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In just a few short decades, Alanya has mushroomed from a sparsely populated town fronting a fine stretch of sandy beach to a densely populated tourist haven for predominantly Dutch and Scandinavian visitors. At night, the downtown area can resemble 'Vegas by the Sea', and aside from taking a boat cruise or a stroll along the waterfront, many visitors shuffle only between their hotel's pool and all-inclusive buffet restaurant, and then frequent the laser-shooting nightclubs after dark.
Look up from the bars and tattoo parlours for a minute, however, and you'll find Alanya does have its hidden charms. Looming high above the promontory, to the south of the modern centre, is an impressive fortress complex with the remains of a fine Seljuk castle, some atmospheric ruins, and a sprinkling of traditional red-tile roofed houses rimming the alleyways that climb up the hillside. Alanya is a tale of two cities if ever we saw it.