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Two castle day in Kizkalesi

(written by Nancy)

A nice quiet night, thank goodness the karaoke next door did not go on too long.  We had a nice breakfast, including a hot fresh omlette, sitting on the terrace looking out towards the Maiden’s castle – hard to beat for a breakfast view.

We decided to do the castle exploring this morning before it got too hot so we set off first to see the Korykos Kaseli, which is on the northern end of the beach we are on.  While not entirely clear, it appears that the Korykos castle was initially built around the 12th century.  It is surrounded by two walls and it is thought that the outer wall was built later, using stones taken from buildings built during the Roman period.  It does not look like it has been subject to much restoration work but even so it has some impressive ramparts and watch towers that you can climb up into.

The Korykos castle sits right on the highway and across the highway is a large ancient necropolis (think cemetery) where we could see many sarcophagi (plural of sarcophagus, in case you didn’t know) from the great viewpoints on the top of the castle.  We did not wander over there to see any up close as it looked quite wild and overgrown.

The Maiden’s castle sits on an island at the other end of the beach, straight out from our hotel.  After stopping for some lunch on the way back from the Korykos castle and dropping some things off at our room, we headed down to the beach to pick our chariot for our ride out to the Maiden’s castle.  Apparently many people swim out to the castle as the water is not too deep, but we opted to take the luxurious dolphin cruiser paddle boat.  It floated, the pedals turned and the rudder kind of worked, but only just.  It did get us over there and back though, so I guess that is all that counts.  Actually, Dave thinks we broke the record for getting from the beach to the landing spot at the castle but who knows (everything must be a contest with Dave).

So, on to the Maiden’s  castle (which in Turkish means Kizkalesi, hence the town name).  According to ancient lore the king at the time was told by fortunetellers that his only daughter would be bitten by a snake and die.  He supposedly built the castle and placed her there to protect her.  According to the old story, unfortunately a snake came to the island hidden in a basket of fruit and she was bitten and died.  The castle is relatively small but covers the whole of the rock island that sits out about 200m from the shore.  For some reason they had the entrance gate closest to the boat landing spot closed so we were forced to scramble around the rocks to the other side before we could get inside.  The remains of an old drawbridge are visible but no entry through that spot either.

Inside you can see the remainder of various walls that look like they were part of living quarters, and there are some nice mosaics still remaining on the ground which must have formed the floors.  There are also some large underground areas that were originally covered with an arched ceiling – perhaps used for storage.  Unfortunately there was no signage or explanation at all around the castle so it is a bit of a guess as to what was what.  We were approached by a group of young Turkish folks while inside who wanted several pictures with the ‘tourists’ while standing on top of one of the walls – very funny.

We made our way back down to our paddle boat, climbing down one wall close to the boats rather than try to clamber back the way we came.  Seems a bit crazy that they do not have the gate open near the boat landing spot – just asking for someone to fall either getting in or getting out.  But we made it safely.  I have seen pictures of the Maiden’s castle lit up at night but unfortunately it isn’t lit up now – perhaps they only do that in the main tourist season.  Unfortunate, as it would be a very nice view from our hotel window.  Many of the lights and electrical on both castles were in disrepair – so lighting may also only be something that is done when maintenance budgets are available.

We are now hanging out on the verandah of the hotel, using their wireless network.  It is much cooler today that it was yesterday afternoon when we got here.  We need to spend some time looking at the route ahead as we plan to head inland from the coast after Tarsus, our next planned stop, to make our way to Cappadocia to see the fabled fairy chimneys.

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3 responses to “Two castle day in Kizkalesi

  1. Still loving the poppy photos. Poppies in lots of different settings. WOW.

  2. Thank you for all the castle pics! Awesome!

    • You would have loved Kizkalesi – the castles were a little old and ruined but wow it was cool. You could almost feel the knights!

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