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Adana Province, Turkey
The Snake Castle
Yılankale is located in Turkey
Location of Yılankale within Turkey
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Site information
Open to
the public
Condition Ruins
Site history
Built 13th century
Built by Leo (Levon) I[2][3] of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia

Yılankale (Turkish for "Snake Castle")[4][5] is a late 12th[6]–13th century[7] Armenian[3][8][9] castle in Adana Province of Turkey. It is known in Armenian as Levonkla[10] (Լևոնկլա[2] "Levon's fortress") after its founder—King Leo (Levon) I the Magnificent[3][2] (r. 1198/9-1219) of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.

It is located on a rocky hill overlooking the east bank of the Ceyhan River,[5] six kilometers west of the town of Ceyhan.[11] It is almost entirely built of well coursed squared, probably limestone, blocks.[11]

The castle contains a chapel.[3] It is half-ruined with only two walls standing.[11]

According to information on the Çukurova University website, the castle was abandoned during the reign of the Ramadanids in the mid-14th century.[12]

It has been described as the "most perfectly preserved Armenian castle" of the Çukurova (Cilicia) region.[3] The castle is open to the public[1] and was renovated in summer of 2014.[13]

See also

Comparable castles include:


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Rough Guide to Turkey. London: Rough Guides. 2003. p. 587. Beyond here you'll see an Armenian castle on top of a mountain, 3km to the south of the main road – the Yılan Kalesi, or “Snake Castle” (always open; &0.50).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Sarkissian, H. G. (1990). "Միքայել Վ. Հովհաննեսյան, Հայկական Կիլիկիո բերդերն ու բերդաքաղաքները [Mikael V. Hovhannisian, Fortress, city-fortress of Cilicia Armenia]". Lraber Hasarakakan Gitutyunneri (in Armenian). Yerevan: Armenian National Academy of Sciences (11): 92–93. ...Լևոն Մեծագործի Լևոնկլա դղյակը...CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Edwards, Robert W. (1982). "Ecclesiastical Architecture in the Fortifications of Armenian Cilicia". Dumbarton Oaks Papers. Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University. 36: 170–171. doi:10.2307/1291466. On the plain of Cilicia between the cities of Adana and Ceyhan stands the most perfectly preserved Armenian castle, Yilan. Because a relief on the gatehouse of the castle has been associated with King Levon I, the site may date from the period of his reign (1 198/99-1219). However, this identification is far from certain, since the relief is badly damaged.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Yale, Pat. "10 things to see in and around Adana". Today's Zaman. Archived from the original on 27 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Other historical regions". kultur.gov.tr. Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Archived from the original on 27 October 2014. Yılan Kalesi (Snake Castle): It is located on a hill and champaign between Misis and Ceyhan. The castle, positioned on historical invasion and commerce road which connects Adana, Misis, Payas and Antalya through Gülek Straight, is the first chain of mountain castle chains.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Pillement, Georges (1974). Unknown Turkey: Anatolia, Cappadocia, the eastern frontiers. Barbara Whelpton (translator). Johnson Publishing. p. 179. ...a medieval fortress, YILAN KALESI, probably built in the reign of Leon II, king of Little Armenia, towards the end of the 12th century near the right bank of the Ceyhan.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Phillips, Jonathan (1995). "The Latin East, 1098-1291". In Riley-Smith, Jonathan (ed.). The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades. Oxford University Press. p. 136. ISBN 9780198204350. YILAN KALE (Castle of the Snakes). A huge thirteenth-century fortress standing high above the Pyramus river and overlooking the plain of Adana. The castle was a key stronghold for the Armenian rulers who controlled this region, and the remaining structure probably dates from the first half of the thirteenth century.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Boase, T. S. R. (1978). The Cilician Kingdom of Armenia. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press. p. 185. ISBN 9780707301457.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Permanent Delegation of Turkey to UNESCO (15 April 2014). "Ancient City of Korykos". whc.unesco.org. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Individual Armenian Castles found in the area of Adana, “Yilan Kale” and “Toprakkale, are the most outstanding ones.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Adalian, Rouben Paul (2010). Historical Dictionary of Armenia. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-8108-7450-3. ...Levonkla or Yilankale...<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Youngs, G. R. (1965). "Three Cilician Castles". Anatolian Studies. British Institute at Ankara. 15: 125–134. doi:10.2307/3642505.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Yılankale (Kovara, Govara) "Snake Castle"". Çukurova University. Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Yilan Kale Gezi̇si̇". adanakultur.gov.tr (in Türkçe). Adana Provincial Culture and Tourism Directorate. 7 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links