers later. You reach Kanlıdivane where the ancient city of Kanytelleis is located following the road that curves to left for three kilometers. This is a place that the locals believe that criminals used to be thrown into a large and deep pit where they were devoured by wild animals. The pit, which is surrounded by Roman and Byzantine ruins as well as grape presses and water cisterns, is 70 meters wide, 60 meters deep, and 90 meters long. Famous with its sunsets, the ancient place is painted to crimson as the sun goes down.