Straddling the past and the present, Alanya, on Turkey’s southern coast, is truly a tale of two cities. The first – an ex Ptolemaic, Seleucid, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empire, the second, a modern resort city that attracts sun lovers in their hoards. But whether you are looking for millennia old history or just wanting to relax on the golden sands, Alanya warrants discovery.
Alanya’s popularity throughout the ages is undoubtedly due to its strategic position on the Mediterranean basin. The city was on a fast track to becoming a holiday maker’s alternative to the overrun Antalya, and this has not come without its critics. Thankfully, foreign influence stepped in at the right time and ordered a clean-up, resulting in colourfully painted apartment blocks, restoration of the Ottoman district and a number of handsome boutique hotels popping up inside the red-walled citadel. That is not to say that the city is without it happy jumble of shops selling everything from Turkish tea sets to fake Gucci watches. A word of advice – be prepared to haggle!
If bargain hunting and sun bathing is not what you are after, the aforementioned citadel is doubt one of the highlights of the city. Here you’ll be thrown into the city’s historic past, which dates from 625 BC, and travels through a variety of empires. The city also has proven ties with Marc Anthony – one of the main beaches is named Cleopatra – but finds in the nearby Karain Cave indicate occupation during the Palaeolithic era as far back as 20,000 BC.