Ayasuluk Castle

By the Editors of the Madain Project

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The Ayasuluk Castle, locally known as Ayasuluk Kalesi or Selçuk Kalesi, lies on a hill in the town of Selçuk, in the province of Izmir in Turkey. It is situated just a mile from the site of the ancient Greek city of Ephesus.


The citadel is located on the highest point of the Ayasuluk Hill, to the north of the Church of Saint John. The fortress of Selçuk bears a long and very active history. The walls seen today belong to the Seljuk and Ottoman periods. As with the outer fortifications the citadel walls were built with rubble stone and are strengthened with fifteen towers. The citadel of Selçuk has two major gates, one on the eastern side and the other on the western flank. The citadel enclosed several important structures including a royal palace, water-cisterns, a small mosque and residential houses for notable people.

The castle was built during the Byzantine era (circa 6th century CE), however the current fortifications vear traces of Aydinid and Ottoman Imperial era reconstructions as well. Thecity walls of the inner castle made ofrubble stones, and brick are


The rocky platform on which the structure of the citadel is situated forms the upper most part of the Ayasuluk Hill. Some of the building remains can still be seen, like Turkish-era baths, vaulted cistern and a mosque. The palace of Isa Bey was discovered during the 2009 excavations. Vaulted cistern was originally the apsidal part of the Byzantine-era basilica but was converted to a cistern by adding a column, two arches and building a vaulted roof.

Notable Structures


Castle Mosque
The "castle mosque" (Kale Camii) is located near the center of the citadel. The small mosque contains one minaret and one dome.


Basilica Cistern
The "basilica cistern" (bazilika sarnıc) was a water reservoir with itsupper section covered with a vaulted ceiling. The structure, which wasturned in to a cistern during the Ottoman/Turkish period, was originally a Byzantine era (circa 5th century CE) Christian-basilica. It is the oldest structure to have built on the Ayasuluk Hill.


Western Gate and Cisterns
The Western Gate and Cisterns (Batı Kapısı ve Sarnıçlar) date back to the Ottoman era. There are five vaulted cisterns and have been partly excavated.



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