Gazipaşa

Gazipaşa is a town on the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey in Antalya Province, 180km east of the city of Antalya. Gazipaşa is a quiet rural district famous for its bananas and oranges.

The old name of Gazipasa is Selinus, which mutated to Selinti in the early Turkish period.

Geography:
The district of Gazipaşa stands on a narrow strip of coast between the Mediterranean Sea and the high Taurus Mountains rising steeply behind (highest point the 2253m “Deliktaş”. The coast road is narrow and winding beyond Alanya, making Gazipaşa remote and hard to access from Antalya and even more so from further east (it is 80km to the next town Anamur but it takes two hours to drive). The remote rocky hillsides are reputedly home to large quantities of snakes, scorpions and other dangerous wildlife. There is 50km of coastline, about half of which is sandy beaches and even the rocky stretches have small coves that are also used for swimming. The beaches of Gazipaşa are used as nesting grounds by the sea turtles caretta caretta.

The local economy depends on agriculture; the land on the coastal strip is used for growing fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits and bananas, and in recent years a large number of glasshouses have been built to produce crops such as cucumbers, strawberries and artichokes all year round. Some grain is also grown and animals are grazed higher in the moutains. There is also some forestry and fishing but no industry. The local council is controlled by the centre-left CHP.

Gazipaşa has not experienced the tourist boom of neighbouring Alanya but there are now efforts being made to attract tourists to the district by building a yacht marina and an airport (although this cannot be completed as it is now clear that aircraft cannot safely land this close to the mountains). Tourist attractions include some sites from antiquity, caves, beaches, mountain walking, and a curious half-built airport.

History:
This is a part of the world with a long history, there is evidence of Hittite settlement going back to 2000 BC, and it is assumed that this coast was settled long before that. The Ancient Greek city of Selinus was established here on the River Kestros (today called Hacımusa by 628 BC, as part of the kingdom of Cilicia. In 197 BC the area passed into the hands of the Ancient Romans, and in the 1st century AD the Emperor Trajan died here after falling ill while journeying along the Mediterranean coast. His body was taken by his successor Hadrian for burial in Rome and for a period the town was named Traianapolis.

The Romans were succeeded by the Byzantines, who lost the area to the Seljuk Turks of `Ala’ ad-Din Kay-Qubad in 1225. During the area of the Anatolian Turkish Beyliks the coast including Selinti was controlled by the Karamanoğlu clan of Konya and was brought into the Ottoman Empire in 1472 by Gedik Ahmet Pasha, naval commander of Sultan Mehmet II. The 17th century traveller Evliya Çelebi records Selinti as a group of 26 villages, with a well-kept mosque on the seafront along with a jetty for boats to Cyprus, and green mountains behind.

Archaeological research continues and in 2004 a team from Florida State University found a small bronze statue of Pegasus dating back to 300 BC in the waters off Gazipaşa; it is now in the Museum of Alanya.

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