Silifke Castle


Location: Mersin Province   Map

Info: Goksu Mahallesi, Gurten Bozbey Cad 6
Phone. (0234) 714 11 51
Silifke Museum
Tasucu Cad
Phone. (0324) 714 10 19
Open: 8am- noon & 1:30pm- 5pm Tue- Sun



Silifke Castle is located in the Silifke district of Mersin province, and sits on the main rock in the east-west direction at an altitude of 185 m on the west side of the city, surrounded by a moat and fortified with 16 bastions, and covers an area of ​​29,000 m2

According to basic findings, the castle , which is understood to be from the Hellenistic or early Roman period , today looks like a Middle Age castle as a result of the repairs and changes it has undergone.



The fortress is located on a hill, about 160 m above sea level, above the Göksu River, the ancient Kalykadnos, on the western outskirts of Silifke in the Turkish province of Mersin. It served to control the road leading west out of Cilicia and the road leading along Kalykadnos to the north over the Taurus. From Alparslan Türkeş Bulvarı, the D-715 leading to Karaman and Konya, a road (Kale Yolu) branches off to the castle.



The exact construction time of the fortification is not known. It was built in Byzantine times on the site of an ancient acropolis under the name Kastron Seleucias. Despite Arab attacks, it remained in Byzantine possession until it was occupied by Crusaders in 1098. It then belonged alternately to Byzantium and the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia until the Armenian King Leon II handed it over to the Hospitallers in 1210, along with the city of Seleucia and the Norpert Castle (Tokmar Kalesi) to the west, in return for support against the Seljuks by 400 armed men Knight and an annual payment. When the knights gave up ownership in 1226, the castle was taken over and renovated again by the Armenians and remained in their hands. From the 14th century, Silifke belonged to the beylik of the Karamanoğulları.



The ruins that exist today are mostly of Byzantine origin with Armenian influences. The castle has a surrounding, partly preserved, partly restored crenellated wall with formerly 23 towers, which was surrounded by a moat. The main entrance is in the north. Commercial and residential buildings inside were grouped around an open courtyard. The visible, heavily overgrown remains include a palace ruin, a pantry, a cellar dungeon, a cistern and an Emirate-era mosque.


Historical mentions

In the 15th century, the Italian traveler Giosafat Barbaro visited Silifke and, in his travelogue Viaggi fatti de Venetia, describes sarcophagi and rock tombs on the castle hill, iron gates and a three-mile-long enclosure wall. In the 17th century, the Turkish travel writer Evliya Çelebi reported a visit to the fortress, mentioning the 23 towers and a mosque of Sultan Beyazit. In 1811–12, the British captain Francis Beaufort explored the Cilician coast on behalf of the Admiralty and found two Armenian inscriptions on the castle, which he could not read. The French orientalist Victor Langlois also reported this, who visited Silifke on his trip to Cilicia in 1852–53 and mentioned the castle in his travel report.



Silifke Castle is located in a very strategic position, overlooking all the roads that control the trade route and the port. It is an important structure especially on the Silifke-Mut-Karaman route and the Anamur-Silifke, Anavarza and Yılanlı Castle defense lines.

It was revealed as a result of the excavations that the castle was used since ancient times and served as a castle-city until the late times of the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, Karamanoğlu and Ottoman periods.