Alanya (/əˈlɑːnjə/ (listen); Turkish pronunciation: [aˈɫanja]), formerly Alaiye, is a beach resort city and a district of Antalya Province on the southern coast of Turkey, in the country’s Mediterranean Region, 133 kilometres (83 mi) east of the city of Antalya. As of Turkey’s 2010 census, the city had a population of 98,627, while the district that includes the city and its built-up region had an area of 1,598.51 km2 and 248,286 inhabitants.
Because of its natural strategic position on a small peninsula into the Mediterranean Sea below the Taurus Mountains, Alanya has been a local stronghold for many Mediterranean-based empires, including the Ptolemaic, Seleucid, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. Alanya’s greatest political importance came in the Middle Ages, with the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm under the rule of Alaeddin Kayqubad I, from whom the city derives its name. His building campaign resulted in many of the city’s landmarks, such as the Kızıl Kule (Red Tower), Tersane (Shipyard), and Alanya Castle.
The Mediterranean climate, natural attractions, and historic heritage make Alanya a popular destination for tourism, and responsible for nine percent of Turkey’s tourism sector and thirty percent of foreign purchases of real estate in Turkey. Tourism has risen since 1958 to become the dominant industry in the city, resulting in a corresponding increase in city population.
Alanya’s culture is a subculture of the larger Culture of Turkey. The city’s seaside position is central to many annual festivals. These include the Tourism and Arts Festival, which marks the opening of the tourism season from at the end of May or beginning of June. At the opposite end of the season, the Alanya International Culture and Art Festival is held in the last week of May, and is a notable Turkish festival. Other regular festivals include the Alanya Jazz Days, which has been held since 2002 in September or October at the Kızıl Kule, which is otherwise home to the municipal ethnographic museum. The Jazz Festival hosts Turkish and international jazz musicians in a series of five free concerts.
The Alanya Chamber Orchestra, formed of members of the Antalya State Opera and Ballet, gave its inaugural performance on December 7, 2007. The International Alanya Stone Sculpture Symposium, begun is 2004, is held over the month of November. The Alanya Documentary Festival was launched in 2001 by the Alanya Cinémathèque Society and the Association of Documentary Filmmakers in Turkey.Onat Kutlar, Turkish poet and writer, and founder of the Istanbul International Film Festival was born in Alanya, as was actress Sema Önür.
Since the first modern motel was built in 1958, considered the first year of the tourist industry in Alanya, hotels have raced to accommodate the influx of tourists, and the city as of 2007 claims 157,000 hotel beds. Damlataş Cave, which originally sparked the arrival of outsiders because of the cave’s microclimate, with an average temperature of 72 °F (22 °C) and 95% humidity, is accessible on the west side of the peninsula with trails from Damlataş Beach. Many tourists, especially Scandinavians, Germans, Russians, and Dutch, regularly vacation in Alanya during the warmer months. They are drawn to the area because of property prices, warm weather, sandy beaches, access to Antalya’s historic sites, and fine cuisine.
Other outdoor tourist activities include wind surfing, parasailing, and banana boating. Attractions include Europe’s largest waterpark, Sealanya, and Turkey’s largest go-kart track. Hunting season also attracts some tourist for wild goat, pig and partridge hunting in area nature reserves.
Alanya is home to a woman’sbasketball team, Alanya Belediye, which started in the first division but was relegated after the 2002 season. The city hosts a Süper Ligsoccer team, Alanyaspor. The club was founded in 1948, and play home games at Milli Egemenlik Stadium. It played in the Second League between 1988-1997 and 2014–2016. The club finally promoted to top level in 2015–16 season. In 2007, the city began constructing a new soccer facility with the intention of hosting winter competitions between major teams. The public Alanya Municipality Sports Facility is located adjacent to Milli Egemenlik Stadium, which is one of thirteen facilities.
Alanya’s waterfront location makes it suitable for certain events, and is perhaps most famous for its annual triathlon, part of the International Triathlon Union series, which has been held every October since 1990.Marathon swimming competitions have also been connected to the triathlon since 1992. Building on the triathlon’s success, Alanya hosted a modern pentathlon in 2009. Alanya is also the regular host of The Turkish Open, part of the Nestea European Beach Volleyball championship tour, which takes place in May. In 2007, the Turkish Volleyball Federation persuaded the European Volleyball Confederation to build a beach volleyball training facility in Alanya, and make it the exclusive “center of beach volleyball in Europe”.
The city is also a frequent host to national events, such as the annual beach handball tournament. Alanya is the traditional finish site of the seven-day Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, though organizers reversed the route in 2012, and started the event in Alanya instead. Other cycling events include the Alanya International Mountain Bike Race. Additionally, the European Cycling Union had its 2010 European road cycling championship and 2010 ordinary congress meeting in Alanya.