Savranda Castle

Savranda Castle

Savranda Castle, locally known as Savranda Kalesi, lies on a mountain south of the village of Kalecik, in the province of Osmaniye in Turkey. Historically, the castle was also known as Sarvandikar/Servantikar or Savuran.

Savranda Castle was most probably built in the 11th century to control the Amanian Gates; a mountain pass through the Nur Mountains, which were historically known as the Amanus Mountains. This mountain range during history was often a natural border between the region of Cilicia in what is now Turkey and Syria. The castle was first mentioned in 1069 when it was most probably garrisoned by Byzantine soldiers.

During the First Crusade (1096-1099) the castle came into the hands of the Crusaders. In 1101-02, Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse, was imprisoned here by Tancred, Prince of Galilee and regent of Antioch. In 1135 the Armenian baron Levon I, member of the Rubenid family, took the castle from its Frankish lord, the Count of Maraş. A year later, Levon himself was captured by the Franks and was released only after paying a substantial ransom, which included Savranda.

Sometime between 1172 and 1175 the castle again fell into the hands of the Armenians. It was again returned to the Prince of Antioch in 1185 as part of yet another substantial ransom, this time to free the son of Levon I; Ruben III, Prince of Armenia.

In the 1190s Savranda Castle came into the hands of an Armenian baron Smbat, a member of the Hethumid family. His descendants firmly held the castle until the late 13th century. The castle was considerably damaged during an earthquake in April 1269.

Savranda was temporarily taken and occupied by Mamluk soldiers in 1298. They returned in 1337 and captured it again, permanently ending Armenian ownership. After that, the castle disappears from the historical records.

The castle occupies an entire precipice of an ascending outcrop of limestone with its walls, fortified with several towers, following the outline of the outcrop above sometimes vertical cliffs. Beneath the outcrop is a canyon of the Akçasu Stream. Originally there was a medieval village below the castle but this disappeared during the realization of the Kalecik Reservoir and Dam around 1980.

Savranda Castle is freely accessible. It is just a short walk over a forest path to the entrance. The interior of the castle however is very overgrown and forested. So finding your way around inside can be difficult. And not without risk either because there are some collapsed vaulted spaces and cisterns, so be careful. But a visit is definitely recommended, a great castle.


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Savranda Castle

Savranda Castle

Savranda Castle, locally known as Savranda Kalesi, lies on a mountain south of the village of Kalecik, in the province of Osmaniye in Turkey. Historically, the castle was also known as Sarvandikar/Servantikar or Savuran.

Savranda Castle was most probably built in the 11th century to control the Amanian Gates; a mountain pass through the Nur Mountains, which were historically known as the Amanus Mountains. This mountain range during history was often a natural border between the region of Cilicia in what is now Turkey and Syria. The castle was first mentioned in 1069 when it was most probably garrisoned by Byzantine soldiers.

During the First Crusade (1096-1099) the castle came into the hands of the Crusaders. In 1101-02, Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse, was imprisoned here by Tancred, Prince of Galilee and regent of Antioch. In 1135 the Armenian baron Levon I, member of the Rubenid family, took the castle from its Frankish lord, the Count of Maraş. A year later, Levon himself was captured by the Franks and was released only after paying a substantial ransom, which included Savranda.

Sometime between 1172 and 1175 the castle again fell into the hands of the Armenians. It was again returned to the Prince of Antioch in 1185 as part of yet another substantial ransom, this time to free the son of Levon I; Ruben III, Prince of Armenia.

In the 1190s Savranda Castle came into the hands of an Armenian baron Smbat, a member of the Hethumid family. His descendants firmly held the castle until the late 13th century. The castle was considerably damaged during an earthquake in April 1269.

Savranda was temporarily taken and occupied by Mamluk soldiers in 1298. They returned in 1337 and captured it again, permanently ending Armenian ownership. After that, the castle disappears from the historical records.

The castle occupies an entire precipice of an ascending outcrop of limestone with its walls, fortified with several towers, following the outline of the outcrop above sometimes vertical cliffs. Beneath the outcrop is a canyon of the Akçasu Stream. Originally there was a medieval village below the castle but this disappeared during the realization of the Kalecik Reservoir and Dam around 1980.

Savranda Castle is freely accessible. It is just a short walk over a forest path to the entrance. The interior of the castle however is very overgrown and forested. So finding your way around inside can be difficult. And not without risk either because there are some collapsed vaulted spaces and cisterns, so be careful. But a visit is definitely recommended, a great castle.


Gallery