Ancient City of Anavarza

Anavarza Ancient City, which is one of the two largest cities of Cilicia together with Tarsus, is located at the foot of the Anavarza Castle, which was established on one of the rare hills in the vast Çukurova.

Anavarza Castle

Anavarza Castle is the most important of the chain of castles in Adana. While Çukurova stretches along the endless plains, castles were built for communication and security purposes on very rare hills of the plain All of the castles such as Anavarza Castle, Kozan Castle, Tumlu Castle and Yılankale can see each other. For example, the news of a ship docking in the Ayas (Yumurtalık) port can be transmitted from castle to castle.

The most important feature that distinguishes Anavarza Castle from other castles in Çukurova is that Anavarza Ancient City is located at its foot. While other castles only serve as outposts/communications, this is a structure established to defend the ancient city at the foot of the castle.

It is estimated that the city and the castle were called Anavarza, which derives from the old Persian word "Na-barza" ("Invincible"), due to the 200-meter-high hill, which is one of the most prominent elevations of Çukurova.

Many parts and walls of the Anavarza Castle are still standing. The castle, which was very difficult to besiege at that time and was built on a very steep hill, is still difficult to climb today; It can only be exited from the south or east part.

Anavarza Castle consists of 3 walls inside each other; There are structures such as military barracks, water and food warehouses, and historical churches between the walls. In the innermost part, there is a 3-storey tower that can be reached by stairs from a single point.

When the top of the castle is reached, watching the city in the west and the vast Çukurova plain makes visitors forget all tiredness. The surviving fortifications around you and the stairs on which the soldiers marched are still intact and resisting the passing of time. Looking at the east side of the castle, the view of the Ceyhan River and other castles of Çukurova can be seen in the distance.

We recommend that visitors to the castle wear sports shoes suitable for the 40-minute climb and carry a small water bottle with them.

If possible, it would be appropriate to climb the castle in the morning or in the afternoon when it is not too hot. We think that the best season to climb Anavarza Castle is spring to see the plain stretching out like a green sea and the rich vegetation that is the source of the knowledge of the famous medicineman Dioskoridesms.

Anavarza Ancient City

Anavarza Ancient City is one of the most important cities of Cilicia with its history dating back to the Roman Empire. Struggling for the leadership of Tarsus, which is also a very large city, and Cilicia, Anavarza became one of the most important metropolises of Anatolia, especially in the 3rd century. The city, which took the side of Severus in the struggle for the empire of Rome, started to experience the brightest period of its history after he became the sole ruler of the empire.

The city, which suffered two earthquakes in 525 and 561, weakened due to the plague epidemic that followed, and the city, which came under the rule of the Abbasids, the Armenian Kingdom, the Mamluks and the Ottomans, lost its former importance as a result of constant wars.

Anavarza Ancient City, which is estimated to be 5 times the size of Ephesus, contains many artifacts, most of which are underground. The most important of these is the 22.5-meter-wide and 10-meter-high gate, known as the Arc de Triomphe, through which the Roman Emperor Augustus entered Anavarza with his army in 19 BC. A part of the columned road with a width of 34 meters and a length of 2 thousand 400 meters, which can be seen when proceeding through the gate, was unearthed during excavations. Baths, churches, stadiums, waterways, rock tombs are among the works that must be seen.

One of the most important features of Anavarza is that the famous doctor Dioskoridesms, who was born here, has a very important place in the history of medicine and is used as a textbook and for therapeutic purposes. The field that Dioxkoridesms specializes in is drug making from plants. The richness of the plant diversity of the region fascinates the visitors even today, especially in the spring months. 

Where is Anavarza? How to Get to Anavarza? Directions to Anavarza

Anavarza Castle and its ancient city are located in Dilekkaya Village of Kozan District of Adana. It is 28 km from Kozan and 80 km from Adana.

To go to Anavarza by private car, you need to turn east from Ayşehoca village on the Ceyhan Kozan road and go to Dilekkaya Village of Kozan. Minibuses going from Kozan District Center to Dilekkkaya can be used to go to Anavarza by public transportation.

Entry to Anavarza is free.

Legend of Anavarza Castle

The name of the Anavarza Castle, which dates back to ancient times, is also included in the legends. According to the legend; the king of Anavarza had a daughter whose beauty spread all over Çukurova. The prince of the Sis (Kozan) kingdom and the prince of the Misis Kingdom asked  to marry the daughter of the king of Anavarza. The father, who did not want to disturb the relations between the two kingdoms, stated that, upon the suggestion of his daughter, whoever brought water to the thirsty city of Anavarza would marry his daughter. The princes of Misis and Sis kingdoms immediately started digging a canal to bring water to Anavarza. The Misis prince had brought water to Anavarza earlier. Thereupon, the princess, who fell in love with the prince of Sis and wanted him to win, committed suicide by throwing himself from the Anavarza Cliffs.

Places to see around Anavarza

Kozan Castle: 27 km

Yılankale (Snake Castle): 37 km

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