March 4, 2009

Kızkalesi - Maiden's Castle
Mersin, Turkey

I'm traveling without a guidebook these days, generally adopting lifestyles of my hosts and absorbing knowledge about the country by conversing with them. I read encyclopedia or Wikipedia articles on the cities that I'm in to help give the ambiguous population clusters some definition, but for the most part I'm learning and discovering independently without external direction or guidance (such things often take the form of conversations with travelers or subjective guidebook blurbs, both of which I've generally been without for a long time now).

Sometimes a little research on a place reveals a tourist attraction of interest, such as the castle that I went out of my way to visit today.

Kızkalesi (Maiden's Castle) is a castle lying some 200 meters offshore, founded by settlers from the Aegean in the fourth century BC.

According to legend, fortunetellers told the king of the time that his daughter would be poisoned by a snake. Out of great concern, the king had his servants construct a castle on the island opposite the city.

The princess lived an isolated life on the castle only to be ultimately killed by a snake that had stowed away inside of a grape basket sent over to the castle, brining her fortune of doom to fruition.

I made the effort to go down to Kızkalesi, but it certainly wasn't worth the time and money spent: A total of 12.50 lira ($7) and three hours of riding in minibuses for just 30 minutes in an empty summer hotel village and a view of a castle from a cold beach that was much smaller than expected.

Visiting off-season Kızkalesi should've definitely been a pass. …Sure looks pretty in the photos though.

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