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Impressions of the East Mediterranean Coast, Turkey

As a string of pearls, the sites of history dot the entire Eastern section of Turkey's Mediterranean coast, from Alanya to the Hatay region and the Gulf of Iskenderun at the border with Syria. 'Kizzuwatna', the Hittites called it in the second millennium BC, 'Cilicia' it became in later times, as a Roman province of importance and as the core of a New Armenian Kingdom in the 11th century, 'al-Awasim' it was referred to by the Arabs, when they first appeared on the scene in the 7th century. This Cilician part of Turkey constitutes by excellence the direct link between the West of Roman and Hellenistic culture and the Oriental inheritance left behind by Hittites, Assyrians and civilisations which preceded them. It therefore hardly surprises that this is also where Turkey gradually transforms itself into a gateway to the Middle East, as we travel from a city like Silifke, the ancient Seleukia of straightforward Hellenism in the direction of Antakya where Arab is routinely spoken along with Turkish and where not only Greeks, Romans and Crusaders but also Hittites, Assyrians, Persians and Mamluks have left behind in stone the vestiges of their respective societies and cultures, against the backdrop of the Taurus Mountains. The present report takes us on this Cilician voyage from West to East, along the Mediterranean coast and along a time line of fascinating history. Further East in Turkey are the cities of Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa, but for that you need to travel to the South-Eastern Anatolia report. From Antakya to Şanlıurfa are 350 kilometres, here it's three clicks away. Is digital travelling not a fantastic thing?

Before visiting the place of your choice:

The octagonal Kızıl Kule of Red Tower was built by Seljuk Sultan Keykubad I in 1226, as part of the reinforced defence structures of the city. The lower part of the 33 metre high construction consists of natural stone blocks, whereas for the top part red bricks were used, hence the name Red Tower.

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