Yılankale from north

Yılankale (also Yilan Kalesi, Turkish for " Snake Castle ", also popularly Sahmiran Kalesi after Semiramis or after Şahmaran ) is a medieval castle in the former Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and one of the best preserved castles from the Crusader period in this region. It is located at the same place Yılankale in the district of the Turkish province of Adana Ceyhan. The castle got its name because here a Turkish legend, following the Serpent King lived.


The castle was probably built by the Armenian King Leo II in the 12th to 13th centuries. Later it was used by the Crusaders. According to the legend of the legendary contortionist Meran is its builder, to which it owes also the Turkish name.


Yılankale is a typical Armenian castles spur castle on a precipitous ridge. The main castle has semicircular towers up to 15 meters in height. This type of tower is also used in other castles before in the region as Lambron and is for Armenian fortifications characteristic ( Molin 2001). In particular, the gatehouse of the inner castle of two such towers flanked. The towers are integrated into the curtain wall. A free-standing mountain Fried other hand does not exist.

The entrance to the castle is via the lowermost courtyard of the outer bailey of the southeast side to a central courtyard and on to the main gate, which is flanked by two towers with horseshoe- shaped areas. The main castle contains the ruins of a chapel and extensive cisterns. The weaker fortified bailey is located on the same ridge and ends with a round tower at its southern tip.