Silifke Castle

Silifke Castle (Turkish: Silifke kalesi) is a medieval castle in Turkey.

Silifke Castle
Silifke, Mersin Province, Turkey
Silifke Castle is located in Turkey
Silifke Castle
Silifke Castle
Coordinates36°22′35″N 33°54′58″E / 36.37639°N 33.91611°E
Site information
Open to
the public
ConditionLarge sections of walls are still standing.
Site history
Built byByzantine Empire
Silifke Castle, Mersin Province.


The castle is in Silifke district of Mersin Province. It is situated to the west of Silifke city center, to the south of Göksu River (Calydanus of the antiquity) and to the north of the Turkish state highway D.715. Although its altitude is only 160 metres (520 ft) with respect to sea level, it is dominant over Silifke plains and the southern section of Göksu valley.[1]


Silifke (Roman: Seleucia; Byzantine: kastron Seleukeias; Arab: Salûqiya; Armenian: Selefkia or Selewkia; Frankish: Le Selef) was an important city in antiquity. Founded by and named after Seleucus I Nicator (359 BC-281 BC), one of the Diadochi who served as an infantry general under Alexander the Great. Few traces of the 3rd-century-B.C. settlement survive. There are fragments of a late Roman theater, necropolis, bath, 2nd-century temple, as well as a 5th-century Byzantines cistern. The 1st-century-A.D. stone bridge built during the reign of Emperor Vespasian was replaced in the 1870s. In the late 7th century, to counter Arab invasions, the Byzantines fortified the acropolis, which is situated above the Calycadnus River. The site had a weapons factory and was the administrative center for the coastal theme.[2] In the late-1180s the Rubenid Baron Leo II, who became a decade later Leo I, King of Armenian Cilicia, captured the town and fortress. En route to the Third Crusade Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor camped here in 1190, and drowned in the river. In exchange for money and cavalry support King Leo granted the castle in 1210 to the Knights Hospitaller who were to defend the western border of his kingdom from the Seljuk Turks. According to a survey published in 1987, most of the present castle is a Crusader construction.[2] On the death of King Leo in 1219 his daughter and designated heiress Zapēl, (also known as Isabella, Queen of Armenian Cilicia), was contracted to marry Philip, the son of Bohemond IV of Antioch. After various disputes with the Armenian barons Philip died by poison in 1226. Zapēl and her mother took refuge in Silifke. When the Armenian army arrived, the Franks surrendered the castle. A fragmentary Armenian inscription in the castle may record its repair or enlargement in 1236.[3] In 1248 the castle may have briefly had a Frankish commander, named Guiscard.


The castle has an oval-shaped plan. The length from west to east is about 250 meters (820 ft) and the width is about 75 meters (246 ft).[2] It is surrounded by a dry moat. According to the 17th-century Turkish traveler, Evliya Çelebi, there were 23 towers, 60 houses and a mosque in the castle.[4] Presently, 10 towers survive, many of which have surviving vaulted ceilings. An equal number of finely crafted under-crofts are preserved, some with pointed vaults. Most of the exterior facing stones consist of well-drafted ashlar blocks.


  1. ^ City news ‹See Tfd›(in Turkish) Archived 2011-12-11 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c Edwards, Robert W. (1987). The Fortifications of Armenian Cilicia: Dumbarton Oaks Studies XXIII. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University. pp. 221–229, 285, pls.200a–205b, 299c–300b. ISBN 0-88402-163-7.
  3. ^ Langlois, V. (1854). Inscriptions grecques, romaines, byzantines e arméniennes de la Cilicie. Paris. pp. 53–54.
  4. ^ Mersin tourism page ‹See Tfd›(in Turkish)
Belenkeşlik Castle

Belenkeşlik Castle is a medieval castle in Mersin Province, Turkey. At 36°58′20″N 34°33′12″E, it is situated to the north of Soğucak belde (town) of Mersin. Its distance to Mersin centreum is about 20 kilometres (12 mi).

The exact constructing date of the castle is not known. But it was probably a late Byzantine or an Armenian building. Belenkeşlik Castle was one of the smaller fortifications used to control the roads. Its is a rectangular plan castle. Although presently it is a two storey building, judging from the consoles, probably there was also a third floor in the past. The building material is face stone.

Boyabat Castle

Boyabat Castle, is a castle in the town of Boyabat, Sinop Province, Turkey built by the Paphlagonians in antiquity and reconstructed under Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman rule. The castle functions as a museum today.

Kazdere/Gazidere, a tributary of Gökirmak, cuts the rock that the Boyabat Castle is perched on with a dramatic pair of vertical walls. The wall on the castle side has a window on the rock face illuminating descending tunnels to a newly discovered large underground city from Roman times. The tunnels may also have served for water supply and safe passage during siege.

The castle, which probably has not been in serious use since around 1300 A.D. but may be as old as 2800 years, overlooks the Gökırmak valley. This valley is long and lies parallel with the Black Sea coast. Together with the similarly placed Yeşilırmak (river) valley further east, it forms a natural east-west pathway used since the antiquity as a trade route, possibly as part of the silk road. The castle may have served to protect this trade route. Being a suitable distance from Durağan, Hanönü and Taşköprü, it may have provided safe stop for caravans.

The older history of the area may have started from Bronze Age, and it may have been ruled by Kaskians, Hittites, Paphlagonians, Persians, Lydians, Pontus kingdom, and Romans.

The area has since it has been captured by Gazi_Gümüshtigin, the second leader of the Danishmends, a wassal of the Seljuq Sultanate of Rum, few decades after the Battle of Manzikert (1071) been under the rule of several Turkish states (Danishmends, Seljuq Turks, Pervaneoğulları, Jandarids), Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic and has been spared from major military conflicts and battles on its territory for at least 500 years.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Boyabat was part of the Kastamonu Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire.

Constantine of Baberon

Constantine of Baberon (died c. 1263) was a powerful Armenian noble of the Het‛umid family. He was the son of Vassag and the father of King Het‛um I, who ruled the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia from 1226 to 1270. Constantine played a pivotal role in placing his son on the throne by engineering the murder of Philip, the husband of Isabella, Queen of Armenia. He tricked Philip’s father, Bohemond IV of Antioch, to search for his son at Amouda rather than at Sis, where he was being tortured and poisoned. He then took his army to the gates of Silifke Castle, forced its Frankish lords to surrender Isabella, and arranged the marriage, making his son the first Het‛umid ruler of the Armenian Kingdom.Constantine began construction on the elaborate baronial apartments at Baberon (Çandır Castle), which were still standing in 1979. Nearby, at a site known today as Kız Kilisesi near Gösne, he built a monastic retreat with an ornate chapel whose dedicatory inscription is dated to 1241.Constantine, also known as the Grand Baron Constantine, was married to Alix Pahlavouni (a third-cousin of Leo II), with whom he fathered:

Sempad the Constable 1208-1276

Hethum I of Armenia 1213-1270

John the Bishop of Sis

Ochine of Korykos, father of the historian Hayton of Corycus

Maria, who married John of Ibelin, Count of Jaffa and Ascalon, the famous jurist

Stephanie of Lampron, married in 1237 to King Henry I of Cyprus

Dağlı Castle

Dağlı Castle (Turkish: Dağlı Kalesi) is a castle ruin in Mersin Province, Turkey

Evciler Castle

Evciler Castle (Turkish: Evciler Kalesi), also called as Kızılbağ Castle, is a small medieval castle in Mersin Province, Turkey.

The castle is locatedd at 37°02′26″N 34°29′34″E. Visitors from Mersin follow to highway norths to Kızılbağ, and from there eastwards to Değirmendere. The castle is situated on a 890 m (2,920 ft)-high hill. It overlooks Kızılbağ Pond. Its distance to Mersin is about 40 km (25 mi).

There is no historical document about the castle. But, judging from the masonry, it must be a Byzantine or Armenianfortification. It is a small square-plan, three storey castle with a central bastion.

Gülek Castle

Gülek Castle is a medieval castle in Mersin Province, Turkey.

Hebilli Castle

Hebilli Castle is a ruined castle in Mersin Province, Turkey.

Kuzucubelen Castle

Kuzucubelen Castle is a castle ruin in Mersin Province, Turkey.

At 36°50′31″N 34°25′57″E it is in Mezitli ilçe (district) of Mersin Province. Its distance to Mersin is 34 kilometres (21 mi) It is situated to the west of the village with the same name. Although the exact construction date is unknown it is a medieval castle and was used during the Roman or Byzantine Empire eras. It was one of the smaller fortifications used to control the roads.

The gate of the two-storey rectangular-plan castle is on the north west side. Although the walls are standing the arches were demolished. There are also ruins of a church, a monastery and a cistern around the castle.

Kızlar Kalesi

Kızlar Kalesi (literally "Maidens' castle") is a castle ruin in Mersin Province , Turkey.

List of castles in Turkey

Castles in Turkey were built in the Ancient and Medieval Times. The Turkish names for castle are kale and hisar. Thus the names of some castles have -kale or -hisarı suffixes.

Mancınık Castle

Mancınık Castle (Turkish: Mancınık Kale) is a Hellenistic castle ruin in Mersin Province, Turkey.

Meydan Castle

Meydankale is the archaeological site of a ruined castle in Mersin Province, Turkey.

Mut Castle

Mut Castle is a castle in Mut, Mersin Province, Turkey.

Sinap Castle

Sinap Castle is a medieval Armenian fortification in Çamlıyayla district of Mersin Province in southern Turkey.

Softa Castle

Softa Castle (Turkish: Softa Kalesi) is a ruined castle in Bozyazı ilçe (district) of Mersin Province, Turkey.

Tece Castle

Tece Castle (Turkish: Tece Kalesi) is a ruined castle in Mersin Province, southern Turkey.

Tekfur ambarı

Tekfur ambarı (a.k.a. Tekir ambarı, literally "lord's storehouse") is a large cistern in Silifke district of Mersin Province, Turkey. A part of the city of Silifke, it is situated to the west of city center and to the east of Silifke castle at 36°23′N 33°55′E . It was built during the early years of Byzantine Empire. The building material is face stone. The west to east dimension is 46 metres (151 ft) and the north to south dimension is 23 metres (75 ft). The depth of the cistern is 14 metres (46 ft). The total water capacity is about 12 000 tonnes. At the east side of the cistern there is a spiral staircase. There are 8 nisches at the 46 m dimension and 5 nisches at the 23 m dimension.

Tokmar Castle

Tokmar Castle (Turkish: Tokmar Kalesi, Latin: Castellum Novumola) is a castle ruin in Mersin Province, Turkey

Şanlıurfa Castle

Şanlıurfa Castle, or Urfa Castle in short, is a castle overlooking the city center of Şanlıurfa (previously Edessa), Turkey. The castle was built by the Osroene in antiquity and the current walls were constructed by the Abbasids in 814 AD. Today, the castle functions as an open-air museum.

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