Historical Wealth of Gazipaşa & surrounding places

Historical Wealth of Gazipaşa

Gazipaşa hosts a very rich archeological heritage with the ruins of a number of antique cities, castles, monumental tombs and numerous historic structures. The remnants of the old ports near the shore and castles on the heights of Toros Mountains are the signs of old human settlements in this area.

Cenotaph / Empty Tombs

When emperors or important commanders died outside the cities where they were based, monumental tombs were built on the spots where they lost their lives. They were called cenotaphs, meaning empty graves in Greek. These tombs were not built according to the usual measures of tombs. The tomb in Selinus is an example of these cenotaphs. Emperor Trajanus died here after an illness and his body was cremated and his ashes were taken to Rome. Another example of such cenotaph is in Anatolia is the tomb of Calius Caesar who first served as a commander before he became an emperor. This cenotaph is on die road between Finike and Elmali. Emperor Trajanus after conquering Parthia in 117 turned on the Jews in Palestine who were staging an uprising. Before launching the Parthian expedition Trajanus and his army bivouacked in Selinus. After this event, the city was renamed Trajanopolis. The coins minted during this period in the city feature the inscription “Holy City Selinnous Trajanopolis.” In his turn, the emperor also treated the city generously. The aqueduct that brought water to the city was built during this season. On the orders of the emperor, the city was adorned with theaters, basilicas, a forum and a 110 columned portico at the center. 

Emperor Trajanus also has a column in Rome erected in the memory of his Parthian expedition.

The Bath and the Odeion

Among the ruins one can see the remnants of the city’s bath. With a careful look, you can perceive that the extant structure is an antique bath. The remnants of the aqueduct we see in Gazipaşa, extend as kir as the bath. Behind the bath, there are the ruins of the Odeion or the Concert Hall of Selinus. Also there are quite a number of tombs in the necropolis that lies to the east of the city ruins. Most of the osteothiki, small sarcophagi where the bones or ashes of the deceased are kept were found at the necropolis of Selinus. The amphitheater lies to the east of the forum, but it is not in a well-preserved condition. At the east end of the city ruins, city walls descend towards the sea. You have to climb a bit, to take a look both at the history and the scenery. Local people have opened a path to the top, in order to make climbing, which is not very difficult anyway, easier. On top of the hill you come across a medieval castle whose towers and walls are quite well preserved. On the side overlooking the sea, you have to stop and savor the scenery. The sea and the coastline extending towards Alanya on the one side and the plain with mountains covered with lush greenery in the background complete idyllic picture. Down below, Haci Musa stream meanders towards the sea with willows on both of its banks. The first castle of the city was also located here on top of this hill. But this place was an island then. Roman rule here that began in the 1st Century B.C. continued until the 6th Century A.D. The Roman period is followed by the Byzantium rule.

Turks became the sovereigns of these lands beginning with the Seljuk ruler Alaaddin Keykubat I. Because of the frequent floods caused by five rivers those come down from the Taurus Mountains, Turks named this city Selinti, probably inspired by the Turkish word “sel” which means torrent. Entrance to the ruins is free of charge.

Nephelis (luliosebaste) / Banana Village

When you leave Gazipaşa by the road that will take you to Anamur and Mersin, you will reach the antique city of Nephelis, first turning south at the 13th kilometer and driving for another 5 kilometers. But on the 3rd kilometer the Mediterranean’s emerald blue stretching as far as the eye can see, stops us. We have to stop here for a while. The name of the village fits the scenery very well indeed! It is called Muz Koyu that is Banana village! Banana groves descend in horizontal ridges from the top of the hill right down to the seashore. From the point where the banana groves end, the blue sea extends infinitely towards the south, The nature, history and the local people have endowed this place with such beauty and wealth, The rest is left to your imagination! Some claim that the name Nephelis means “cloudy.” But scientists contest this claim. It is thought that the name comes from one of the forgotten languages spoken in Anatolia. 
The city ruins extend to the west and east of the contemporary settlement. So far, there have been no archeological excavations in this site, but there are quite a number of structures still standing. There are remnants of city wails, portals, agora, acropolis and necropolis. The extant structures belong to the Roman and Byzantine periods. One of the inscriptions found here and which is exhibited in the Alanya Museum, is a eulogy to the Byzantine Emperor Xenon, It mentions how the emperor helped develop the cite. In another inscription erected by the city council, the name of Lucius Cornelius Sulla, the Roman governor of Cilicia is mentioned. The southern slopes of the ruins are frill of banana groves. Some of the banana trees are in greenhouses built in recent years. There is an islet off the shore where you descend through a quite steep slope. Its name is Elaioussa, meaning small olive in Greek. It is known that the city is founded by King Archelais (20 B.C. - 17 AD.). The coins minted in this city coincide with the reign of Commagene King Antiochos IV and his wife Iotape (38-72 A.D.) The city began minting coins in its name during the reign of Emperor Augustus and continued doing so throughout the Roman period. Nephelis was referred to as luliosebasta during the Roman rule. Entrance to the ruins is free.

The City of Lamus / Adanda

The village of Adanda lies 15 kilometers to the northwest of Gazipaşa. The ruins of the ancient city of Lamus are located on two steep hills about 2 kilometers north of this village. The walls surrounding the city are in well preserved. There is a big tower South of the entrance gate of the city that faces east. The agora, two fountains carved in a big rock and the ruins of two temples can be seen. 
The interesting here is the quite well preserved sarcophagi have been hewn out of monolith rocks. There are two separate groups of graves. Further to the west of the first cluster of graves, there are burial chambers carved into rocks. A deep valley separates the graves from the other hill where the city walls are located. It is not possible to walk to the walls from the graves and one has to climb the other hill from the other side of the valley. It is thought that this city was the capital of the region called Lamotis during the late Roman period. 
The city witnessed its most prosperous period during the reign of Gallianus. The walls surrounding the top of the hill in the west were built during this period in the 3rd Century A.D. An inscription above the entrance gate to the city gives us a description of this historical event. The wins lying inside the walls indicate that there was an interior castle here. One of the two temples of the city is dedicated to the Roman Emperor Vespasianus and the other to Titus. The ruins overlook a valley covered with pine trees and the scenery here is quite impressive. Entrance to the ruins is free.

Cestrus / Macar Ruins

There is an antique site on a hill 350 meters above the sea level, to the east of Gazipaşa. The location is called Kilisetepe locally and the ruins spread over an area roughly measuring 400 meters by 400 meters. Some sections of the city walls still stand on level ground on top of the hill. Especially, the walls in the southern edge of the city are quite well preserved. In the area surrounded with walls, a large agora, ruins of a temple thought to be dedicated to Emperor Vespasianus, to its south another temple named after Antonius and a monumental tomb to the east of the agora can be seen According to the inscriptions found among the ruins, the city dates back to the 1st or 2nd Century AD.

The Altıkapı Inn

This building is located within the borders of the Yakacık village of Gazipaşa. It is a rectangular structure made of irregular rocks bound together with mortar. In front of the building there is a portico consisting of many arches leading to doors. Only three of these arches are still standing, the others have been demolished by time. The rest of the structure is quite intact. To the North of the portico there are six extended spaces parallel to each other. The lengthy spaces connect to each other through arched doors. Lighting comes through the loopholes on the walls. There is a mansion adjacent to the structure, which is thought to be related with the inn.

The Bıçkıcı Monastery

In the northeast direction, 3 kilometers from the ruins of Selinus that extends towards the sea on level ground south of Gazipaşa, there is another ancient site. However, it is a bit difficult to climb up to it. The ruins are thought to belong to a monastery built in the early Byzantine period. All the structures here have been built with local rocks using a lot of mortar. Almost at the center of the buildings, there is a basilica with a circular apse. Today, only the northern wall of the basilica is standing. The ruins of the monastery overlook the sea. After visiting this site, you can have a dip in the sea, to refresh yourself.

Other Historical Sites and Ruins

There are many other historical sites and ruins where no archeological excavations have taken place so far. That is why one can only see what is on the surface, Since there has been no thorough research about these historical sites awaiting discovery, we know very little about them. A tour of these sites in Gazipaşa, which hosted innumerable human settlements in the antiquity, might lead us to discover new ruins so far unknown, At least we will feel the enthusiasm of following the signs of a history that has not been brought out into open completely.

The Medieval Tower

There is a two-story, square shaped stone structure built on flat ground near the shore to the west of the Bıçkıcı Monastery. The structure is covered with a barrel vault. Western and eastern walls of the first floor have collapsed. On the western and southern walls of second floor there is a window each.

Ruins of İnceğiz Tepeçukur

The village of Incegiz is 20 kilometers to Gazipaşa and it is accessible through Aydıncık. There are half-finished sarcophagi at a place called Tepeçukur near the village, leading us to think that this place was a workshop where masters used to make ornamented sarcophagi for the dead.

The Ruins at Kisneli Tastepe

In the Kaynarca neighborhood of Karatepe village, there are ruins belonging to the Roman period.

The Ruins at Yugluk Tepe

There are remnants of ancient structures on a hill called Yugluk Tepe, located at Barem, one of the plateaus of Gazipaşa.

The Ruins of Dedebeleni

Ruins from the Roman period can he seen at the Yaras neighborhood of Yenikoy.

The Ruins of Buget

Ibis is another site on the Kocabelen hill at Yenikoy.

The Ruins at llica Castle

The ruins on an elevation called Tastepe near the village of Ilica belong to the late Roman period.

The Ruins at Yalman Tepe

This is another site at the village of Ilica and it is located at the Manavli neighborhood. The ruins date from Byzantine period.

The Ruins of Komurluk Tepe

This site is also at the Manavli neighborhood of the Ilica village. It is close to the ruins at Almantepe. The ruins at this site come from the Byzantine period too.

Ruins of Asar Tepe

The ruins at the Orcun neighborhood of the village of Oznurtepe are in very bad condition.

Ruins of Nenek Kale

This site is at the Nenek neighborhood of the Oznurtepe village and it is thought that they belong to the Roman period.

The Ruins of Asartas

The origins of the ruins located at the Asai1a~ section of Sugozu village are not known.

The Ruins of Asar

There is another ancient site on the Dogan hill near the village of Sugozu. But it is not known from which period they come from.

The Ruins of Asarboynu

The ruins on the Demircibelen hill near the village of Sahinler belong to the Roman period.

The Ruins at Karatepe

There are ruins from the Byzantine period at the Kaynarca neighborhood of the Karatepe village.

The Antique City of Julia Sebaste

At the 13th kilometer of the Gazipasa-Anamur road if you turn left (north) and drive for another 4 kilometers you will arrive at the Gocuk village. If you continue for another 10 kilometers you will see the wins of a city at an altitude of 700 meters from the sea level. This site features the ruins of the antique city of Julia Sebaste. The remnants of the buildings such as the bath, temple, necropolis and rock graves indicate that the city was inhabited during the Hellenistic period.

The Ruins of Hisartepe

This site is at the Hisartepe area near the village of Cakmak. The road that passes through the Karakum neighborhood of the village will take you to the wins. The site gives you the impression of a natural castle. The ruins probably come to our clay from the Hellenistic Period. Pieces of ceramic were also found here, The ruins of a temple and the necropolis can also be seen. On the western side of the temple there is an inscription of “dedication”.

The Ruins of Alacadağ

There is an ancient graveyard southeast of the Salmanlar neighborhood of the village of Beyrebucak. There is an ancient site on top of the Alacadag hill north of the graveyard. Some sections of old walls built without the use of mortar were found here. Surface research also yielded sonme ceramic pieces. The finds indicate that the city was restored during the Roman times but it was settled much earlier.

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Please read as well:

Gazipasa - still rural coined green area

Gazipasa - The Banana Story on Terraces on the Seaside

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