Yumurtalık (Ayas) Castles

Aigeai was an ancient city in Anatolia not well known in the old period.  It became a city that gained great importance with Alexander the Great's capture of Anatolia. In order to protect this port and to ensure maritime trade security, two castles were built, one at sea and one at the castle. In addition to its natural harbor feature, the port of Yumurtalık (modern name of the village) has gained importance with the shift of trade to the Eastern Mediterranean during the Crusades. The fact that the Tarsus Port was filled with alluvium and lost its function has made Aigeai the most important port of the Eastern Mediterranean.

In the 6th century, trade in the city developed so much that fairs lasting 40 days are held every year. After the conquest of Akka by Saladin Ayyubi, Aigeai  remained as the only important port of the Christians in the east and  preserved its long-term importance.

In Çukurova, castles are generally built on high hills and in their construction stones from the places they are built are used. But Yumurtalık Castle was built at sea level and the stones were brought from the surrounding stone quarries.

Looking at the city walls, elements of different structures were used for the repair of the city walls, rather than a homogeneous structure. This is because of the necessity to act quickly especially in siege periods. So much that column pieces, tombstones and mortar stones were used to repair the walls against attacks. This situation has caused the architectural styles of many societies to be seen in the castle. Today, not much remains of the ancient city walls.

When you go to see the Yumurtalık Castles, we recommend you to walk along the harbor towards the lighthouse and take a souvenir photo with the surviving tower of the castle, the sea and the boats.

Aigeai  (Ayas) Ancient City

Aigeai Ancient City was founded by the generals of Alexander the Great. It is a name derived from the ancient Greek word Aiks, which means goat. According to the rumor, Alexander tied torches to the horns of goats in the battle of Issos.  Persians  think that they were fighting with a very large army, and this made them flee the area. The name of the city comes from here.

Strabo of Amasya mentions it as Aigeai in his book, while Marco Polo mentions it as Layas.

One of the most important features of Aigeai is that one of the 3 largest temples of Asklepios (medical god) in the world (the others are Kos Island, the hometown of Hippocrates, and Bergama) is here. Patients make offerings to the gods to heal here, and it is also a hospital where medical treatments are carried out. In 215, the Roman Emperor Caracalla visited the city of Aigeai and the Temple of Asclepius, where he recovered from his illness. After Rome accepted Christianity,  Emperor Constantine, who saw this temple as a danger for his own beliefs, had this hospital demolished

The famous traveler Marco Polo passed through Ayas twice, in 1271 when he started his Asian journey and in 1296 when he was returning from his trip. He speaks of the city as a great marketplace where all the riches of the east are gathered and where silk clothes, gold and spices from the inner regions are brought and sold.

Maiden’s Castle

One of the Yumurtalık Castles on an island in the sea is also known as the Maiden's Castle. The legend told about Maiden's Castle in Kızkalesi Mersin and Maiden's Tower in Istanbul is also told here. The castle, where the Italian architecture is seen, served as an additional service building to the port. As a result of the researches, it was concluded that this place is a customs control point. You can visit the Maiden's Castle by renting a boat from Yumurtalık Harbor. If you are in good physical condition, you can see this island by swimming or by renting a pedalo or canoe from the shore.

Another beauty of the Maiden's Castle is that it acts as a breakwater together with Marco Polo Pier. Thanks to this castle, Yumurtalık Beach generally provides a smooth, safe and enjoyable swimming experience. Sun loungers and umbrellas are rented on the beach. There is a changing cabin, shower and toilet.

Where are the Yumurtalık (Ayas) Castles? Directions Information. How to go to Castles?

Yumurtalık (Ayas) Castles are located in the center of Yumurtalık District of Adana. The distance between the castles and Adana is 63 km.

To go to the Yumurtalık (Ayas) castles from Adana, after taking the Karataş Road, you can turn to the hillside road and pass through the Alihocalı, Herekli, Akpınar, Çatalpınar, Haylazlı and Ayvalık neighborhoods, respectively, to reach the Yumurtalık District Center.

An alternative way would be to use the Adana-Şanlıurfa highway and exit the highway at the Ceyhan toll booths and follow the Yumurtalık (Ayas) signs located here.

To go to Yumurtalık Castles by public transport, you can use the municipal buses numbered 403 or the Yumurtalık buses departing from Yureğir Bus Terminal.

Places to be seen around Yumurtalık (Ayas) Castles:

Suleiman Tower: 6 km

Misis Bridge: 32 km

Kurtkulagi Caravanserai: 30 km