Anavarza is the ancient city located in the Cilician region, within the borders of Kozan, at the crossroads of Kadirli, Ceyhan and Kozan district borders. Its surroundings are used as a promenade. Anavarza, which is one of the important centers of the Cilician plain, is named as Anazarbos, Anazarba, Aynızarba or Anazarbus in ancient sources. The ancient city in Dilekkaya village, approximately 70 km northeast of Adana, is on a hill rising like an island 8 km north of the place where Sunbas stream meets Ceyhan.
There is almost no information about the history of the city before the Roman Imperial Period. The city, which was visited by Emperor Augustus in the 19th century BC, started to be known as “Caesarea next to Anazarbus”. It can be thought that the name Anazarbus or Anabarzus mainly belongs to the 200-meter-high rock mass, which dominates the city and is one of the most striking physical formations of the Çukurova plain, and perhaps was destroyed by the name of the Old Persian Na-barza ("Invincible").
Anavarza did not show great presence during the first two centuries of the Roman Imperial Period, it was overshadowed by the capital of Cilician Tarsus. Tarsus has survived to the present day but in return lost a large part of its historical monuments. During the ruling war of Septimius Severus, one of the Roman emperors, with Pescennius Niger, the city, which took Severus' side, was rewarded after he defeated Niger in 194 in Isos and started to live in the brightest period of his history. It was the metropolis of Cilicia, Isauria and Likaonia states between 204-205.
Anavarza, like other Cilician cities, was conquered by the Sasanian King Shapur in 260. Anavarza, which was destroyed by the Isaurian Balbinos in the 4th century, the Emperor II. Founded in 408 at the time of Theodosius, Cilicia became the capital of the secunda and the state.
The city, which was damaged by the great earthquake in 525, was repaired by the Emperor Justinianus and was honored with the name Iustiniopolis. However, in 561, it was subjected to an earthquake disaster for the second time and a great plague that followed immediately. The city, which remained in the border region between the Arab and Greek states after the coming of the Islamic Empire, was constantly destroyed by raids and wars and lost a large part of its population.
Kingdom of Cilicia and Kozanoğlu Principality
In the middle of the 11th century, the city was settled with the Armenians who were immigrated from the Armenian lands newly conquered by the Byzantine State in the Kars region.
Upon the bankruptcy of the central authority in Anatolia after the Battle of Manzikert, the Armenian military chief named Rupen, who was claimed to be the son or grandson of the last Armenian king of Kars, captured Sis (Kozan) and a series of Byzantine castles around 1080 and declared his principality. The Rupen family managed to maintain its sovereignty until 1097 with the support of the Crusaders who came to the region after 1277 and the Mongols after 1375. The descendant of Rupen II. Levon (1189-1219) reinforced his sovereignty in the area extending from Anamur to Iskenderun Beleni and in 1199 he wore the crown of the "King of Armenia", which the Pope deposited.
The Anavarza Castle, which was rebuilt during the Rupen sons, has gained importance as one of the two main residences of the dynasty (together with the Sis Castle) and the place where the dynasty members were buried. Until the 1950s, monuments and tombs that can be seen in the castle have been destroyed and their inscriptions are also missing.
In the Anavarza region from the 14th century, the Varsak and Avşar Turkmen have dominated the Sis and Anavarza Castles under the rule of the Kozanoğulları from the 16th century. they opposed the policy. On the Kozanoğlu Principality, he was sent to Fırka-y İslahiye under the command of Derviş Pasha in 1864-1866.