Water to come once again from Alanya Castle cisterns

Water to come once again from Alanya Castle cisterns

ANTALYA, Alanya - Anadolu Agency
Water to come once again from Alanya Castle cisterns

Halit Erdoğan, the neighborhood head, says cisterns fell out of use when tap water came to houses in the 1950s. AA photo

Already one of Turkey’s biggest tourist draws, the southern district of Alanya will soon have one more reason to attract visitors with the imminent opening of historical cisterns around the town.

“Some of the cisterns date back hundreds of years ago, and they are still in very good condition,” said Alanya Mayor Hasan Sipahioğlu. “We can make use of some of these cisterns in the Tophane and Hisariçi neighborhoods. We will also use the cisterns in the Necmettin and Pazar neighborhoods and restore them. Later on, we will open them to tourism.”

There are around 500 active and inactive cisterns in the area, of which the Necmettin Cistern is the largest, the mayor said, adding that aimed at restoring all of them. Sipahioğlu said various cultural events like exhibitions could be organized in the cistern. 

Some locals living in houses inside Alanya Castle put some of the cisterns to use by collecting water in them, he said, adding that the activity posed no health risk.

Sipahioğlu said the number of cisterns, which date back to the Hellenistic and Roman periods in Alanya, increased with new ones built during the Seljuk era.

At least one cistern in every house 

The environs and insides of Alanya Castle are home to many cisterns, said Sipahioğlu, noting that the houses around and inside the castle had been restored. 

HDN The architect responsible for the restoration, Emine Cimrin Koçak, said the cisterns were used to supply water in the past. “When there was a water shortage, the locals always used these cisterns. The cisterns were built to overcome water shortages in old times.”

“Every house in the area neighborhood has one or two cisterns at least,” she said. “We try to keep these cisterns, which are a part of the restored houses, active. I also have a cistern system in my own house. We use the rain water, which gathers in the cisterns, for our daily needs. When the water is cut off, we use this water, especially for the garden.” 

Halit Erdoğan, the neighborhood head for Tophane in Kaleiçi, said those living in the Alanya Castle in the past used cisterns for water needs, noting that they only fell out of use when tap water came to houses in the 1950s. 

“As the number of locals living in the castle decreased, cisterns were left to their fate. Not only cisterns but also many houses were left in ruins. But recently people began restoring cisterns for nostalgic purposes or possible needs. Today some 50 cisterns are active. I hope that all cisterns around the Alanya Castle will be restored and open to tourism,” he said.