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Silifke is the Turkish version of Cilicia. This country town, dominated by a Byzantine castle, lies on the banks of the Göksu River, crossed by a Roman bridge, which provided access to the interior – and to the afterlife: the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa drowned in it while on the Third Crusade. In the museum is a vast hoard of coins dating from Alexander the Great. Seleucus I Nicator, his general who created the Seleucid Empire, founded the town. Nearby Olba (Uzuncanurç), centred on a Temple of Zeus, dates from Hittite times, and there are a number of other ancient ruins in the area.
The Caves of Heaven and Hell are the most notable of the many hollows and caverns in this limestone coast.
The Göksu Delta is an important breeding area for birds, and among the ruins of Alahan, on a mountain ridge above the river, botanist Martyn Rix discovered the spectacular Smyrnium connatum (Cornucopia 29).
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