June 26, 2019

Hatay The City of Tolerance

Hatay begins with the Paleolitic Age (Early Stone Age). The earliest inhabitants of the region were the Prototigris who later came under the rule of the Akads in the first half of the 3rd millennium B.C. In the 2nd millennium B.C. the Amik Plain was invaded by the Subars, one of a confederation of city-states united by a common language and traditions. Of these, the Yamhat Kingdom, based in Aleppo governed the whole plain. Towards the end of the 17.th century B.C. the Hittites, as a result of their raids from Anatolia, totally conquered Gaziantep, Aleppo and the Hatay region. Hittite rule in Hatay was brought to an end after 140 years by so called sea-tribes from the west. After the collapse of the Hittite Empire in 1190 B.C., Hittite principalities in the Amik Plain united under the name of Hatina and choose Kanula (present day Catalhoyuk) as their capital. This united principalities continued their independence until 841 B.C. At this time the Assyrians began their control over the plain. In 538 B.C. the Persians extended their control as far as Issos (present day Yesilyurt – Dörtyol) and brought an end to Assyrian rule and controlled whole Anatolia (Asia Minor). In 333 B.C Alexander the Great brought Persian rule in Hatay to an end by his victory over Darius, the Persian king, at Issos.

Historical sites in HATAY Antioch

Antakya, the biblical Antioch, is situated on the Asi River (Orontes) in a fertile surrounding. Antakya was once the capital of the Seleucid kings and the life they lead in Antakya was renowned for its luxury and pleasures during Roman times. The city was the center of Christianity and had been visited by St.Barnabas, St.Paul and St. Peter. The city was also famous as a center of artistic, scientific and commercial activities. The Hatay Museum deserves a particular interest because it houses one of the richest collections of Roman mosaics in the world. A little outside the city is the holy site where St. Peter’s Grotto is situated. The cave church is the place where St. Peter preached and founded the Christian community. It was declared as a holy place by Vatican in 1983. The Iron Gate of Antioch is to the south of the grotto among the ruins of the city. One can sense these far off times since little has changed since that time. The Castle of Antioch will give you a panoramic view over the city. Antakya is steeped in history and mythology at every step Harbiye, 8 km. after Antioch, is the place where Apollo fell in love with Daphne and tried to have her, but Mother Earth, in order to save Daphne, turned her into an elegant tree. The site is full of these trees accompanying the orchid gardens, and waterfalls where you may have a pleasant meal. St. Pierre Church, Haron Carving are the main historical remains. There are many picnic and camping areas. Outdoor sports such as hunting and fishing, and thermal springs’ facilities are the other attractions.