The Institute of Science, Culture, and the Arts of the United Nations (UNESCO), thanks to the magnificient monuments and the historical structure, has granted Alanya the status of a city that belongs to the world cultural heritage. Turkish city of Alanya appears in front of our eyes with a unity of history and modernity, the past and the present. There is an amazing harmony of tradition and innovation that allow us to see a something that has matured and accumulated, got prepared by the preceeding generations. Yes, we can see it all today in Alanya. We can see those cultural, moral, and aesthetic values that have evolved over the centuries. The recognition of these particular values brings harmony both the soul of a human being and to the society as well. The city of Alanya fills us with a precious sense of our common history. This feeling helps an emotional perception of a traditional historical material and establishes the communication through the time periods. We cease to perceive the history as a distant past. Comprehending the past from the height of a new historical time, modern Alanya passes on the baton of its predecessors to the modern and the future generations. No wonder that the tourists that visit the city by driving through the road that leads to Alanya have a feeling of being the time travelers. This road, as if coming from the time immemorial, crosses the ancient cities and the unique settlements.
The city of Alanya was founded on a small peninsula, to the north of which rise the beautiful Taurus Mountains, which are washed by the Mediterranean Sea in the south. There is no exact information about the first settlement on the site of Alanya. However, according to the research of the Professor Kilinca Kokten, that was conducted in 1957 in the Kadyini cave, located 12km from the center of Alanya, the history of the settlement of the region begins around Upper Paleolithic (17000-20000 years ago). The first capital buildings that are known today around the city, belong to the epochs of the Hittite kingdom and the Achaemenid Empire. In the ancient times, the city of Alanya has been located on the border of Pamphylia and Kilikia, so it is often attributed to one region or another. Herodot points out that the people who loved in the region between Pamphylia and Kilikia were the descendants of those people who have settled the Anatolia after the Trojan War.
The very first time that Alanya is mentioned in the history, it bears the name of Coracesium. This name has been used by the geographer called Skilaks who lived in the fourth century BC. At that time, this region has been invaded by the Persians. After some time, the city became a major pirate center in the Mediterranean, strong and skilled enough to withstand the Roman fleet and become the base of the fearsome pirate called Drifon. All what the pirates collected through the raids was kept in the fortress, which also served as their headquarters. Although, back in 139 BC, the city of Coracesium was conquered by Antiochus VII, the King of Seleucid Empire of the Syrian region, it still remained a refugee of pirates for some time. Over the several past centuries BC and at the beginning of our era, the city was repeatedly passed from hand to hand, witnessing the existence and ceasing of several kingdoms.
As it was expanding eastward, the Roman Republic has put an end to the domination of the pirats. In 65 BC, the city became a part of the Roman Empire after the naval attack of the famous Roman commander Magnus Pompelus. The Roman Senate has armed the Gnaeus Pompeius with a fleet of 120,000 soldiers who have been clearing all the Mare Nostrum from the pirates for two months. The decisive battle took place at the Corakesion in 76 BC. It was right then when the Marcus Antonius has given the city and all the nearby territories as a gift to Kleopatra who has used the local cedar forests for the shipbuilding purposes. Kleopatra has transformed the area and made it her favourite place to rest. One of the most beautiful beaches in Alanya is named after her.
Back in the VII century, the city resisted the Arab invasion by strengthening its walls. When the Crusaders seized the Istanbul in 1204 and founded the Latin Empire instead of Byzantium, one of the feudal lords called Cyrus Warth, taking advantage of the lack of power in Anatolia, established his own rule in Kalonoros. In 1221, the Sultain of the Selcuk dynasty, Alaaddin Keyqubat has seized the power in the city. He took the city by siege and Cyrus Warth has surrended without a fight. Alaaddin Keykubat has married the daughter of Cyrus called Warta, has rebuilt the city and made it the winter capital of Selcuk. He has also named the city after himself - Alaye. In the reign of Keykubat the city reaches its peak. The Sultan has turned the city into a naval base by building a shipyard. Most of the monuments in the modern Alanya belong to the Selcuk period. It was under the Sultan's reign that the several mosques and the famous Red Tower of Alanya have been built. A significant part of the new fortress has survived until the pesent day and testifies to the crucial role of the city during the Selcuk dynasty era. By this time, the construction of the first fortifications is also related. By the thirteenth century, the Selcuks have finally conquered the Kalonoros. In 1293-1471, Alaye has been the center of an independent Beylik of the Karamanids.
After the fall of Rome, the city has gone through the Byzantine era and received a new name - Kalonoros, which means "a beautiful mountain". It was the name given by the sailors. In XI century after the IV Crusade, the city of Kalonoros is passed from the Byzantium to the Armenian Kilikia. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, due to the constant struggles between Christians and the coming Muslims, the city is once again passed from hands to hands.
Due to its proximity to the Selcuk capital Konya, Alaia (Alaye) has surpassed Antalya as the commercial trade and a military port. At the end of the fifteenth century, in a transitional period between Selcuk and the Ottoman rule, the city has been passed to the Ottomans. At the city shipyards, there were many military ships have built, belonging to the Ottomans and constantly cruising through the Mediterranean Sea.
In 1427 Alaye (Alaiye) became a part of the Mamluk State, located in Egypt. It happened as an exchange for 5000 gold coins. In 1471, Gedik Ahmet Pasha who was one of the commanders of the conqueror called Fatih, has made Alaiye the part of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans have made Alanya the part of the State of Cyprus in 1571, then a part of the Konya principality. Finally, Alaiye was made a part of Antalya in 1868. In 1871, it became the administrative district of Antalya. During the rule of the Ottoman Empire, the city repeatedly became a scene of the sea battles and the sieges. It constantly served as the most important commercial port, military base, and the transit point. With the fall of the Ottoman Empire as a result of Liberation War under the leadership of Kemal Ataturk, the city became a part of the Turkish Republic. In 1935, the city receives its modern name - Alanya.
In the first half of the twentieth century, Alanya became an agrarian city, dependent on production of citrus and bananas. In the 1950s, it became the center of a national tourist activity, aimed at the recreation, thanks to the healing air of the Damlatas cave. In the 1990s, with the rapid development of the Turkish Riviera, the tourist flow has increased for many times. The tourist value of the city has embraced the international dimensions by then, its position has rapidly improved due to its historical past and the natural beauty. Alanya today is one of the largest tourist centers in the Mediterranean.
Presently in Alanya and within its environs, the archaeological excavations and the scientific research have been resumed. The modern Turkish historians and the archaeologists conduct particularly intensive research in the fortress and in the ancient palaces, revealing all the new and previously unknown pages of Alanya's past.