Gülek Castle

Gülek Castle, locally known as Gülek Kale, lies on a small mountain east of a village with the same name in the province of Mersin in Turkey.

The site of Gülek Castle was probably first used by the Byzantines. Archeological evidence suggests that the site had prolonged periods of Byzantine and Arab occupation.

Most of what remains today was built during the period of the Armenian Kingdom. The castle would probably have been kept in royal hands and administered by a trusted lord. On the coronation list of 1198/99 a certain Baron Smbat is mentioned as the lord of Gülek.

In the 19th century there is mention that squatters had taken up residence in the fort. For a brief period in 1838-39 Ibrahim Pasha occupied this site during his revolt from Ottoman rule. During his short occupation he may have attempted to refortify the castle.

Gülek Castle was built on a strategic location; a rather flat oblong summit of an imposing spur of the Taurus Mountains, almost 1.600 meters above sea level. At the north and northeast the natural scarpment provides a secure defense. Below these cliffs the side of the mountain briefly forms a long thin slope before an almost vertical descent to the road below. At the south and southwest, where the ascent is less severe, the fortified walls extend a barrier around the entire summit. It was used as a toll station and guardian of the road to Tarsus.

At present Gülek Castle is freely accessible. In the north western section of the castle stands a modern building used by the Turkish Forestry Service. The castle can be reached over a long winding dirt road from the nearby village. While the ruins of the castle may not be spectacular the views to the north in the direction of the Cilician Gates certainly are.


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Gülek Castle

Gülek Castle, locally known as Gülek Kale, lies on a small mountain east of a village with the same name in the province of Mersin in Turkey.

The site of Gülek Castle was probably first used by the Byzantines. Archeological evidence suggests that the site had prolonged periods of Byzantine and Arab occupation.

Most of what remains today was built during the period of the Armenian Kingdom. The castle would probably have been kept in royal hands and administered by a trusted lord. On the coronation list of 1198/99 a certain Baron Smbat is mentioned as the lord of Gülek.

In the 19th century there is mention that squatters had taken up residence in the fort. For a brief period in 1838-39 Ibrahim Pasha occupied this site during his revolt from Ottoman rule. During his short occupation he may have attempted to refortify the castle.

Gülek Castle was built on a strategic location; a rather flat oblong summit of an imposing spur of the Taurus Mountains, almost 1.600 meters above sea level. At the north and northeast the natural scarpment provides a secure defense. Below these cliffs the side of the mountain briefly forms a long thin slope before an almost vertical descent to the road below. At the south and southwest, where the ascent is less severe, the fortified walls extend a barrier around the entire summit. It was used as a toll station and guardian of the road to Tarsus.

At present Gülek Castle is freely accessible. In the north western section of the castle stands a modern building used by the Turkish Forestry Service. The castle can be reached over a long winding dirt road from the nearby village. While the ruins of the castle may not be spectacular the views to the north in the direction of the Cilician Gates certainly are.


Gallery

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://castles.nl/gulek-castle#sigFreeIdfd7986bfa8