The Red tower is the symbol of Alanya. It came to be known as “Red Tower” due to its reddish coloured bricks. Red Tower not only guarded the entrance to the harbor but also protected the fortress and shipyard.
It is one of the example of the medieval Mediterranean defence structures. In order to protect the city from sea attacks the tower was built in 1226 by Syrian architect Ebu Ali Reha el Kettani with the order of Seljuk ruler Alaeddin Keyqubad I.
The tower is octagonal and measures 29 meters in diameter and 33 meters high. There are 56 windows at facades of Red Tower. 22 spans for pouring hot pitch and water. Despite its simple exterior from outside, the tower’s interior plan is quite complicated.
It has five levels and each of them has a different layout. The third, forth, and fifth floors is in the form open terraces. In addition to stone and brick, recycled architectural components from classical antiquity were used during the construction of the tower. Within the octagonal pier at the core of building there is a cistern. This also helps to bear the weight of the structure.
Due to military purposes, access to ground floor is through a small entrance and stairs raise in narrow corridors. Each floor contains loophole windows that taper to narrow outer openings and hooded apertures for defensive purposes. The tower is crowned with crenellations that alternate openings with protective barriers.
After his visit in 1671 the famous Ottoman traveller Evliya Çelebi is also mentioned about Red tower. He said that it could home up to 2000 people during a siege and it is defended by 40 security men.
While the inscription on the northern facade mentions the name of Architect, the one on the southern glorifies Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat. It says “The ruler of the people, the greatest of all sultans of the world, defender of justice, sultan of the land and sea, and helper of the Muslims.” The tower was restored between the years 1951- 53.
How to visit Red Tower
Alanya is 3 hours away from Antalya, 2 hours from Belek, 1 hour from Side. The red tower is located on İskele street, near ship port in Alanya. Thanks to its distinctive look one can easily spot. It takes about 45 mins to visit it. It is open every day from 9 till 19.00 in summer. 8 till 17 in winter. Entrance is 5TL
High stone steps enable the visitors to go upper levels. Light entered from shafts lead you through the steps. The ground floor is exhibition hall today. A large cistern is located at the upper part of the 1st floor. Even today it is working.
Air shafts are located in the middle of octagon sides at the bottom of a corridor, close to the cistern. There are spans for pouring hot pitch and water. At the top of the tower you can take photos and enjoy the sceneries of the lining defence walls, Mediterranean Sea and harbour. If you have time don’t miss to have a boat tour around peninsula to have a wider look.
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