Korykos, which is located in the Kızkalesi district of Mersin and has become a trade center, was founded by a Cypriot prince in the 4th century BC, according to Herodotus, to protect the city against attacks from the sea.

The ancient city, formerly known as Korykos, has two castles that have survived to the present day. One of these castles was built on the seashore. Korykos Black Castle is surrounded by two rows of walls, just like Anamur Castle, ditches were dug around it and the entrance to the castle was provided by the bridge over the ditch.

Korykos Kalesi Gezilecek Yerler
Korykos Kalesi Manzarasi

The other castle of Korykos Ancient City was built on a small island. It is possible to reach the castle known as Kızkalesi by boats departing from Kızkalesi Beach, one of the few blue flag beaches in Mersin, or by renting a sea bike. Kızkalesi is located 300 meters from the beach. The castle has survived to the present day in a very good condition. However, there is nothing inside, the beauty of the castle is seen from the outside.

Korykos Kalesi Kizkalesi Manzarasi
Korykos Kalesi Kizkalesi Manzaralari

The two castles you can visit were built to protect the city. The ancient city of Korykos was connected to the ancient city of Elaiussa Sebaste, now known as the ancient city of Ayas, 15 km away, via a sacred road. For this reason, it is possible to come across churches, necropolises, ancient houses, rock tombs, aqueducts and cisterns between these two cities.

Mersin Korykos Kalesi Bazilika
Mersin Korykos Kalesi Sur Duvarlari

Kızkalesi also has a legend. One of the kings living in Korykos wishes very much to have a daughter. He prayed for it day and night and one day his wish was granted. A beautiful baby girl was born and as time passed, she became so helpful that everyone admired her. However, the king, wanting to know her future, brings a diviner to the palace and hears that his daughter will one day be bitten by a snake and killed. The king, who did not tell his daughter about this situation, built a castle on the islet where Kızkalesi is located today and imprisoned his daughter there. One day the girl craves grapes. A snake comes out of the grape basket brought from the palace for her to eat grapes and kills her.