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KOZAN

Once the capital of Armenian Cilicia                            Population:

kozn1Old name: Sis

In an area of the Eastern Mediterranean especially well endowed with dramatically-sited castles, Kozan still manages to stand out – as you drive towards it from Adana it's hard to believe anyone could actually get near its castle which appears to perch on a pinnacle of rock jutting straight up 1000 metres from the plain.

Sis was founded in 1080 by Prince Reuben, a scion of the Bagratid family who had governed Ani, near Kars, until driven out by the Selçuks.

It became the capital of Armenian Cilicia, a state which defied the Mamluks and formed an alliance with the Mongols to protect itself, only to fall victim eventually to the Ramazanoğlu Turks, themselves vassals of the Mongols.

The last king Leo IV died in exile in Paris in 1393 and is buried in the church of Saint-Denis.kozn2

Today a road has been laid all the way up to the castle; look out for two crumbling towers that guarded the lower fortress and then follow it straight up to the top. The ruins themselves have been left alone, and are difficult and potentially dangerous to explore.

The path up skirts an apse which is all that remains of the Monastery of St Sophia, seat of the Patriarchate of Sis from 1293 until it was demolished in 1921 and described by the poet John Ash as the “Armenian Vatican”. Photographs taken at the start of the 20th century show it as an enormous if very austere building.

In 1930 the Patriarchate relocated to Lebanon where it remains today.

kozn3The older part of Kozan is centred on an old bedesten (covered market) and the little shops around it that have been restored recently. Here, too, is the 15th-century Hoş Kadem Cami,  a mosque whose vaulted design owes much either to the Armenians or to the Crusaders who passed through here.

Sleeping

Yaver’in Konağı 

At the foot of the castle this delightful 13-room boutique hotel with a courtyard restaurant has been created out of an Ottoman-era wooden mansion dating back to the 1890s. Light and airy lounges are decorated with Ottoman-style sedirs (bench seating) but the rooms boast all mod-cons.

www.yaverinkonagi.com Tel: 0322-515 0999kozn4

Transport info

Regular buses to Kozan (90 mins) leave NOT from Adana’s main bus terminal but from the provincial bus terminal at Yüregir. To get there, take a Belediye bus from the back of the main otogar or from near the Beşyol square in the town centre. 

http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&link=192937

 

 

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