Alanya from A to Z

The Turkish alphabet as we know it today, doesn’t exist that long. To be precise: on 1 November 1928 the law to change the alphabet was adopted and came into effect on 1 January 1929. On this date the Arabic script was officially abolished and replaced by an alphabet based on the Latin alphabet. The Turkish alphabet constitutes 29 letters and does not contain the letters Q, X and W. It does have an additional six letters: Ç, l (= i without a dot), Ö, Ğ (soft G) Ş and Ü. Read here about Alanya from A to Z, following the Turkish alphabet.


  • Alaiye

Up to 1933, Alanya was called Alaiye. The name change was pure coincidental, as we can read in the book ‘Dünden Bugüne Alanya’ (Alanya from yesterday to today) from the respected historian Haşim Yetkin. It happened like this. The first president of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was making a boat trip on the Mediterranean on a day in 1933. He received a telegram from the city Alaiye, inviting him to visit the town. However, messages these days were communicated through Morse code and obviously a mistake was made when interpreting the letters. When a crew member read the message to Atatürk, he said Alanya instead of Alaiye.  Atatürk looked at the telegram and said: ‘In fact, that’s a good name. Let it be Alanya from now on.’ And so he spontaneously declared Alaiye to be named Alanya.

  • Also: Akdeniz

Stands in Turkish for Mediterranean Sea. Alanya lies at the shores of the Akdeniz.

  • Also: Avocado.

Did you know Alanya has a very good climate for growing Avocados? More and more land is being developed for the cultivation of this wonderful fruit.


  • Belediye

This is the Turkish word for municipality. The mayor is called Belediye Baskan. The Alanya municipality is part of the province Antalya and consists of 102 districts called mahalle. For example, Mahmutlar Mahallesi, Oba Mahallesi, Kestel Mahallesi…etc.


  • Cleopatra

Many centuries ago, queen Cleopatra of Egypt and her husband, the Roman emperor Marcus Antonius, were on their honeymoon. They spend it in what is currently Alanya. Cleopatra, as it says, instantly fell in love with the beauty of this place. For the newly-wed Marcus, this was enough reason to give Alanya as a gift to his wife. The beach to the west of Alanya is still called Cleopatra beach. It is said it was the place where Cleopatra loved to go sea bathing.


  • Çorba

Soup.  Turkey is a soup country. Everywhere you’ll find so called ‘çorba salonu’, soup restaurants, where often for very reasonable prices you can get a bowl of soup and bread. The most popular soups are Mercimek çorbası (lentil soup), Tavuk çorbası (Chicken soup), Kelepaca çorbası (sheep head/cheeks soup) and Domates çorbası (tomato soup).

In Alanya you can also find several restaurants where they serve a variety of soups.  Most of them are open from early in the morning until late at night as Turks like to eat soup for breakfast and after an evening out. In Alanya there is also a special soup known to this region:  Gülüklü çorbası  or Düğün çorbası which means Wedding Soup. It’s a traditional dish usually made for weddings and other special days. So it’s not just available everywhere.

  • Also: Çay

Tea. Turks and tea, that’s an unbreakable bond. Turks drink Turkish tea in the characteristic tulip shaped tea glasses. It doesn’t matter which time of the day it is. If you visit someone’s office or shop, it’s normal that you’re offered tea.


  • Damlataş Mağarası

The Damlataş cave. This cave was accidentally discovered in 1948 in the Damlataş area of Alanya city. It happened whilst fracturing the rocks with explosives to build a pier. Closer research revealed that this cave contained high concentrations of carbon dioxide and humidity. Together with the high temperature inside, this is very beneficial against asthma and other respiratory ailments. When the healing properties of the Damlataş cave became known, Alanya was inundated with visitors. To such an extent even, it is said, that the hotels could not cater for the masses. Tourists had to be accommodated in privately owned premises. The cave is one of the main attractions of Alanya, moreover due to the large selection of stalactites and stalagmites.

  • Also: Dimçay

The Dimçay is a river flowing from deep inside the Toros Mountains to the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a popular attraction in Alanya because alongside the last part of the river, you’ll find many restaurants where you can eat and swim. Many are open all year round, but they’re especially popular during the hot summer months. The water of the Dim river is refreshingly cold and the surrounding mountains offer protection from the heat of the sun. A perfect place to spend your day!


  • Emlak

Real Estate agency. It’s a dream of many: living by the sea in a sunny place. So, it’s no wonder that Alanya – that offers even much more than only that – is very popular with (foreign) investors. In recent years many people from different countries purchased a (second) home in Alanya. And also today Alanya is one of the most popular places in Turkey for foreigners to invest in property.

And that shows in the number of real estate agencies you find in the area. They’re called Emlak in Turkish and the real estate agent is an emlakçı. Know that official real estate agents have a license. So if you’re thinking about purchasing property in Alanya or anywhere in Turkey, do yourself a favor and hire a professional. Read here why that’s recommended.


  • Futbol

Football. Alanya’s best known football club is called Alanya Spor which was founded in 1948 as Alanya Kalespor. The name was changed to Alanyaspor in 1982 when also the official colors became green and orange.  Alanyaspor is playing in the Süper Lig, Turkey’s highest national football league.


  • Güneş

The sun! In abundance here on the Mediterranean coast.


  • Yumuşak G

Soft G. Turkish words never begin with this letter. The letter ğ can only appears after the letters a, e, u, u, o, o, i, t.


  • Hastane

Hospital. Alanya has many hospitals, private and public. Tourists mostly go to the private hospitals, özel hastane. The hotels generally call upon the services of private hospitals in case of medical care. The public hospital is called devlet hastane. The medical treatment is similar to other European countries. The emergency number is Turkey is 112.


  •  İskele

Alanya İskele stands for Alanya’s famous dock area. It’s the area surrounding the bay in the heart of the town, on the east side of the peninsula. It’s a well-known place for strolling around or go on a boat trip.


  • Ihlamur çayı

Linden tea. One of the most used herbal tea types in Alanya. It’s made from brewing the flowers and leaves of the linden tree. You can buy ready tea bags in the shop, but at the weekly markets or green grocer you can find dried ıhlamur leaves.  Ihlamur çayı is linked to benefits like reducing flu symptoms, anxiety and stress, muscle spasms and inflammation.  


  • Jandarma

The Jandarma in Turkey is a military force with duties to enhance the law and maintain public order. Where the ‘polis’ is responsible for these tasks in cities and other special areas, the jandarma is active in more remote and rural areas. The Jandarma stations are called ‘Karakol’.


  • Kızıl Kule

Red Tower: the symbol of Alanya at the harbor. It is a master piece stemming from Seljuk architecture. From the outside is looks like an ordinary tower, but the inside reveals a sophisticated structure. The Kızıl Kule possesses 8 bends and was built in 1226 by order of the Seljuk king Alaaddin Keykubat (Also K). The tower is built on rocks and has a diameter of 29 meters and stands 33 meter tall. It was restored between 1951 and 1953. The red tower is now used as a museum and is open to the public.

  • Also: Kale

Castle. Another important symbol of Alanya. Seen from afar on top of the peninsula, the castle of Alanya. It’s is another magnificent structure that reminds of the rich historical past of this seaside town.


  • Lokum

Meaning Turkish fruit! Soft gum-like candy, mainly consisting of gelatin, sugar, fruit and often nuts. Lokum originates from the 17th century, when a spoiled sultan was fed-up eating tough sweets and breaking his teeth. He ordered his subordinates to bring him alternatives. One of his principal bakers mixed various ingredients and concocted the soft Lokum. And yes, the sultan loved it!


  • Müze

Museum. Alanya has several Museums among which the Atatürk House and the Alanya archeological Museum.  


  • Nazar Boncuğu

The name relates to the blue eye that you will come across everywhere in Turkey and therefore also in Alanya. You will see them in shops, vehicles and residences. Frequently, mothers will pin an eye on the clothes of their infants. The Turks believe that the blue stone protects against the angry eye. Some individuals – mostly unaware – possess an angry eye causing misfortune to those they meet. Nazar Boncuğu absorbs the evil of the angry eye and protects against bad luck.


  • Oğlu

A large proportion of surnames end with –oðlu. It means ‘son of’. Only since 1934 do the Turks have surnames. Most individuals didn’t know any better than to think of the ‘son of Mehmet’: Mehmetoðlu. Just observe the large numbers of shops with names terminating with –oðlu.


  • Öküz Helvası

Another traditional food from Alanya: öküz helvası. Translated Orphan helva. Helva is a Turkish dessert made from mainly flour and sugar. But when there was not enough money for sugar, Alanya families made it adding pekmez (molasses) which gives the dessert a brown instead of white color.


  • Portakal

Orange. You can see them everywhere in and around Alanya: orange trees. Oranges grow perfect in this Mediterranean climate. They are usually picked between October and May, so fresh oranges are available almost all year round.


  • Ramazan

Ramadan. This is the Islamic fasting month and in Turkey an important happening as well. During this month, Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. According to the Islamic calendar, the Ramazan starts 10 days earlier every year than the year before. Because Alanya is a touristic area, it is quite acceptable that as a foreigner to eat during the times Muslims are fasting. However, do display some courtesy whilst you are here during this period.


  • Satılık

A common sight. It means For Sale. Kiralık means To Let.

  • Also: Sapadere

Sapadere Kanyon is one of the most popular attractions in Alanya, hidden in the Toros mountains. In 2008 a wooden walking bridge was constructed inside a beautiful canyon through which a river runs. The bridge is approximately 530 meters long and you walk literally alongside and above the river, surrounded by massive mountains. Recommended.


  • Şehir

City. Alanya is a city and district of the province (İl) Antalya. As Alanya has been developing rapidly the past decade,  the city’s ambition is to become an ‘il’ (province) by itself in the (near) future.   


  • Türkiye Cumhuriyet

The official name for Turkey: The Republic of Turkey


  • Ücretsiz

This is a good one to remember: it means For free.


  • Vergi

Tax. As a tourist you will mostly come along KDV (Katma Değer Vergisi) which is the value-added tax (VAT). It’s 8% or 18%, depending on the product. If you see a note that says KDV dahil, it means that tax is already included. KDV hariç means the opposite.

When you’re buying a home in Turkey, you also need a Tax number, a Vergi numarası. You can easily get one at the tax office (Vergi dairesi) in Alanya.


  • Yağli Güreş

Oil Wrestling. One of the traditional sports in Turkey is oil-wrestling. Men wear tight leather trunks and cover their bodies in olive oil. They then compete until their opponent is floored on their back. Most oil wrestling competitions take place during the summer months. In Alanya the yearly yağlı güreş contest is held in Gökbel Yayla, a mountain village at approximately one and a half hour drive from Alanya.  

  • Also: Yayla

Mountain plateau. The plateaus of the Taurus Mountains are where the locals go to escape the heat in the city. High in the mountains, between the hills, the temperature is easily 10 degrees cooler than below and the air is rather fresher. Many local Alanyians have a house in one of the many yayla’s. Usually nothing fancy, but comfortable and surrounded by nature.


  • Zabıta

Zabıta is the municipal police. They work for the municipality and maintain the order in public places, check restaurants and shops etc. Zabıta can issue fines for example for violation of opening hours, domestic disturbance, parking at the wrong place, littering etc.

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