Published on Jan. 6, 2013
Ayas became an important harbour city of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia in the second half of the 13th century, when with the fall of Acre and the silting up of the harbor of Tarsus, it became the center of trade between the West and the East, benefitting from its good roads east. Marco Polo disembarked here to begin his trip to China in 1271.
The naval Battle of Ayas (also known as Battle of Laiazzo) was fought near the city in 1294 and resulted in a victory of the Genoese fleet over the Venetians. Some scholars believe that Marco Polo was taken prisoner on that occasion.