|ANAMUR - Anamur is the westernmost town of the province of Mersin.|
This is the most important banana growing area of Turkey. The “Anamur banana” is a banana
species that has a very pleasant aroma. Anamur has only lately become a tourism centre.
With its long and large beach, unpolluted sea, rich heritage, caves, and houses with a
distinctive architecture, Anamur is a multifaceted tourism centre.
The ancient city of Anemurium (Anemurion)
It occupies an archaeological site on the Anamur Peninsula. According to written sources it
was a port city during the 4th century B.C. However it is also known that as a settlement it
existed long before that. There is also information regarding the fact that during the 8th
century B.C. it was under Assyrian domination. Later it fell under the domination of the
Persians, who in that period had conquered most of Anatolia. In 322 B.C. the Seleucides
conquered the area. During the Roman Empire, Emperor Caligula ceded the city to the
Commagene king Antiochos IV (38-72 AD). Antiochos had coins minted in the name of the
city. Commagene domination lasted until the reign of Roman Emperor Valerianus (253-260
It is believed that its name derived from the ancient Greek word anemos, which means “windy
Like all Mediterranean port cities to have grown rich with maritime trade, it was frequently
prey to pirates. In addition to this, tribes living in the Taurus Mountains threatened the city
from the land. In 382 AD, Roman legions had to build land walls to be able to resist the
attacks of these tribes.
The churches in the city date back to the 5th century AD, when it is believed the city went
through a period of glory.
When the Arabs started to plunder Cyprus in 650 AD, the city started to lose its comparative
advantage in maritime commerce and its period of decline began.
Traces of a great city
Visitors have to park their cars near the ticket-selling booth at the entrance to the
archaeological area. From that point onwards, visitors have to walk. The shore of the ancient
city is one of the best beaches of the area and is also popular nowadays. The archaeological
remains at the site begin from right near where the sand is and extend towards the foot of
Most of the buildings of the site that are still standing date to the period beginning from the
1st century AD.
The city can be subdivided into upper and lower Anamur. In the lower part, along the
seashore, there are impressive walls, an incomplete theatre (4th century AD), an odeon
(concert hall, 2nd century AD), a palestra (gymnasium), aqueducts, churches and baths. The
necropolis is at the base of the church. All the mosaics found in the buildings are exhibited at
In the upper part, extending towards the foot of the mountain, there are around 350 tombs,
with barrel vaults and two stories, which are typical of the area and cannot be found in other
parts of Anatolia.
The remains of the city on the incline on the north-eastern part of the Anamur Peninsula date
back to Roman – Byzantine times. The small city centre dating back to Roman times ends
with a wall on the southern end of the peninsula.
It is thought that the city centre dating back to Hellenistic times is located on the rocky part
of the peninsula. However not much has survived to our days. On the upper side of the
rocky part a square Hellenistic tower has been found. Some parts of the early Roman city
have deteriorated, because of the buildings built during medieval times.
Up to now, temples have not been found, neither in the city nor where the acropolis is
thought to have been located.
During Roman times the water needs of the city were satisfied by means of a canal. The
canal used to carry water from the plain near the Nasrettin village in the north, to the ridge of
the peninsula to the east of the city. During the 3rd century AD, a second canal flowed along
the ridge and brought water only to the lower parts of the city.
The cemetery is separated from the settled area by means of a road. The oldest tombs of the
period of the empire have been built with rough stones, simply, separate from each other,
with barrel vaults and steps.
The fact that towards the end of the 4th century a new golden period began for the city is
clear from the churches built beginning from the early 5th century, in the settled area. Three
of the four churches are located in the settled area. These houses of worship have basilicas,
narthexes and chapels. Their pavements are decorated with mosaics and inscriptions.
During the late 4th century and mid 5th century two new baths were built. Archaeological
studies have come up with the conclusion that the period of water shortage that began in the
6th century, continued during the 7th century with the result that by the 8th century the
settlement had died out.
Mamure (Mamuriye) Fortress
The Mamure Fortress, which is considered the symbol of Anamur, is located on the highway
to Mersin, on the side of the sea and at a distance of 8 km. from the centre of Anamur.
The fortress was built by the Romans during the 3rd century AD, but was restored many
times during its long history. That is why it has survived to our days in rather good shape.
The fortress, which was built with a kidney shaped plan to better adapt to the area’s
characteristics, is made up of two parts. It has two rows of walls. It has 39 bastions, four of
which are quite large. At the centre of the great bastion on the eastern side of the fortress,
towards the sea, there is a tower with a height of 22 metres. On the marble inscription of the
tower there is written that Karamanoğlu İbrahim Bey had the fortress restored. During this
restoration (1300 – 1308) a mosque was added to the inner part of the fortress. The
mosque’s entrance has a rather flat stone arch. The building has a central dome and its walls
are made of stone and brick.
On the opposite side of the road there is also a Turkish bath. Even though the entrance to
the bath has collapsed, the cold, warm and hot areas of the bath are still standing. The bath
is small and its walls are made of irregularly shaped stones with wooden horizontal beams. In
the inside, the transition between walls and domes has been done by means of triangular
pendentives. It is known that the walls were decorated, but these decorations have
disappeared during repair work.
There is the possibility of going up to the bastions and walking along the walls while visiting