On the southwestern edge of Cilician Plains, is the city of Mersin on the Mediterranean coast. Mersin was once a small fishing village, but later converted into an export harbor of the surrounding region. Due to the high demand in the world, the wilderness of the Cilician Plains were cultivated to produce cotton.
The Taurus Mountains rest immediately behind the districts of Mersin, with countless vineyards on the low foothills of the mountains. The city became famous as “Pearl of the Mediterranean” since the city hosted the 2013 Mediterranean Games.
History of Mersin Region
Mersin inhabits the human race since the 9th millennium BC. The city has seen countless civilizations including the Hittites, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Seleucids and Lagids.
During the Ancient Greek period, the city held the title of Zephyrion. The city provides a natural harbor and strategic position along the trade routes of southern Anatolia. Moreover, the city has also profited from trade in molybdenum (white lead) from the neighboring mines of Coreyra.
After the invasion of the Roman Empire, the city became a part of the Roman province of Cilicia. The capital resided amidst the Tarsus mountains. In honor of the Roman emperor Hadrian, Mersin earned the title of Hadrianopolis.
By the end of the 3 rd century, Mersin fell into what became the Byzantine Empire.
The city was under the bishop’s ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Patriarchate of Antioch. The Arabs conquered the area of Cilicia in the early 7th century.
Finally, the Ottomans from the Ramadanid Principality conquered the city in 1473.
During the American Civil War, railroads trasported cotton from the sea in Mersin. Moreover, during the World War I, Mersin’s port hosted 645 steamships and 797,433 tons of goods.
French and British troops occupied Mersin in accordance with the Treaty of Sèvres. The Turkish army reclaimed this land in 1921. The territory of İçel and Mersin Province are conjoined since of 1933.
Mersin does not enjoy a constant flow of tourists like the neighbouring Antalya or the Aegean coast.
This province has a lot of Christianity significant areas. For example, on the edge of the fertile Çukurova Plain, is the birthplace of St Paul, which was once a capital. The city built the Catholic Church of Mersin as Christians also resided in the city.
Mersin province is divided into thirteen districts, few included in the metropolis of Mersin city. Mainly consisting Akdeniz, Anamur, Aydıncık, Bozyazı, Çamlıyayla, Erdemli, Gülnar, Mezitli, Mut, Silifke, Tarsus, Toroslar and Yenişehir.
Main tourist attractions within the districts of Merson are as follows. Mersin Grand Mosque (UluCami)m which is located just off the main shore in the Akdeniz district. While, the Muğdat Mosque (Muğdat Camisi), built in the 1980s in Yenişehir district of the city. It is named after Miqdad ibn Aswad, one of the early Muslims.
Other Tourists Sites
The Atatürk Park, a public park which held the Mediterranean Games in 2013.
A museum housed inside a beautiful mansion, known as Atatürk Museum (Mersin Atatürk Evi Müzesi) also attracts the tourists. H. Christman, the German consul to Mersin built this house in 1897.
Furthermore, a famous historical monument is the burial mound of Yümüktepe, in the Toroslar region of the city. It contains evidence of Neolithic settlements continuing up to the Middle Ages.
A row of Corinthian columns lies 11 kilometres west of Mersin. These columns once lined the main street of Viranşehir (ancient Pompeiopolis and Soloi), founded in 700 BC. Few other sites include, Kanlıdivane and the sarcophagi dating from Roman and Byzantine times.
A worth visiting area is the little fishing village of Narlıkuyu, where a Roman mosaic known as the Three Graces can be found.
Ruins of Temple of Jupiter is an archaeological site, found in Silifke, Turkey.
Eshab-ı Kehf Cave, also known as Ashab-ı Kehf Cave holds great cultural and religious significance. It resides in the north of Tarsus, an Ilçe (district) in Mersin Province.
Local Cuisines of Mersin
Few prominent dishes of this region are; Tantuni, finely minced fried meat and onion wrap, Haslets, dishes made with intestines, lung, liver, kidneys, stomach, brain and Cezerye, mix made of carrots and figs. Kerebic and Künefe are unique desserts of this area.
Situated beside the Mediterranean Sea, Mersin is one of the most pristine coasts in Turkey.