An independent Armenian Kingdom during the early second millenium, the Armenian presence in this Mediterranean coast region had a large Armenian population until the Armenian Genocide and the final expulsion of Armenians by the forces of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
One of the greatest achievements that the Cilician Armenians had reached was the master craft of castle building, based upon the rich tradition of previous periods in Armenian history. The Crusaders acquired techniques of building round-shaped castles [previously to Crusade epoch most of the castles in Europe were square-shaped], for the most part advanced castle building in Europe began in the late Medieval period, in this respect the Cilician castles remain the best manifestations of the given time period in the XIth, XIIth and XIIIth centuries. The strategic selection of castle building in of itself is very complex and amazing. The castle, visible from miles away, represented the center and the power of the sovereign lord of the second estate [nobles, barons, viceroys, dukes] of the monarchial hierarchy, his right of holding of the domain, a fief granted personally by the orders of the King himself for the duties and tasks accomplished in the name of the king and country. Natural obstacles like rocky terrain unrelenting cliffs; canyons guarded most of the castles, while rivers and lakes served as excellent obstacles in terms of natural moat entrenchment. The enormous and complex castles of the Kingdom of Cilician Armenia are one of the greatest and distinguished highpoint attainments in the history of Cilician Armenia.
One of the primary ports was Ayas.
From the time of Leon II's rise to power until the mid thirteenth century, the most dangerous such opponents were the Seljuk Turks of the interior. In 1187, for example, they made a failed attack on Sis (the Armenian capital) which was successfully repelled near the Amanus Gates.