Korykos Ancient City

Korykos Ancient City

Korykos was an important settlement in ancient times, stretching east-west along the highway at a distance of 65 kilometers from Mersin and 25 kilometers from Silifke. It is located on the slopes of a mountain that reaches the shoreline.

Korykos, according to Heredot, was the founder of the city. The name of the city was first recorded on coins in the beginning of the 1st century BC, when they announced independence as a result to political upheaval following King Anthiokos IV's death.

Korykos Ancient City

The earliest records of Korykos are from the Hittite period, although the majority of discoveries date from the Hellenistic age. The first city walls, built of polygonal braided stone on rock formations, and the first known examples of city fortifications are remnants from this era. In Roman times, the city was extended to the east, and new defenses were erected in 4th century AD, when it reached its peak.

Korykos' Christian period is also an important aspect of the history. There are fourteen churches from the 4th to 7th centuries AD preserved in this little region, which are located north of the road that links Mersin to Silifke and runs adjacent to the Roman cemetery. The churches in Korykos are notable for their varied designs, which include influences from Syria, Constantinopolis, and even Egypt.

The city was then occupied by the Seljuks and Cilician Armenian Kingdom. The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia erected Korykos Castle on previous fortifications in the 12th century. After numerous modifications and rearrangements, the castle took its present form in the 13th century. Armenians sold Korykos to Cyprus in 13th century due to assaults by Karaman Dynasty; however, it was taken by Ottomans later that century.

The small island's sea castle (Kizkalesi = Maiden Castle), built on rocks 200 meters from the coast, was intended to safeguard the bay from enemy assaults by establishing the sea castle as a first control point. The land castle was then built as a backup defense system. The walls are 192 meters long, with eight towers providing support. A towered gate leads into the north side of the fortification. The tower types vary according to repairs carried out at different time periods.

Another architectural feature that may be viewed on the site is the Villae Rusticaes (Roman Farmhouses). Sacred areas and necropolises, as well as crop processing and storage facilities, can be found in Korykos.

The eleven reliefs in Adamkayalar, arrayed side by side within a theoretical frame, are magnificent because they represent the life style of their time (furniture, clothing, jewelry).

The Ancient City of Korykos has been included into the Tentative List of UNESCO in 2014