Mersin - Erdemli


Following the proclamation of the Turkish Republic, it became a county of its own from being a small settlement of Silifke Country in June 1, 1954. It has a significant potential for development in terms of tourism, historic richness, and natural beauty. Erdemli is 37km west of Mersin, located on the coast of Mediterranean. The importance of the county for the city lies in the density of the historic and touristic locations within the borders of the country, as well as the fact that it is the base of majority of the citrus production. Even though it is not clear what it was named after, it is stated that the name Erdemli comes from a Turkmen Tribe called the “Erdemogullari”, which was believed to have come from Central Anatolia in the 15th Century (the ruler of the Tribe was called Erdem Bey). The country went through the periods of Erdemli, Hittites, Seleucians, Romans, Byzantines, Egyptians, Karamanids, and Ottomans. A village until 1953, and a small settlement of Silifke County, Erdemli becomes a county of its own in June 1, 1954 through the incorporation of Yagda Township of Silifke, and the Elvanli Township of Mersin. GEOGRAPHICAL STATUS Erdemli is a pretty county by the coast of the Mediterranean with rich natural beauties. It is surrounded by Mezitli in the east, Silifke in the west, Karaman and Konya in the north, and the Mediterranean in the south. It has a surface area of 2.078 km², which is comprised of 62% of forests, 17% of agricultural areas, 21% of meadow, and rough, rocky areas.
Historical Places

KORYKOS (Kizkalesi)

It is located 60km southwest of Mersin, in the town of Kizkalesi. It is 25km away from Silifke. According to Heredotus, the town was founded by a Cypriot Prince named Korykos (Gorgos?). The name Korykos was encountered on the coins he had minted after proclaiming independence, taking advantage of the chaos that emerged after the death of Seleucian king Anthiokos the Fourth in the 1st Century, BCE. The earliest information comes from the Hellenistic Period regarding this settlement that stretches out from northeast to southwest including the port, from Elaiussa- Sebaste on the east, Heaven-Hell on the west. Polygonal-braided stonemasonry installed on the bedrock comes from this era. Dominated by the Egyptians for a short while, Korykos was taken back by the Antiokos the 3rd from the Egyptians in 197, BCE. It came under the domination of the Roman in 80, BCE, and then was captured by the Cappadocian King Archelaos in 20, BCE. It became a significant port city during the Roman and the following Byzantine rule. It was a known Police (city, town) since 2, BCE, and became a Kome (village) of Sebaste in 3, AC. Later on, it suffered the destruction of Sasanians during the reign of Shapur the 1st. Reviving even after this period, Korykos’ situation can be observed on the monuments. Hierocles brought some order to the city in the 5th Century. This way, Korykos became one of the cities of Cilicia I with the capital Cyndus.Isaurians ruled over Korykos and Sebaste in 479. Affiliated to Cyndus, which was part of the Antioch Patriarchate in the 6th Century, Korykos becomes an episcopate affiliated to Cyndus, and then between 1136-1394 named as the Latin archiepiscopate. Germanus (İ.S.381), Salustios (431), and Iohaninus (680-681-690) are among the well-known bishops. The name of Bishop Indakos (516-518) appears in a text. Several inscriptions dating back to 5th and 6th Centuries are found in Korykos. They provide information on vocations, as well as on their Christianity. They also inform us that Kizkalesi was an important port; that there were workers, and every now and then they would go and trade in Korasion. Korykos was still part of the Cilisia I County between 690-91. It was captured by the Sassanians in the beginning of the 7th Century, and by the Arabs at the end of the Century. In the 9-10th Centuries it was ruled by the Seleukeia Tema. In the 10th Century, its name was mentioned as “Qurqos” within the Arab initerar along with Korasion. In 1099, some new developments have occurred. In that year, the Emperor Alexion the 1sthave ordered the building of the land castle to Megas Drungarios Eustatias, the architect. The same architect had built the Seleucia Castle, as well. Both structures had been used as inns for those who intended to go to the holy hand from Istanbul by sea. The Small Armenian Prince Constantine the 1st has ruled this area in the beginning of the 12th Century; while it was recaptured by the Byzantinesin 1137, only to become a Small Armenian Kingdom again in 1163. In 1191, the French King Philip stops by here on his way back from pilgrimage. When a Genoesean merchantship was attacked in Korykos in 1267, the Armenian Kingdom and the Genoese had a falling out, but the relationships improved by 1271. During the reign of the Mamelukean sultan Baybars in 1275, it was an important place for saffron production. When Osin of the Hetum dynasty, the last ruler of Korykos, was killed, it entered into the domination of Leon the 4th. After he passed away, the people of Korykos were faced with pressure from the Karamanids at some point in 1361, and asked for help from the Kingdom of Cyprus, eventually going under its protection. The Lusignans, who were in Cyprus in 1375, had always been in contact with Korykos.In 1448, it was conquered by the Karamanid Abraham the 2nd, and later on taken over by the Ottomansin 1473-74, and over time lost its significance. Cem Sultan visited here from Mersin before he got on board the ship sent by the Rhodian Knights, stayed in the Kizkalesi, and then headed to Italy through Anamur.


On Korykos coins, we see depictions of the city walls over Tyche’s head. These must be the city walls that existed between the 1st BCE-1st AC. The ruins of these early period city walls can easily be seen today. The new city walls were initially built in the 4th Century AC, and these walls encompass the necropolis, as well.


The most important part of the Korykos ruins is the port. Just like the Sebaste and Aigaiai,Korykos Port had been used by the Syrians.


Kizkalesi, also known as the Sea Castle, gives its name to the town, and it is nestled on a small island. It is approximantely 600 meters to land. According to an inscription there, it was built during Leon the 1st time in 1199. In 1361, it was occupied by the Kingdom of Cyprus. Strabon talks about how it was used as a shelter by the pirates during the Roman Period. The castle has significance for the Byzantines and the Armenians. It’s entered from the north. Spolia material has been used here. The sections where see the use of rubble stone must be from the Lusignan period. The castle wall has 192 meters long loopholes, and it has 8 triangular, square, and circular towers on it. There is also a well-preserved tunnel stretching out through the western wall, with a door that leads to the water. A structure complex was unearthed in the mid section of the castle during a clean up digging conducted by the Mersin Museum. This structure complex includes a chapel in it. The chapel has a common plan with the structure complex, and it is older than the oneat the courtyard of the castle. Furthermore, the base has opus sectile floor covering, alongside the mosaics. The rooms around it open up to the parlor in the mid area, and the floors of the rooms with a square-shape plan are elevated northward. There is a text with five lines inside the circular braiding over the floor mosaic, and another inscription on the portico located on the western corner of the area. However, there is a lot more inscriptions. There are cisterns and mills within the castle’s courtyard. According to a legend that’s been told in various locations regarding the Kizkalesi, “once upon a time there was a king. He consults to a fortuneteller about his beloved and only daughter. When he finds out that she will die because of snakebite, he builts this castle for her. Thinking he ensured her safety, one day the king sends her a basket of grapes. However the snake that was hidden inside the basket bites her, and she dies.