The name of Seleucia is given, to the mountainous country stretching from Pompeiopolts to Anamur. The center of this district is present-day Silifke. Seleucus I Nikator, Alexander the Great’s military commander of the kingdoms of Syria and Asia Minor in the 3rd century B.C. built the town on the ruined site of the 7th century B.C. Greek settlement of Hoimi. Seleucus gave his name to the district and to the town, the classical name of which was Seleucia on The Calycadnos. Seleucus, a cultured and progressive man, appreciated the importance and position of Siiifke. In a short time the town developed and could soon boast of large buildings and monuments.
Later, as a result ol raids by the Isaurians, the town declined in importance and, together with other towns, fell into the hands of the Isaurians, At this time Silifke became an important center of Christian travellers. Subsequently the town was captured by the Arab invaders. At the end of the 12th century Cilicia, rightly throwing off Byzantine domination, fell under the rule of the Armenian kingship, founded by the descendents of the Rupen family. It was probably in this period that the building of Siiifke was begun. After the fall of the Seljuks Siiifke was the subject of long argument between the Ottoman and Karamanoglu Turks, Finally, in 1471, it was definitively annexed to the Ottoman Empire by Gedik Ahmet Pasha. To the east of Siiifke Castle may be seen a wide terrace and from this terrace an exposed staircase of the same date as the building. Given that this area was easily defended, a part of the town may well have been founded during the Hellenistic period. In the Roman and Byzantine periods, however, the town developed to the east towards the plain, The small modern town of Siiifke bears no resemblance to the old Seleucia, in the lay-out of Its streets, squares and monuments
Siiifke Castle: In the 12th century at the time of the Lesser Armenian kingdom, the castle was constructed for the defence of the district against the Konya Seljuks. in the 15th century the castle was equipped with an Iron door. On the orders of Sultan Beyazit a mosque was built from the remains of Seleucus’ palace, inside the castle Today, however, nothing remains of this. The large breach In the eastern wall Is accounted for by Gedik Ahmet Pasha’s conquest of Siiifke in 1471. The castle stands 184 metres above sea level. There are 23 towers. Within the castle walls can still be seen one remaining building, an inscription, a cellar and a cister’n.
The Stone Bridge: The six-arched stone bridge over the Gok-su river (the ancient Calycadnos) is today well-proportioned and completely modern. Until the end of the 19th century, however it was maintained in Its original form. According to Inscriptions found the old bridge was built by the Emperdr Vespeslan and his sons, Titus and Domitlan. It was in this river that Frederik Barbarossa, the leader of the Third Crusade, was drowned.
Mosaics: Roman mosaics are to be found in Asarkaya, near the Kebir Mosque. These mosaics, depicting a zoo, having been protected by a covering of earth have not beert destroyed.
The Cemetery : To be found on the hill slopes to the left and right of the road going north towards Mut There are two types of tomb ond tomb stones to be seen and on most of these ore can find inscriptions and bas-relief carvings. These tombs belong to the people but more elegant tombs and monuments built for the rich are to be found on the hills behind the town.
Cistern : On the ridge to the eost of Silifke Castle there is a large cistern, today known as Tekir ambari. It was carved out of the rock in Byzantine times to ensure a water supply for the higher parts of the town. It Is 45 meters long, 23 meters wide and 12 meters high.
The Church of St, Theclo : St. Thecia, an early Christian saint, was a disciple of St. Paul. While living with a family in Konya (fconiiim) she heard St. Paul preaching in a neighboring house. Breaking off her engagement, she went with St. Paul and devoted her life to him, adopling his counsels to lead believers in God and those wishing to be worthy of His love to renounce worldly pleasures and married life. She came to live in an underground cave in Silifke and there, in different ways, miraculously saved people from mortal dangers and performed miraculous cures. She was murdered by a group of marauders.
In the year 337 the Emperor Constantine, officaily adopting the Christian religion, built many churches and, near Silifke, in St, Theda’s name constructed a basilica over the cave where the saint had lived. The basilica has recently been excavated by archaeologists ana today, from the altar which is still standing, one can form an idea af the magnificence of this church which was in its day a Christian shrine. Although, because of the very ruined slate of the building, it is difficult to add to our present knowledge it is possible to make out a central courtyard by walls, reinforced by towers.
The main body of the basilica was divided by two rows of Corinthian columns into a nave and two aisles. The apse, containing an altar, was flanked by two email chapeis with altars, A narthex, narrow and high, on the west side and an additional columned gallery to the south complete the building. The roof was wooden and sloping. the wails marble-faced and the floor mosaic. Near the basilica there are the remains of a church built in the same style in commemoration of a victory won by the Emperor Zeno. It had a drum roof and a cupola.
Narlı Kuyu : At Narlı Kuyu, a loveiy spot, on a small, perfect baya subterranean river empties into the sea from under the rocks, The river comes with such force that it pushes the salt water back, and it is a common sight to see animats wade into the sea to drink fresh water. In a shed, built to protect the mosaics, there is what remains of a Roman bath. The floor In mosaic .depicts three girls said to represent Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. A Roman inscription in the mosaic says that whoever drinks from the spring will became more handsome, wiser, and have a longer life. The mosaic is in good condition and is a good example of Roman art.
Heaven and Hell: The road to the north (rom Narlı Kuyu leads to two large geological sinks famed in mythology and mentioned by Strabo. Its traditions go back to very early times when in legend Mother Earth lay with Tartarus and gave birth to Typhon, a monster with coiled serpents for arms and legs. It is the Corycean Cave of mythology. In that same cave the Armenians built a small chapel, the remains of which can be seen. This depression the Turks have named Heaven. A short distance farther on there is another great opening to which there is no means of descent. In legend this was the place of Imprisonment for the monster, Typhon, and the name given to it is Hell., Both are quite interesting both from a geological and from a legendary viewpoint, The ruins and walls at this place are from the Roman city Paperon. On the square pillars at the entrance to the wailed section there are Greek and Latin inscriptions.
Cavern : Quite near the Heaven and Hell geological sinks there has very recently been discovered an interesting and vast cave. The Tourism Department has enlarged the opening and made it possible to enter comfortably, inside the cavern there is a cathedrai-sized room sparkling with beautiful stalactites and stalagmiies. Leading from the main cavern are many winding passages that all lead toward the sea and can be followed for iong distances. Its particular charm at this time is that only a very few people have entered here and that there has been no exploration. Temple – Tombs on the Silifke – Uzuncaburç road Interesting examples of room-type tombs can be seen. One of these is built on a four-cornered open plan and there are in the front section remains of two Corinthian, columns. A damaged bust is to be seen in the architrave. Another very interesting tomb, of the early Roman period, may be found above the road. There are four coiumns, the bases of which are Ionic and the capital Corinthian. 300 metres further along the road there are two more tombs standing side by side among other ruins. The quality of the architectural design strikes the eye.
In fascinating layers of civilizations were Hittite remains; building levels of Greek, Roman, Sumerian, and Chalcolithlc periods descen- & ding backward in time to the Neolithic Age. Some of the flint implements found compare with those in the most ancient Mesopotamian settlements. Many of the artifacts con be seen in the Adana Museum.
Temple-Tombs On The Silifke – Uzuncaburç Road : Interesting examples of room-type tombs can be seen. One of these is built on a four-cornered open plan and there are in the front section remains of two Corinthian- columns. A damaged bust is to be seen in the architrave. Another very interesting tomb, of the early Roman period, may be found above the road. There are four columns, the bases of which are Ionic and the capital Corinthian. 300 metres further along the road there are two more tombs standing side by side among other ruins. The quality of the architectural design strikes the eye.The right hand tomb may be concluded to have belonged to one family while the tomb on the left, consisting of a single story, * reflects all the excellencies of Corinthian harmony. A marble tomb, resembling the Mausoleum at Bodrum, to be found amongst the ruins, Is remarkable. There is a balcony two metres from the ground. The roof is pyramidal at the base of which there is a statue.