Korykos Ancient City

Korykos Ancient City

Korykos is a historically significant settlement located on the slopes of a mountain that reaches the shoreline, 65 kilometers east-west from Mersin and 25 kilometers from Silifke.

According to Herodotus, Korykos was founded by Korykos himself, and the first records of the city date back to the Hittite period. However, most of the remains discovered today belong to the Hellenistic era. The city's first walls, made of braided polygonal stones on rock formations, and the first known examples of city fortifications are remnants from this era. In the 1st century BC, the city declared its independence as a result of political turmoil following King Antiochus IV's death.

Korykos Ancient City

During Roman times, the city was extended to the east, and new defenses were built in the 4th century AD, which reached its peak at that time. The Christian period of Korykos is also significant in its history. There are fourteen churches dating from the 4th to 7th centuries AD in this small region, located north of the road linking Mersin to Silifke, and adjacent to the Roman cemetery. The churches in Korykos boast various designs that feature influences from Syria, Constantinople, and even Egypt.

Korykos was later occupied by the Seljuks and the Cilician Armenian Kingdom. The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia built Korykos Castle on the previous fortifications in the 12th century. The castle took on its present form in the 13th century after several modifications and rearrangements. Due to attacks by the Karaman Dynasty, Armenians sold Korykos to Cyprus in the 13th century, but it was later taken by the Ottomans.

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).

In 2014, the Ancient City of Korykos was added to the Tentative List of UNESCO.