Aydıncık, Mersin.

Aydıncık is a town and district of Mersin Province on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, 173 km (107 mi) from Mersin and 325 km (202 mi) from Antalya.

Aydıncık has also been called Celenderis, Gilindire, Kelenderis.

This remote coastline is mostly unspoilt and 38 kilometers long, including some sandy beach, and the town of Aydıncık is spread along the coast near a small point, Sancak Burnu.


Aydıncık is the site of ancient Celenderis, a port and fortress in Isauria. It was one of the best harbours of this coast in ancient times and also a very strong defensive position. Artemidorus, with other geographers, considered this place, as the commencement of Cilicia.[1] There must have been earlier settlement going back to the Hittites and Assyrians but so far no evidence has been uncovered.

According to legend the city was founded by Sandocus, a grandson of Phaethon, who emigrated here from Syria. He married Pharnace, the princess of Hyria. Their son Cinyras founded Paphos.[2] Historians reported that the city was indeed a Phoenician settlement, later expanded by an Ionian colony from Samos.[3] Excavations carried out since 1986 have revealed findings going back to the 8th century BCE when the Samians arrived.

The city thrived during the 4th and 5th centuries BCE. It was a stop on the shipping lanes between the Aegean Sea to the west, Cyprus to the south, and Syria to the east. In the 450s BCE the fleets of Athens passed by on their way to support rebellions against the Achaemenid Empire in Cyprus and Egypt. During this period Celenderis became the easternmost city to pay tribute to the Athenian-led Delian league. Payments were only made from 460 BCE to 454 BCE.[4] before Athens abandoned both campaigns and accepted a peace agreement which left Celenderis in the Achaemenid-allied Kingdom of Cilicia.

During the Hellenistic era (1st century BCE) Celenderis was in a political coalition with the kingdom of the Ptolemys of Egypt, and faced severe difficulties from piracy. This problem persisted until Ancient Rome took military actions against the pirates, and Celenderis enjoyed a second period of wealth as the Romans secured the Mediterranean trade routes. They built a city around the port with villas, palaces, waterworks, and baths. During the Middle Ages, the grandeur persisted as the city was controlled by Byzantium, and in the 11th century the Armenians.

In 1228 Celenderis castle was captured from the Armenians by the Karamanoğlu and the coast was settled by Turkish peoples. The town's name mutated to Gilindere and it continued to be an important port between Anatolia and Cyprus until the beginning of the twentieth century. It was renamed Aydıncık in 1965.

Celenderis coins

The town gave name to a region called Celenderitis,[5] and coined those silver tetradrachms, which supply some of the earliest and finest specimens of the numismatic art.[6] There are also coins of the Syrian kings, and of the later Roman emperors.

Places of interest

The remains of ancient Celenderis are very few and the ruins today are mostly overlaid by the expanding modern Aydıncık. Fortifications may still be detected around the modern lighthouse on the small promontory which forms and commands the harbor. There is a landlocked bay with its famous spring 1.6 km to the west at Soguksu. Here there are ancient ruins, notably a bath at the head of the bay and archaeological debris on the peninsula at its mouth. There are handsome but much destroyed rock-cut tombs at Duruhan 9.6 km to the North.

In 2002, remains of a 2400 year-old harbor was discovered underwater around the island Yılanlı Ada.

The Port Bath

It was most probably built during fourth or fifth centuries CE. The castle on the point and the theater apparently belong to the Roman era. *


In the graveyards of the city, rock graves, vaulted graves and pyramid-roofed monumental graves can be seen spanning a period from the sixth millennium BCE. up to the fourth century. The majority of the items displayed at the museum are from these graves.

Floor Mosaic

The mosaic discovered near the port in 1992 is an exceptional example in depicting the panorama of the city as it stood in the fifth century.

The Dortayak Cenotaph

There is a large Roman Cenotaph with four columns from the 2nd century. It was marked as a CENOTAPH (a monument erected as a memorial to a dead person or dead people buried elsewhere, especially people killed fighting a war) on the map of Chelindreh harbor prepared by Rear Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort. This is a tetrapylon made of well-cut limestones with a rectangular burial room on the lower part, four pylons erected on this and a pyramidal roof carried by the arches of the four pylons. This type is a common one in the Roma period and may be dated to the second half of the second or early third century CE.

Gilindire Cave

The cave of Gilindere is about an hour's ride along the coast by small boat, and is 555m of attractive stone and crystal formations.



  • The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites (eds. Richard Stillwell, William L. MacDonald, Marian Holland McAllister) Princeton University Press, 1976.
  • Günaydın, Kelenderis, Mustafa Yalçıner, 2004.
  • Reference article in Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)] (12.66)
  • Reference article in Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)] (11.91)
  • Reference Article written by S. Pétridès. Transcribed by Gerald M. Knight.
  • The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York
  • Karamania, Sir Francis Beaufort

External links

This article incorporates text from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913, a publication now in the public domain.

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Aydıncık, Mersin. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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