Maidencastle and Korykos Hotel is in the center of cultural and
religious tourism. Below you can find only some important places. In
the area you can find more historical and touristic attractions and
also alternative (plateau tourism, hunting, rafting, paragliding etc.)
activities. We invite you to see all of the mysteries of the East
(Meryemlik): It is in Silifke town Mersin province and 30 km far
from Korykos Hotel. Hagia-Thecla which is 1.5 km on the south side
of the town is a faith center belonging to the Christian era. The
holy place that is know as Hagia-Thecla or Meryemliks foundation
started in around AC 50. One of the Ikonian (Konya) saints Hagia-Thecla
(Ayatekla) adopted the doctrines of St. Paulus and became a pioneer
missionary. She commited herself to religion after the preaches of
St.Paulus in Konya (Ikonia). Thekla, and came to Silifke escaping
from the Roman pressure in Konya and Yalmaç. First she lived in a
natural cave, katakomb where they made their prayers secretly.
Hagia-Thecla, is one of the oldest and most importiant Christian
holy places. Later during Byzantium time it became a religious
settlement area and was named as Hagia-Thecla.
At the present time the ruins that are known as Meryemlik consists
of underground pray cave, the ruin of the apsis belonging to the
monumental Zenon Basilica which was built on top of the cave, Big
cistern, Ha-marnı. It is also possible to see North church, many big
and small cisterns in the Nekropol area.
Later the cave that Hagia-Thecla lived in, was regarded as holy by
the Christians after her disappearance and was used as the secret
praying area until Christinity was set free in AC 320. Then
Corinthian colomns were put for support, mosaic siding was built and
at the end of 4th century it was transformed into a church.
Monastry: It takes place in the town of Mut in Mersin province and
60 km from Korykos Hotel. It is known that the monastry was built in
5th century BC and is one of the rare examples for Byzantium
architecture with its structure, material, design and decorations of
the structure. The monastry is integrated within the natural
formation and consists of annexes structures and churches.
Paul Well: It is in Tarsus town of Mersin province. The well that is
said to belong to Saint Paul, who has a great importance in
Christianity, is beleived to be healing. It is a great touristic
attraction and 80 km far from Korykos Hotel.
St Paul Church: It takes place in the town of Tarsus in Mersin
province and 80 km far away from Korykos Hotel. St. Pauls birth
place Tarsus, St. Paul Church and Well is integrated with the
present modern city texture and is in the indicative list of World
Eshab-ı Kehf: It takes place in the town of Tarsus in Mersin
province and 90 km from Korykos Hotel. The Eshab-Kehf Cave in Tarsus
is known as Seven Sleepers which is regarded as holy in various
religions where seven youngesters have slept. However there are
several other places in Anatolia that they were believed to have
Who were they? Why did they sleep?
Seven sleepers are commonly known within Turkey. But the myth took
different shapes in different places. After being told from mouth to
mouth and generation to generation it is normal to have such changes.
The common theme in all the stories though is that the seven
youngesters stood against religious pressure and showed a passifist
Around 250 AC the Roman Empires state religion was polytheistic.
The rise of Christianity was not favoured by the governmental
authorities. There was a continous hunt for Christians. The seven
youngsters who adopted Christianity escaped from these pressures,
took a shelter in this cave and had a very deep sleep. The governers
saw that they took a shelter in the cave and closed the enterance of
the cave by bricks to kill them alive bit by bit.
Pier Church: is a natural cave whose entrance was closed and
transformed into a church. It is 2 km on the north side of Antakya
on mountain skirts close to Antakya Reyhanlı highway. The church
took its name from Saint Pierre, who came toAntakya with a mission
to spread Christianity (AC 1st Century first half). During the early
stages of Christianity it was used as a church and then in the later
stages the entrance of the cave was constructed. It was declared as
a pilgrimage area by Pope Paul VI. In 1963 and is still a part of
the museum. Every year on 29th of June the Catholic church organizes
a ceremony here and a crowded community attends.
There is a giant bust engraved into the rocks close to the church.
It was built during the time of Antiochus IV and given the name
Haron. The purpose of the bust was to stop the black death which
appeared on the 2nd century BC.
Paradise & Hell :
It is 6 km from Korykos Hotel. If you ask if there is paradise and
hell in this life we will tell you that it is in Mersin. Paradise
and Hell Pits were given sacred meanings in ancient times like most
of the other pits around. First of all you reach to the ruins of an
ancient city, then to Zeus temple and after that to these two pits
and caves that were regarded as sacred by the polytheist belief.
Besides Turkish and foreign tourists the local people also visit
them with sacred feelings. Paradise Pit is one of the wonders of
nature that was known as Korykos Cave during the ancient times and
consists of big and deep holes.
: The pit named Hell or Arasat is between rocks on the north side 75
m from the paradise pit. Because the side surfaces are concave it is
not easy to descent. The place where Typhon was prisoned temporarily
has a very frightening look.
One of the other formations of the area is the asthma cave. The
depth of the cave is 20 m and there is a plenty of stalagmite and
stalactite of different colors. The temperature is always 14 degrees
and the humidity rate between 85-98%. It is believed that the cave
is good for asthma and the wishes that are made at the entrance of
the cave come true.
Three Beauties Mosaic Museum: It is 5 km far from the Korykos
Hotel. It is a protected mosaic very close, a few meters to seaside,
inside a stone building (BC 4th C Second Half) with a very high
artistic value. Poimenios who is understood to have an important
position in east Roman Empire ordered to construct a bath using the
mysterious water spring, and to the bottom of the bath he ordered to
construct a mosaic that represented the Girls in Heaven (Angels).
Castle : It is 800 m from Korykos Hotel and on the 60th km of
Mersin-Erdemli-Silifke highway within the borders of Kızkale town.
It was also populated in Islamic times but more crowded in Roman and
Byzantium times. From the ruins that came to surface in Nekropol
area it is understood that the first settlement was around 4.Century
BC. First coinage was done in 1st Century BC. Herodotus writes that
a Cyprut prince named Gorges built this town. Because Korikos was a
port city it was open to attacks and the owners changed often. In
the end of 4th Century BC when Seleukhos Nikador founded the city
Silifke, got Korikos under his regime. The city later joined Roman
empire in 72 AC and stayed under Roman regime for 450 years. During
this time it showed a great improvement in agriculture and became an
olive oil export center. During Byzantium time in order to be
protected from the Arabian attacks thick walls were built around the
city. In the 13th Century during Kilikian Armenian Kings time it
became an important trade port and was constantly visited by Geneva
and Venetian ships. Korikos in 1448 was conquered by Karamanoğlu
İbrahim and was rebuilt. In the ruins you can see internal and
external castle churches, cisterns, water belts, stone graveyards,
tombs, and stone Roman roads. The ruins got their name from the
castle of the island.
Square planned castle, consists of two walls next to each other. The
outside is covered with a ditch. The entrance to the castle used to
be maintained through a flexible bridge. It reflects the typical
features of medieval age castle architecture.
Rocks: It is 6 km from Korykos Hotel. You can reach the Daemons
valley by taking the west side turn (1 km far after the turn) on the
7. Km of the Kızkalesi -Hüseyiler village highway. There are ten
different compositions engraved into the rocks. 11 men, 4 women, 2
kids one mountain goat figure is seen.
It is thought to belong to early Hellenistic or Roman times.
Divane: It is 20 km far away from Korykos Hotel. The reason why it
is called Kanlı Divane (in Turkish meaning bloody like hell) is
because it was believed that the criminals were thrown away to the
deep pit to be torn by wild animals.
On the 15th km of Silifke Highway in Ayas region (45 km to the city
center Mersin) Kanyteleis Neapolis ruins are present. You can
reach via a 3km asphalt road to the antique city. Romans originally
built this road.
The ruins, which came to be known by the Western world in the middle
of the 19. Century was the holy land of Olba Kingdom founded on a
wide pit area. Later in. 408 Byzantium Emperor Teodosyus Neapolis II.
turned it into a city settlement with the name of new city. It had
its most powerful times during this era (4 th century AC) It is 10
km far away from Korykos Hotel.
and Olba: It is 45 km far away from Korykos Hotel.
You can reach the Olba ruins from Silifke highway that leads to
Toros valley and forests on the 30th km on a plateau. In the
Hellenistic era, Olba Ura Kingdoms holy land Uzuncaburç was freed
from Olba in 72 during the time of emperor Vespasianus and with the
name of Diocaesarea" (Tann-Emperor city) coined its own money and
became a free polis.
Olba city, is an important settlement area 4 km on the east side of
Uzuncaburç, and Zeus temple that the public prayed was in Uzuncaburç.
But after Roman conquest at the end of 1st Century they paid special
attention to Zeus temple and by separating it from Olba founded an
independent polis with the name of Diocaesarea. All the architecture
here except Zeus temple belong to Roman times. In Byzantium time it
was still used as a settlement area. The ruins found here are:
It is 30 km on the north, 1299 m altitude. The city that lived
during Roman and Byzantium times besides Zeus temple you can find
antique theaters and rock graveyards.
Castle: It is 25 km far away from Korykos Hotel. It was built on a
hill on the west side of the city in an oval plan. In the Classical
era there was a temple built for the goddess Athena Kanetis in the
middle of Kokysionoros settlement.
The settelement which appeared to belong to the Hellenic or early
Roman period according to the main determinations was fertified by
the Byzantians against Arabian invasions in the 7th century. The
castle lived the ages of Armenian Korykos Kingdom, Franks, Anatolian
Seljuks, Karamanoğulları and Ottoman times.
The castle was investigated by the explorer Captain Beaufort and V.
Langlois in 19th Century. Evliya Çelebi (Famous Turkish explorer)
has noted down that the castle had 23 towers, 1 mosque inside (belonging
to Sultan Beyazid II) and has approximately 60 houses. But most of
the towers are broken down at present time so you can only see 10 of
them. A security corridor is established with the second wall that
is built within the 1st wall at the main entrance. Not enough
archeological excavations and scientific studies were carried out in
the castle. The main structures that are seen in the castle are
arched galleries, water cisterns and storages. At the present time
the castle is in a citadel with no remnants of the walls. .
Frederick Barbarossa Statue : It is 30 km far away from Korykos
Hotel. Roman - German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, while going to
Philistine with the III. The Crusade Army drowned on 10 June 1190
next to Eksiler Village in Göksu river. In the year 1971, the German
consulate built the statue where Frederik drowned on the Silifke -
Konya highway 9. km on the right hand side.
This cave was transformed into a church in 4th Century.
After Christianity became the official religion, in later times the
church was decorated with many structures. Today apart from Cave
church in Meryemlik, upon this cave you can see Saint Tekla Church
whose one part of apsis is left, the church built for Aya Techla by
emperor Zenon and North Church; bath, many cisterns and city walls
remnants have come up to this date.