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ANAMURIUM

Turkey's most southerly point

Anamurium1Eight and a half km west of the small town of Anamur lie the romantic ruins of an abandoned Byzantine city built on 4th-century BC Phoenician foundations.

Why the city was abandoned is unclear. It was long thought that 7th-century Arab pirate raids might have been to blame although it is also possible that it never recovered from a devastating earthquake c. 580. 

Anamurium has an idyllic setting right on the beach and the sheer size and height of the remaining buildings makes it feel as if this is a town that has only recently been vacated. There are few other places in the world, for example, where you can climb the stairs to a second-floor bathhouse dating back to the fourth century, an awe-inspiring experience.

It deserves to receive many more visitors although its remote location midway along the winding road from Kızkalesi to Gazipaşa militates against that. You may well have the site more or less to yourself.

Around the site

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As soon as you arrive you will see the extensive necropolis beyond which lie the ruins of a 4th-century basilica, an odeon and an aqueduct. Unusually, the theatre has not been excavated although you can still make out its shape on the hillside. The long stretch of wall that climbs the headland is also very striking. 

The necropolis is the most extensive part of the town to survive; there are said to be 350 structures surviving in it, some of them two storeys high. A few contain frescoes but you will need to find the bakıcı and his key if you want to see them.

If you climb up onto the headland you will discover scant remains of the acropolis.

ana2More significantly you will be standing on Cape Anamurium, Turkey's most southerly point, whence on a fine day you might be able to see Cyprus, here just 80 km away. Chances are, though, that your reward will be to be buffeted by the gales that rampage along the coast here. 

Bring a picnic to eat on the beach. The site is especially attractive in May when the ruins are full of wildflowers. Allow plenty of time to explore - an hour is barely enough to see the main structures without the tombs. 

Sleeping

The best base for visiting Anamurium is the small town of Anamur to the east although there is also accommodation further east in Bozdoğan facing the ruins of Mamure Kalesi and at Bozyazı

Transport info

You can reach the ruins by taking any transport heading west along the coast from Anamur and getting out when you see the ugly TOKİ high-rise housing development with a small brown sign in front it. From there it's 2.5km unshaded walk down to the ruins. 

If you take a taxi from Anamur make sure you agree enough waiting time to see the entire site properly.

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