Permanent Delegation of Turkey to UNESCO
Province of Mersin, District of Anamur
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Mamure Castle is located at the Mediterranean Sea side, on the Antalya-Mersin Highway, 6 km south-east of Anamur and 216 km west of Mersin.
The castle, covering an area of 23.500 m2, is one of the biggest and well-protected castles of Turkey. Although the exact construction date of the castle is uncertain, it is believed to have been built by the Romans either in the 3rd or the 4th century, due to the excavations conducted in 1988 by the Directorate of Anamur Museum. These excavations revealed archaeological remains that have mosaic floor covering which belong to a Late Roman city (3rd-4th c. A.D.) called “Ryg Monai”, a city not prominent in that period. On the other hand, it is also known as the outer protective castle of the Anamurium Antique City.
The Castle was later on enlarged and used by the Byzantine Empire and the Crusades. When Anatolian Seljuk Sultan Aleaddin Keykubat I captured the ruins of the castle in 1221, he built a larger castle partially using the foundation of the former castle. It was later on incorporated into the realm of Karamanids. According to the work of Sikari (historian of the Karamanids), after Anamur and Taseli had been captured and destroyed by enemies, Mahmut of Karaman defeated them and then he captured the castle, repaired it again and renamed it as Mamure (prosperous). Although the exact date is uncertain, according to an inscription erected by _ brahim II of Karaman in 1450, the castle was captured during Mahmut's reign (1300–1308). In 1475, the castle was annexed by the Ottoman Empire. During the Ottoman reign, the castle was repaired in the 15th, 16th and 18th centuries and a part of the castle was used as a caravanserai.
The castle is surrounded by a moat on the land side. The road on the rampart connects the 39 towers (4 of them are bigger than the others) and a lot of battlements to each other. There are 3 main yards within the castle; west, east and the south, which are separated from each other by high walls. In the yard at the west there is an outer castle, a small complex of a single minaret mosque, the ruins of a hamam (Turkish bath), a fountain, warehouses and cisterns. In the east, there is an inner courtyard which has 7 bastions in different shapes on the high wall constituting its northwest border. The bastions on the north-eastern part of it have been ruined together with the wall. In the yard at the south; there is an inner citadel built over the rocks, the main watch tower which has the best view with 22 meters height inside the biggest bastion, 5 more watch towers and ruins of a light house.
The single minaret mosque which represents the characteristics of the 16th century Ottoman architecture was built by the Karamanids. The historic mosque is still functioning and has been renovated. The hamam which is located on the north of the Castle is also believed to have been built by the Karamanids. The entrance part of the hamam has been demolished but other parts are still intact.
Justification of Outstanding Universal Value
Mamure Castle is over 1500 years old and ranks among the best-preserved Medieval Castles on the Mediterranean coast. It is an authentic medieval fortification with styles from different conquering armies; the Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, Karamanids and Ottomans. Thus, it represents the culture of these civilizations. Besides, it has perfect location for defence as it is dominating visually the surrounding landscape and the sea.
Criterion (iv): Mamure Castle represents an outstanding example of Medieval fortification in terms of the survival of historical stratigraphy. It illustrates significant stages in human history as it hosted many civilizations such as the Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, Karamanids and Ottomans. The properties within the Castle, which are a mosque, a hamam, a fountain, warehouses and cisterns, have been built during the reign of different civilizations; therefore they have architectural characteristics peculiar to those cultures.
Criterion (v): Mamure Castle is an outstanding example of land-use due to its location and characteristic to be used for both settlement and defence purposes by many cultures. The location of Mamure Castle is perfect in terms of defence as it is dominating visually the surrounding landscape and the sea. The watch towers, especially the main tower at the south extend the view of the castle. The other elements of the defence system are the battlements on the rampart and the moat surrounding the castle on the land side. The battlements and the windows of the watch towers are V-shaped, wider at the inner part which makes easier to shoot arrows from the castle but harder to be shot from outside.
Statements of authenticity and/or integrity
Mamure Castle, which takes place within the 1st Degree Archaeological and Natural Site, was listed as immovable cultural property by the 17.12.2004 dated and 303 numbered decision of the Related Conservation Council.
Since the castle has been renovated by every culture dominating it, it has largely kept its integrity until today. However, the rampart in the south of the Castle has been demolished by the sea waves hitting it. A groyne made of rock piles has been built in order to prevent this. Lastly, the Castle and the mosque were subject to some restoration in the 1960s by the Directorate General of Foundations.
Comparison with other similar properties
Mamure Castle is similar to other castles built in its period for military purposes in terms of its architectural elements (rampart, towers, moat, hamam, fountain, cistern etc.). However, its perfect location to prevent the attacks that would come from the sea, the large area that it was built on, its visual dominance on the surrounding landscape and the sea, its characteristic to consist all necessary living spaces and to represent the cultural features of every civilization that used it and its impressive architecture differs it from the similar castles built in its period.