“The Sultan of the Two Seas” Hoping for a World Heritage Crown

Alanya Castle : Wiki Commons

Alanya Castle is hoping that 10 years of hard work will finally be rewarded when a group from the UNESCO World Cultural and Heritage Committee visit in September of this year.

“The Sultan of the Two Seas”

Alanya Castle in the southern province of Antalya, Turkey and which is also known as “The Sultan of the Two Seas”, was built in the 13th century following the city’s conquest in 1220 by Selçuk Emperor Alaeddin Keykubad. It was he who gave the castle its alternative name along with introducing some of the more significant monuments such as the “Red Tower” and the dockyard which is still in use today.


Sitting on a rocky peninsula 250m high and jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea, Alanya Castle was built upon remnants of earlier Byzantine and Roman era fortifications. Surrounded by 6.5km of protective wall, and with 140 towers, it was during the Ottoman Empire that the castle ceased to be purely defensive and the 19th century saw the building of numerous villas within its walls.

Byzantine church located in inner castle : Wiki Commons

10 years of hard work

The UNESCO visit in September will come after 10 years of hard work and will see the castle added to the World Heritage List within a year if successful. And will allow for the tourist resort to continue passing on the area’s rich collection of historical treasures.

Seher Türkmen, Head of Alanya Museum, recently told the Anatolia news agency. “Having a place on the World Heritage List means those places are very unique. Thus, more people will recognise and visit you, and conscious and total protection will be provided. When you are added to the list, you are given a coat of arms, but it is not just a coat of arms; but rather proof you possess a global asset.”

Work began on the castle 10 years ago but efforts accelerated following its addition to the Tentative World Heritage List in 2009. Work included renovations to restore parts of the structure and conversion of the dockyard into an open air museum, which displays some of the castles defensive equipment and is now open to visitors along with being home to 500 residents.


A group from the UNESCO World Cultural and Heritage Committee will visit Antalya in September, who will examine the prepared application as well as evaluating whether the site has met the criteria required. The committee is then expected to then prepare their own report which will be evaluated by the representatives of 21 countries at a World Cultural Heritage meeting of a later date.


The application, which was given the title “Alanya, A Historical Town, at the beginning of the year, sees Alanya Castle being evaluated together with its adjacent residential region and hopes to join the other 962 World Heritage Sites which are on the list.

 “There are currently nearly 900 World Cultural Heritage Sites in the world,” Türkman said, “I hope we are going to see Alanya Castle on the World Heritage List of 2013.”

Written by Katherine Collins

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