KIZKALESI


Kızkalesi, the ancient Korykant, is a small holiday resort. The Fortress of Korykos faces the Fortress of Kızkalesi (Maiden's Castle) built by Armenian kings on a small island 200 m off shore. Formely, they were connected to each other by a sea wall.



 




NARLIKUYU

At Narlıkuyu, a pretty fishing village located in a small bay with lots of nice fish restaurants, the tiny museum displays a beautiful Roman mosaic. It depicts the Three Graces Hera, Athena and Aphrodite to whom the following Myth of the Apple of Discord is related: Zeus was preparing a wedding banquet for Peleus and Thetis and did not want to invite the goddess Eris - later called Discordia by the Romans - because she took pleasure stirring up disputes among mortals and immortals alike. This made Eris angry and she, who was terrible in appearance, fashioned a golden apple and inscribed upon it “KALLISTI” ("To The Prettiest One"). On the wedding day, she managed to roll the apple across the floor of the banquet hall. Three of the invited goddesses, Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite, each laid claim to it because of the inscription, and they started to fight. Zeus, to calm things down, chose Trojan Paris as arbitrator, but each of the goddesses offered him a tempting bribe. Athena offered him heroic war victories and Hera offered him great wealth, but Paris chose Aphrodite who offered to help him seduce and abduct the most beautiful woman on earth: Helen the wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta who led an army to Troy to get her back. Such is the origin of the Trojan War!


The chasm called Cennet (Paradise) with a 5C chapel, and the very deep chasm called Cehennem (Hell) are located in the region of Narlıkuyu. The humid air of Narlıkuyu Caves, which are full of stalactites and stalagmites, is believed to be beneficial to respiratory deseases.
 


MERSIN (İCEL)

Mersin is the most important Turkish free zone port on the Mediterranean Sea. Totally artificial, it is a very active industrial center (refineries) of recent development, located at the bottom of a large gulf. It is the crossroad of important roads and railroads. The town is modern and pleasant with its broad avenues lined with palm-trees.
The Mersin International Fair takes palce every year in September, and the Mersin Art and Culture Festival in September-October.

12 kms / 7.5 miles west of Mersin, at Viranşehir stands the ancient city of Soloi (the sun) founded in 700 BC by Rhodians. After it was ruled by the Persians and the Greeks, pirates became the new colonists of the city. These people had, between others, the bad reputation to speak an awful Greek. Today the word "solecism", which comes from Soloi, is still in use. In the middle of the 1C BC, Roman general Pompey took over, and the city was rebuilt under the name of Pompeiopolis. A beautiful row of columns with Corinthian capitals that once lined the main street of the city and the port, have remained.
 




TARSUS

Tarsus is located on the Tarsus river, the antique Cydnus. Originally Tarsus was a sea port, but because of the silting up, today it is located some 15 km / 9.3 miles inland.

Probably of Hittite origin, like all other Cilician cities, Tarsus came in turn under the Assyrian, Persian, Greek, Roman (Cleopatra arrived to Tarsus in a beautifully adorned ship, seated on her throne, for her meeting with Mark Antony), Byzantine, Arab, Armenian and finally Turkish domination. Tarsus was an important stoic philosophy center and later it was the home to one of the first Christian churches in Asia Minor. Tarsus is the birthplace of Paul who, at the time, was a Jew called Saul, and a Roman citizen. Paul went to Jerusalem for further studying as a strict Pharisee. There, he participated to the stoning of St Stephen who was the first Christian martyr. After his sudden conversion on his way to Damascus that he had to flee, he came back to Tarsus proclaiming that Jesus was the Messiah. Then he became the assistant of Barnabas who brought him to Antioch (Antakya). Paul made three missionary journeys to Asia Minor. He finally was arrested in Jerusalem in 58. Waiting for his trial, he was first sent to Ceasarea and later to Rome where, according to the tradition, he was killed as a martyr under the rule of Nero. St Paul was known as the Apostle to the Gentiles.Tarsus was a prosperous city during the Roman period, and it was a reputed (tent - making) cloth weaving center (Paul was a cloth-weaver). Three ecumenical councils were held in Tarsus in 431, 435 and 1177.

Tarsus was taken from the hands of the Seljuks by the Crusaders in 1097, and by the Armenians in 1173. Leo III was crowned king of Armenia in 1199 in the cathedral of Tarsus. In 1359, it was conquired by the Mamelukes of Egypt and finally by the Ottomans in 1515.

In spite of a long and brillant past, Tarsus has few ancient monuments remaining:

The Gate of Cleopatra that the Egyptian queen crossed with Mark Antony when they met in Tarsus in 41 AD.

St Paul's Well
is located in St Paul's house. Here, visitors can drink the blessed water.

Eski Camii
is an early Christian church transformed into a mosque.

Ulu Cami
is an Ottoman mosque built in 1579.

Gözlü Kule
is a site where Hittite and Hellenistic vestiges have been excavated (findings are displayed in the Museum of Adana).






Paul's 1st missionary journey
2nd missionary journey 3rd missionary journey Paul's journey to Rome
 


ADANA

Adana, the fourth largest city in Turkey, is located on the right bank of the Seyhan river .
Adana is a modern city and the most important industrial (textile industry) and agricultural place in the plain of Çukurova (Cilicia), located among cotton fields and citrus groves where oranges, tangerines and lemons are grown.
The people of the region eat very spicy hot food, and Adana is famous for its spicy meat speciality, the "Adana kebabı" grilled on a "mangal" which is the Turkish barbecue. The local beverage is the "shalgam" made from beetroots.
The city has very old origins, but due to a very eventful past, almost nothing has survived. The places of interest are:
Taşköprü is a 310 m long stone bridge that spans the Seyhan River. It was built in the 2C AD by Roman Emperor Hadrian and restored by Justinian in the 6C. Today only 14 arches out of its 21 original arches are still standing.

Ulu Camii
, the great mosque from the 16C, is made of black and white marble.

Ramazanoğlu Camii
, also called Eski Yağ mosque, is located in the heart of the bazaar.

The Archaeoligical and Ethnographical Museum
: ceramics from the Bronze Age, Hittite seals and cylinders, Roman sarcophagi, Hellenistic and Roman coins... a reconstitution of nomadic Turkmen (Turcoman) house life and costumes as well as a collection of folkloric costumes can be seen.

Located north of Adana , Seyhan Dam and Lake is a nice place to take a refreshing walk in the shady paths. There, tea gardens and restaurants await people who, escaping the heat of Adana, remain until late to view the sunset over the glittering river and city.

In the region of Adana, Incirlik hosts the NATO air base.
 




KARATEPE

In the north-east of Adana, on the pictureque road to Kadirli past the remains of the ancient Roman city and the citadel of Hieropolis-Kastabala, the National Park of Karatepe houses a 8C BC Neo-Hittite site which is a beautiful open-air museum that has been left intact after the excavations. The Azatiwadaya citadel, named after Azatiwatas, the ruler of the plains of Adanawa (Adana), was built near the Ceyhan river (now Aslantaş Dam) and a main caravan road, to control the region . The citadel was destroyed by the Assyrians around 700 BC.

Two monumental T-shaped gate-houses gave access to the citadel. There stands the imposing statue of the Thunderstorm-God Baal or Tarhunzas. The inner walls were adorned with sculptures of lions and sphinxes, inscriptions and reliefs depicting cultual, mythological and daily-life scenes carved on blocks of basalt. The longest Hittite hieroglyphic text known until now, as well as its translation in Phoenician, were inscribed on slabs of each gate. A third inscription in Phoenician was on the Divine Statue, constituing the key for the final deciphering of the hieroglyphs ( being thus reminiscent of the famous Rosetta Stone ...)


Karatepe