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BAGRAS KALESİ (ÖTENÇAY)

The small village of Bagras (Ötençay) lies 4.5km off the road connecting İskenderun to Antakya. It's well worth making the detour to see the impressive remains of Bagras Kalesi, a castle atop a rock high above it. The setting is somewhat marred by the array of wind turbines behind it now but not totally ruined.

It's not clear precisely when the castle was built although there seems to have been a fortification there by the time Alexander the Great passed through. No doubt it was rebuilt over and again until finally in 1516 it was captured for the Ottomans by Yavuz Sultan Selim on his way to seize Egypt.

A track runs right up to the castle but there didn't seem to be any way to get inside it any more. 

It's probably not entirely wise for a woman to go up there alone. I was followed by a motorcyclist.

Transport info

Ask to get out of any minibus running along this route at the road junction but take with a pinch of salt claims that you will be able to get a taxi to the castle - you will probably have to rely on a lift if you don't have your own car and don't fancy the walk. 

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