Anamur is a city of many faces. The least attractive of these is the one facing the bus station, so don’t be discouraged when you arrive; this is the city center, heavy on dust and concrete. Most visitors stay near the prettier beaches at the Iskele (dock), Anamur’s tourist district. A laid-back town of 60,000, Anamur is isolated enough that it hasn’t been exposed as heavily to the tourist debauchery that has hit coast further west. For the most part, it’s still a popular vacation spot for Turk¬ish families, and pleasant pensions, uncrowded beaches, and a vigorous nightlife make a stay here relaxing and enjoyable. The nearby ruins of ancient mid the well-preserved Mamure Kale offer more than just a day at the beach.
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Buses: The otogar is about 1km downhill from the main square, easily identifiable thanks to an Atatürk statue. Buses travel to: Adana (6hr.; 10:30am, 4:30pm; $6); Alanya (3hr., 8 per day 9am-midnight, $5); Ankara (10hr., 8 per day 7am-llpm, $14); Antalya (5hr., 8 per day 9am-midnight, $8); İstanbul (16hr.; 2:30, 5pm; $15); İzmir (13hr., 3pm, $14); Konya (6hr., 8 per day 7am-11pm, $12); Mersin (5hr„ 6 per day noon-midnight, $6); Side (4hr., 8 per day 9am-midnight, $6); Taşucu (3hr., 9 per day noon-midnight, $5). Dolmuş run from behind the otogar to the town center (şehir merkezi; $.40) and İskele (every 20min. 7am-lam, $.65), contrary to claims of taxi drivers, who charge $7.
Ferries: Two winters ago, Fergiin Maritime began operating ferries to Northern Cyprus from the Anamur İskele.
- Tourist Office: (814 35 29), on 2nd fl. of the otogar. Provides free maps, directions, and a list of accommodations, but you may be hard-pressed to find an English-speaker. Open M-F 8am-noon and 1-5pm.
- Banks: Several near the main square. Akbank, on the road to Atatürk’s left, has a Cir- rus/MC/Plus/V ATM and cashes traveler’s checks without commission. Open M-F 9am-12:30pm and 1:30-5:30pm. On the İskele side of town, a 4-language Cirrus/MC/ Plus/V ATM is next to the Fergün booth.
- Pharmacies: Near the main square.
- Hospital: 814 10 86.
- Internet Access: Idea Internet Cafe, on 2nd fl. of an apartment building, down the road from the main square, walking with Akbank on your right. $1 per hr. Open daily Sam- midnight. Number 1 Internet Cafe, behind Eser Pansiyon on the İskele side of town. $1 per hr. Open daily 10am-1am.
- PTT: (814 10 01), a block downhill and on the right. Offers phone coins, telegraph, and fax, but no money exchange. Open daily 7am-11pm.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND FOOD
Anamur’s İskele area has more than a dozen pensions with similar facilities (private showers, balconies, breakfast) and fixed prices that are rarely obeyed to the letter (singles $8; doubles $10; triples $12; breakfast $1.60). The best is Eser Pansiyon . Run by two retired, English-speaking schoolteachers and their charismatic son, Tayfun, the pension has 11 charming rooms, Internet access for $2.50 per hr., a beautiful garden, and a shaded rooftop terrace. (814 23 22. Breakfast included. Singles $6; doubles $10; triples $14.) Another option is Hotel Bella Roma , down the street. Its 18 rooms (four with A/C) are equipped with private bath and balconies. (»816 47 51. $8 per person. Breakfast $2. A/C $2.) For greater indulgence, try Hotel Dolphlne , 17 İnönü Cad., which offers modern rooms with A/C, TV, shower, minibar, and phone. (814 34 35; fax 814 15 17. Breakfast included. Singles $10; doubles $15; triples $20.)
Pulla Camping (827 11 51), about 1km from Mamure and accessible by the Mamure dolmuş, sits atop a gorgeous sandy beach. With electricity, toilets, hot showers, and a restaurant, this isn’t exactly roughing it. Bring your own tent and stash up to four people for $4.
Restaurants and street food vendors line Iskele’s main drag, İnönü Cad. It’s easy to find good gözleme ($.70). Try the cheap, tasty food at Turtle’s Pizza, including excellent kumpir (baked potato stuffed with a Russian salad and peas; $2).
ANEMURIUM. Nineteenth-century travelers stumbled upon the ruins of Anemurium 1200 years after Arab raids forced out the city’s inhabitants. The city reached its height during the early Roman period, 500 to 600 years after its founding in the 4th century BC. It became an episcopal see (an area under the authority of a bishop) during the Byzantine period and existed in relative wealth and peace until a massive 6th-century earthquake. Arab raids pilfered the town just decades later.
The steep Cilician Mountains run behind the city and a climb to the ridge, following the Roman wall uphill, affords a spectacular view of the ruins of Anemurium on one side and the sea cliffs on the other. A fabulous pebbled beach with bamboo umbrellas lies downhill from the city. The ruins include Roman aqueducts, city walls, baths, a gymnasium, an odeon, an amphitheater and several churches. The renowned necropolis, Asia Minor’s most impressive city of the dead, bursts with 350 tombs carved from gray limestone blocks. Most feature a sarcophagus room and a frescoed antechamber that served as a chapel. Some colored mosaics survive in the nearby Necropolis Temple. Most of the city’s houses are still being excavated from under the sand dunes, which until recently concealed the remains of a giant oil lamp factory. Some 700 terra-cotta oil lamps were unearthed all in one lot, indicating that they were about to be shipped elsewhere.
The drive from Anamur to Anemurium, along the base of the Cilician Mountains, passes through hillsides crammed with hundreds of glass greenhouses, home to the city’s famous banana trees. The shores behind the ruins hide some of Anamur’s most beauteous beaches. If you’re looking for near-isolation and don’t mind a 1km trek to the beach, you can take a taxi directly from the otogar to the ruins ($14). Alper Pansiyon offers spacious rooms in a family home. Use of the tidy bathroom, kitchen, and terrace is free. Call ahead. (835 11 13. Breakfast $2.50. One double room and two quads. $5 per person.) Continuing down the road to the rains, you will pass Dutalti Alle Restaurant ( 835 10 28) which serves up tasty local favorites in a shady spot, with views of the ruins in the distance. (Most dolmuş stop at the turn-off fora 2km hike to the ruins, but one company goes aim the way there at 11am and 4pm. Some İskele hotels and pensions, Eser and Doiphine among them, occasionally organize fishing boat excursions to Anemurium. Taxis run for $17 round-trip, but try bargaining. Site open daily 8am-8pm. $2.50. Wear long pants if you plan to hike to the ridge-the path is lined with thorns.)
MAMURE KALE. Dramatically jutting out into the sea, this kale is one of Anatolia’s most impressive castles. A nearby stream feeds the 10m wide moat encircling the structure and leading to the sea. While there are no sea monsters, those who fall in will have to ward off hordes of little turtles. Today, the remains are a veritable playground for all ages navigate labyrinthine, wildflower choked rooms, clamber up spiral staircases, and peer through narrow windows at the sea. Come nightfall, Mamure’s lights twinkle. (Dolmuş ($.30) run at least every 30min. from both the city center and the iskele area. You can also walk along the shore to the castle, though that involves swimming across a small creek. Open daily 8am-8pm. $2.50, students $1.50.)
When the sun goes down, İnönü Cad. comes to life. Music blasts, lanterns and (rings of lights illuminate the streets to near-daylight brightness, car traffic reuses, and the sidewalks overflow with food vendors, souvenir hawkers, and pedestrians looking to enjoy a cool evening. The Zeyno Bar has iskele’s best live music (folk and pop), drawing a large, lively crowd. (Beer $1.70.) Marking the east end of the İnönü Cad. strip, Kutlay Bar gets its crowd dancing every night despite die heat. On the bottom floor of an art deco apartment building, the Yakamoz Har features dancing, a good selection of Turkish pop, live music, and a young crowd. (Beer $1.80, but beware the nuts you’ll get charged for them.)
The red castle 1km outside of İskele, on the road from Anamur proper, is the Apollo. Its walls enclose an open-air dance floor, animated by a first-rate selection of Western and Turkish pop and a dazzling light display. This slick, spacious club has extensive seating areas and an excellent bar. (Beer $2.40; rakı $3. Cover $6, includes one drink. Open daily 10pm-4am.)