Ancient Wonders

Daughter and I went walkabout last weekend and ended up about 2 hours west of Mersin in the small village of Kizkalesi.  Most of you who know Turkey or more particularly know Mersin will no doubt already know about this little spot along the Mediterranean but for those of you who are yet to visit this area Kizkalesi should definitely be on your list. kiz 3

Once out of Mersin the bus ride is enchanting was we passed through small villages, a scatterings of ruins and the never ending blue ocean.  The town itself is really nothing to write home about with its extraordinary number of pensions and holiday apartments that have built along the shoreline and on the lower slopes of Tarsus Mountains but our reason for visiting last weekend is to wonder at the majesty that is Deniz Kalesi also known as the Maiden’s Castle floating in the blue water of the Mediterranean.  Set on a small island just 400 metres off the mainland the island (The Turk tells me he used to swim over to it as a child although I call balderdash on that statement) was built sometime in the 1st century and has been rebuilt many times over the following centuries. Like most things in Turkey there is a legend that is attached to Deniz Kalesi.  It is said that a fortune teller told the King that his beautiful daughter will be poisoned by a snake.  Shocked by the fortune teller’s words, the King tries to change her fate by building a castle on an island where no snakes live.  He sends his daughter to live in the castle.  But a snake hides in a grape basket sent from the mainland and poisons the princess.  Definitely a bit of bad luck for her – maybe the King should have sent the Princess to Ireland.  Incidentally there are hundreds of little lizards on the island sending Daughter into screams of terror at every turn – so that’s definitely a bonus *sigh*. Image Daughter and I took a paddleboat over to the island (which really means I had to paddle both of us over to the island while she hung her legs into the water) to explore before returning back to the mainland (which also meant I had to paddle us both back while she complained about being cold even though it was 30 degrees and I was sweating bullets).  If you don’t want to paddle (or know that you are going to get stuck doing all the work) you can take one of the tourist boats over for 10TL. Exploring the ruins takes time and as Daughter and I had all the time in the world we enjoyed wandering around the base, climbing up and down its high walls and examining the mosaics. Image The mainland also has its fair share of ruins to explore as well and Daughter and I spent a good few hours wandering along in the sunshine traversing the ruins along the shore including Korykos Castle (above) which is directly opposite Maiden’s Castle and then a quick dolmus to Elaiussa-Sebaste (below) ruins which are only a few kilometres east of Kizkalesi.  If you have a few days you should also explore the Roman-Byzantine cities of Kanlidivane and Kanytelis also has a wonderful example of Roman necropolis. Image In summer Kizkalesi is packed, mostly with German tourists, but right now it is just a sleepy village and definitely no crowds – the beach was just pristine and it was all ours. _________________________________________________________________________ Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like minded people who, like you, love to travel and love Turkey. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.

16 thoughts on “Ancient Wonders

  1. Oh I was also in Kizkalesi last weekend for the first time 😃. Just didn’t visit the castle. Unfortunately. But saw two people with paddleboat there from a beach cafe. You and your daughter 🙂 ? Could be!


    • It depends, was the mother huffing and puffing while the daughter was hanging off the edge?

      It’s well worth getting over to the castle, in fact we are going back tomorrow (no school until Wednesday), thinking of going to the “Heaven and Hell” Caves.


  2. Heaven and Hell I did visit! Reserve a big bottle of water, a pair of healthy knees and good shoes. The stones on the path to Heaven can be slippery. It s worth of visiting, though I still feel it in my legs 🙂


  3. Wow, this place looks beautiful 🙂 I am absolutely jealous that you have that amazing scenery and amazing place all to yourself. Just unbelievable. Life is so unfair. Urgh.

    Anyway, do take care 🙂 Hope to hear more bout your travel exploits in the future!


  4. I love Kız Kalesi! Canım and I went there a month ago. I absolutely loved it. I went to Heaven and Hell last year. I nearly collapsed when I emerged from heaven (because I am pathetically out of shape). That adventure is an excellent metaphor for how easy it is to go to hell and how getting to heaven requires much more stamina and determination. It’s an amazing sight to see. Have a great time!


  5. My husband also claims to have swam over to the castle as a child. I called BS on that one too. 😉 And, yes, take heed of Miia’s advice on visiting “Heaven.” After coming back up, you’ll swear they that they should switch the names of the two.


  6. Beautiful…. The colour of the sea seems surreal.
    One line from your blog struck me….”Daughter and I had all the time in the world”,
    It reminded me of the Louis Armstrong song “We have all the time in the world”

    We have all the time in the world
    Time enough for life to unfold
    All the precious things Love has in store
    We have all the Love in the world
    If that’s all we have
    You will find we need nothing more
    Every step of the way will find us

    With the cares of the world far behind us
    We have all the time in the world
    Just for love, nothing more, nothing less, only love
    Every step of the way will find us
    With the cares of the world far behind us
    We have all the time in the world
    Just for love, nothing more, nothing less.

    It is obvious for all to see that you love “Daughter” very much ( Must do, all that paddling!). Wouldn’t do it for someone that you did not love.
    Keep on making all those precious memories of time spent with your daughter, “all the cares of the world far behind you” what a wonderful education you are giving her. All the places you have been together,all the places you have explored and learned facts about. Absolutely Fabulous.
    As I said to Danni on her blog….. Memories Last Longer than Dreams.

    Kind regards to you all


    • Lovely Jan. I just hope Daughter will still speak to me when she is a teenager. Right now I am not sure whether she will. And yes Danni is doing the right thing as well. It will definitely work out for her.


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  9. Do you ever click on stuff by accident? I did on your site. How happy am I that I did. I just spent a good two hours reading page after page practically from the beginning. Following you now. One of the funniest travel blogs Ive come across in some time.


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