Europe / Turkey

Alanya

Situated on the Gulf of Antalya on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, Alanya has been a favoured seaside holiday resort for over 800 years. Today's tourist is drawn here for much the same reasons as the Seljuk Turks all those centuries ago; the sea is warm and gentle, the beaches stretch for miles and the town has an interesting history.

Alanya, formerly Alaiye, is a beach resort city and a component district of Antalya Province in the Mediterranean Region of Turkey, 166 kilometres (103 mi) from the city of Antalya. On the southern coast of Turkey, the district (which includes the city and its built-up area) has an area of 1,598.51 km2 and (2010 Census) 248,286 inhabitants (city 98,627). The population is almost entirely of Turkish origin, but is home to around 10,000 European residents.

Because of its natural strategic position on a small peninsula into the Mediterranean Sea below the Taurus Mountains, Alanya has been a local stronghold for many Mediterranean-based empires, including the Ptolemaic, Seleucid, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. Alanya's greatest political importance came in the Middle Ages, with the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm under the rule of Alaeddin Kayqubad I, from whom the city derives its name. His building campaign resulted in many of the city's landmarks, such as the Kizil Kule (Red Tower), Tersane (Shipyard), and Alanya Castle.

The Mediterranean climate, natural attractions, and historic heritage makes Alanya a popular destination for tourism, and responsible for nine percent of Turkey's tourism sector and thirty percent of foreign purchases of real estate in Turkey. Tourism has risen since 1958 to become the dominant industry in the city, resulting in a corresponding increase in city population. Warm-weather sporting events and cultural festivals take place annually in Alanya. Mayor Hasan Sipahioglu, of the Justice and Development Party, has led the city since 1999.

Alanya has a typical Mediterranean climate. The Mediterranean Basin ensures that most rain comes during the winter, leaving the summers long, hot, and dry, prompting the Alanya board of Tourism to use the slogan "where the sun smiles". Storm cells sometimes bring with them fair weather waterspouts when close to the shore. The presence of the Taurus Mountain in close proximity to the sea causes fog, in turn creating visible rainbows many mornings. The height of the mountains creates an interesting effect as snow can often be seen on them even on hot days in the city below. The sea at Alanya has an average temperature of 21.4 °C (71 °F) annually, with an average August temperature of 27.9 °C (82 °F).

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