Many castles and towers dated to the middle ages decorate the Coruh Valley. Strabon says: “…since there are many places well irrigated and covered with forests and deep carved valleys and gorges, Paryadros Mountain chain makes the contruction of big castles easy…”
Bahceli Castle is one of the best preserved castle of Coruh Valley. The castle is situated at the 10th kilometer of the Yusufeli-Ogdem road. The Barhal River passes east of the castle. At an altitude of 700 m., the castle is built on a hill of 60 m. The only opening into the castle is located in the south, however it is extremely difficult to climb. The castle will be partially affected by the construction of the Yusufeli Dam.
Located in the village of Cevreli, at distance of 19 km, in the south-east of Yusufeli, Cevreli Castle has well reserved walls except its eastern side. Like others around, the castle is seated atop a hill at an altitude of 770 m. Coruh River flows 1 km south of the castle and the Yusufeli-Ispir road passes on the bank opposite to the castle. A cistern is still visible within the walls. A watch tower stands in the middle of the castle.
Built at the top of a hill at 1730 m, the Demirtepe Castle is 16 km to Demirkent, a village 29 km to Yusufeli. The castle is built in north-south direction with two entrances in the east. The walls are better preserved in the east and west than north and south.
Devedagı (Fisirik) Castle
The Devedagi Castle is built in the south-west of the village with the same name, 33 km away from Ispir. Surrounded with forests in the south and south-east, and the Muezzin Stream in the west it overlooks all the valley. The south walls, although damaged, are still erect. The other three sides of the hill are so steep, walls might never be constructed. A wooden contruction can be seen above the remains of old foundation stones in the north-east of the castle with another building along the north wall. A building of 8 by 8 m used as a mosque today, divides the castle. The entrance was in the south.
The castle is built above a steep hill, on the north bank of the Coruh River, when entering Ispir. The walls follow the topography and they are better preserved in the east compared to west. The outer walls towards the city have disappeared. While the lower part of the walls are built with rough stones collected in the river the upper part of the walls and the mosque are built with dressed stones. The minaret was also used as a watch tower. In the south of the castles there was a water tunnel going down to Coruh River. The restoration work in the entrance, part of the walls and the mosque realized by the Turkish Ministry of Culture is not completed yet.
Kilickaya (Ersis) Castle
Kilickaya is 26 km to Yusufeli. Leaving the Yusufeli-Ispir road at the 20th km, a winding road leads to Kilickaya. The castle, easily perceived is situated 4 km north-east of the town. Built at an altitude of 1900 m, at the top of a hill and dominating the valley in its south, the south walls of the castle are well preserved. Kilickaya Castle is dated to middle ages.
Kinalicam (Aspisen) Castle
The castle is situated 25 km away from Yusufeli, in the village of Kinalicam at an altitude of 1740 m. The hill upon which the castle is built is 60 m high and dominates the Erzurum-Yusufeli road in the south. Its location suggests it was used as a watch tower. The access to the tower is probably from the north since the south face of the hill is not accessible.
The castle is 15 km to Ispir and 2 km to Maden. It is situated in the north of Erzurum-Ispir road and west of the town. Both the south and north walls of the castle are well preserved. The east-west oriented castle’s eastern part is higher but narrower than the west part following the topography of the hill. The main entrance is in the south, and another small one in the north-west allowed access to water. Remains of two cisterns can be seen.
It is located at the 7th km of the road leading from Yusufeli to Ispir at an altitude of 730 m. before entering the village of Tekkale. The slope of the hill upon which the castle is built does not allow access. The small chapel is oriented towards Coruh River. It will become an island once the Dam of Yusufeli will be constructed.
Yokuslu (Nihah) Castle
The castle is constructed at an altitude of 930 m. and is 32 km. to Yusufeli and 45 km to Ispir, right on the border of these two towns. Coruh River flows next to the castle in the north. Only the east wall of the castle survived.