This article has been previously published as a part of book Around Ephesus and Kusadasi: TAN Travel Guide by Izabela Miszczak
Kızılhisar Castle (Red Fortress), also known as Keçi Kalesi or Goat Castle, is situated on Alamandağ Hill, in ancient times known as Gallesion. This hill stands in the vicinity of the town Belevi near Selçuk and is clearly visible from the İzmir-Aydın highway.
The name of Goat Castle is explained by two contradictory legends. According to the first of them the ruler living in a fortress went for a few days, along with most of his troops. During his absence, the enemy troops approached the castle and were waiting for dusk to launch the assault. To confuse the enemy, the defenders fastened candles to the heads of goats that were found inside the fortress. In conjunction with goat horns that looked like helmets, they managed to achieve the effect of thousands of soldiers waiting on the walls to repel the attack. Because of this mystification, the enemy troops retreated without a fight and the castle was saved.
The second version of the legend of the Goat Castle tells the story of the siege of the fortress from the point of view of the attackers. They waited until dusk, then fastened candles to the goats (here, the story is similar) and rushed the animals towards the fortress. Its defenders, confused by the view of the goats that they confused with an attacking army, decided to surrender the castle without bloodshed.
Available information on the history of the castle is quite sparse and often contradictory. The suggested dates for the castle's construction vary from the 3rd century BC to the 14th century AD. Its erection is attributed to the Hellenistic rulers, the Byzantine Empire, and the Seljuk Turks.
Most likely the castle was built in the 3rd century BC and then rebuilt and renovated several times. The castle could serve as a point of defence for the nearby city of Ephesus, as it was located near the road leading to this famous city.
The fortress consists of two lines of fortifications, built of limestone. The inner fortress has dimensions of 56 to 23 meters. Within the fortress and in its vicinity there are cisterns. They were used to store drinking water for the duration of the siege.
Kızılhisar Castle is located on a hill to the west of the village Belevi, just off the Izmir-Aydin highway. After leaving the highway drive about 3.5 km along D550 route in the direction of Selçuk. The further route leads across the countryside to the north. To get to the top of the hill, it is necessary to walk about 1.5 km. The castle you be reached on foot, by climbing to a height of 300 meters above sea level on a narrow path, which resembles the goat trail.