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Red Tower Ethnography Museum

Red Tower Ethnograph Museum

The Red Tower is both a peerless work of Seljuk architecture and a building that has come to symbolize the modem city of Alanya. The tower is a defensive and surveillance structure built to protect the commercial activities of the Seljuk harbor and to guard against attacks directed against the castle from the landward approach.

The tower was built in the year 1226, when the Seljuk Sultan Ala'addin Keykubad commissioned it from the architect Abu Ali of Aleppo, in present-day Syria. The architect's name is recorded in the inscription on the north facade of the tower. On the south facade a second inscription is dedicated to Ala'addin Keykubad, exalting and praising him as "ruler of the nations, the sultan of all the sultans of the world, guardian of justice, the sovereign of the land and the two seas [the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea], and the helper of Muslims." The tower is 29 meters in diameter and 33 meters tall. It is constructed of stone and brick on an octagonal plan. Despite its rather plain external appearance, the interior plan is quite complex. Each floor of the five-story tower has a distinct floor plan. The massive octagonal pier that runs through the center of the building and forms its principle load-bearing element is hollowed out at the level of the first floor to create a cistern, thus ensuring a water supply. Each floor of the tower features openings designed for a defensive purpose, including slanted loopholes that open to the outside to allow for observation and shielded apertures. The ground floor and first floor are organized into vaulted corridors that open onto vaulted antechambers. Above the first floor is a gallery consisting of small rooms that open onto a narrow corridor with a low ceiling running the full circumference of the tower. The second, third, and fourth floors of the tower are constructed as open terraces.

The second floor, located just above the gallery, contains an open courtyard surrounded by sixteen large vaulted rooms - two along each of the eight sides of the octagonal structure. The third floor is similarly arranged around a central terrace, but this time with three smaller rooms situated along each of the eight sides of the tower. The fourth floor features defensive crenellations formed from alternating shields and apertures, accessible via a walkway that allows one to circumnavigate the tower .This monumental work of military architecture was restored between 1951-53 and is presently used to house a museum display on the art and architecture of the Seljuk period.

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