Perched high in the mountains above the road from Karaman to Mut, the Alahan Monastery is one of the great unsung treasures of Turkey.
As you follow the winding road that leads up to it, it plays now-you-see-me, now-you-don’t tricks with you in much the same way as the better known Sümela Monastery near Trabzon. The difference is that whereas Sümela, when you finally reach it, is always awash with visitors, chances are that you’ll have Alahan completely to yourself.
This remarkable site that clings like a limpet to the walls of the mountains is more of a mystery than its name suggests since there’s no absolute certainty that it actually was a monastery; indeed the sign off the road just calls it a church. Instead some archeologists prefer to speculate that it was a pilgrimage site, a theory which seems to fit better with what you’ll see when you finally arrive hot and sweaty at the steps leading up to the site and see what looks like a grand ceremonial way running from one end of it to the other.
The Back Road From Konya To Silifke
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