Great for: Ruins, Ancient Temples, Mountain Views, Finding the Dragon Smaug
Even if it weren’t for the ruins and history, this dramatic spire set among the fields would be worthy of a few pictures. However, this being Turkey, no beautiful place or strange hill is complete without a temple, castle, or few altars.
Kalehisar, meaning “castle fort”, refers to the small triangular mountain while Behramşah (Beh-ram-shah) is the name of the ruined complex just a few hundred metres from the base of the mountain. The few sources of information that we’ve found regarding this place have been extremely limited and sometimes even conflicting.
What is sure is that, at the top of the mountain, is a set of stairs carved into the natural rock and the remains of an altar. Some sources say that this altar was made by the Hittites, others by the Phrygians. There are other ruined structures on the slopes of the mountains left by the Romans, Byzantines, and Seljuks.
The largest ruins are those of the Seljuk Behramşah complex, lying a few hundred metres from the mountain. The complex is made up of a madrasah (which is a type of religious school), a caravanserai, and a türbe (a tomb to an Islamic saint). Note that I can’t verify how accurate this list is as the sources I’ve found have not been academic or shown their sources. The türbe seems highly likely considering the dilapidated headstones surrounding a small ruined structure (traditionally people would be buried near other great people, especially saints). It is possible that the list should actually include a madrasah OR a caravanserai as there is only one building that is large enough and has the traditional layout for either of these structures.
The roof of the large ruin is actually in worse shape than it looks. While there are large obvious holes where the masonry has collapsed there are also a number of small ones that are hidden by the grass that grows thick on the rocks.
Whatever these ruins may be, this is a pretty spectacular spot!
How To Get There
Unfortunately Google Maps is pretty terrible in this area. I’d recommend using it to get your bearings then follow signs until you see the mountain itself. For this reason I’d recommend taking the main road to Mahmudiye then turning south rather than going north from Alacahöyük which is also possible, though, if your navigation isn’t working properly, you may go a long ways before finding out you’re going the wrong way.
From the city of Çorum head south-east along the D795 (which will become the D785; more popularly known as the Çorum-Kırıkkale road or just the road to Ankara) for about 35 kms then turn left towards the villages of Kalehisar and Mahmudiye. After driving past Kalehisar you will see the jagged peak of the Kalehisar mountain on the right side of the road. Keep on driving until arriving in Mahmudiye where you will take a right turn down a terrible little path/road that will help you get your money’s worth from that extra damage insurance you bought for the rental. This road will take you all the way to the ruins and the mountain.
If you want to continue on down this lane to Alacahöyük that should be possible. Taking the right side at the fork will bring you there directly and the left lane will bring you to another village on a main road, then to Alacahöyük.
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Kalehisar and Behramşah are a part of the Hittite Trail network of trails that wind their way through southern Çorum.
Where To Stay
As this is a part of the Hittite Trail you could totally consider camping right by the mountain and complex. Otherwise the village of Alacahöyük has some limited accommodation as does the town of Alaca itself. If it’s hotels you’re looking for you basically need to look in Çorum where there is an excellent range from the cheap (we stayed here, it was too cheap) to some four-star hotels.
Don’t fall through the holes in the roof!
Planning on seeing The Behramshah and Kalehisar Ruins? Make sure to check out what other sights are in the area!
Have any tips or info to add? Spot any mistakes? We’d love to hear about it.