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MAMURE KALESI (BOZDOĞAN)

Seaside Crusader castle

MamureRoughly seven km east of Anamur a thin strip of beach stretches out beside the massive remains of Mamure Castle, a mirror image of the better-known Kızkalesi (Maiden's Castle), even further to the east.

The castle sits right on the beach on a site first fortified by the Byzantines and then reused by the Armenians and the Crusaders. However, what you see now is the castle rebuilt on the site in the 13th century by the Selçuk ruler Alaeddin Keykubad, as commemorated by the inscription over the main gate, and further developed by the Karamanoğlu emirs who grabbed control of this area after the collapse of the Selçuk Empire in the 13th century.

A castle so sturdy could hardly have escaped the attentions of the Ottomans who refortified it after the British occupied Cyprus in 1878 and even garrisoned it during the First World War, thus ensuring its survival. 

These days its crenellated walls and many towers serve as the backdrop for Turkish films whose scripts demand a suitably ‘medieval’ looking castle. 

The castle has a moat (full of turtles) and 36 towers but it's really its fine profile and its seaside setting that make this such a wonderful place.

It's also fun to stroll around the two courtyards, one containing a cute little mosque built by the Karamanoğlus between 1300 and 1308 and restored by Lala Mustafa Paşa in the 16th century. You can also climb up some of the towers and walk along parts of the walls.

Across the road from the castle stand the scant remains of an Ottoman hamam. A few simple pensions and restaurants line the road facing the sea.

Sleeping

Bozdoğan might make a nicer place to stay that Anamur/İskele although there would inevitably be noise from the main road running in front of the pensions.

Onur Motel Restaurant Pleasant small family-run pension that stays open all year round. Tel: 0324-827 1352

At the Pullu Orman İçi Dinlenme Yeri, 1.5km further east camping facilities mingle with those for picnics amid the pine trees. 

Transport info

Half-hourly dolmuşes from Anamur to the town of Bozyazı pass through Bozdoğan.

Day trip destinations

Anamurium

Bozyazı (Softa Kalesi)

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