At about sixty kms west of Mersin, lies the charming little holiday resort of Kızkalesi or Maiden's Castle. The striking massive Maiden's Castle, lies just 200 m offshore. Kızkalesi offers one of the finest sandy beaches along this stretch of coast. Historically, Kızkalesi was founded by settlers from the Aegean in the 4th century BC. It’s ancient name of Korykos was first mentioned in 197 BC when the Cilician coast was recaptured from the Egyptians by Antiochus III the king of Syria. After the Romans conquered Cilicia in 67 BC it became a Roman province.
In 67 AD the Roman Emperor Pompeius rescued the settlement from the ever attacking pirates and this became part of the Roman Empire. During this period it grew into a prosperous harbour city. During the Byzantine era the city's defences were strengthened with two castles. In the 13th century AD when Korykos was part of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia the two castles were extensively rebuilt. In 1482 Korykos became part of the Ottoman Empire. During this period the site became abandoned, until just some eighty years ago, when people began to settle here again, calling it Kız Kalesi meaning Maiden's Castle after the name of the sea castle.
Facing Maiden's Castle on the shore are the ruins of Korykos Castle which was linked in ancient times to the sea castle by a causeway. The castles were a link in the chain of coastal fortifications eastablished by the Byzantine admiral Eugenius in 1104 to defend and protect the borders of Byzantium. Next to Korykos Castle, across the road, lies the ancient necropolis of Korykos.