Around The World From Adana To Mersin

Sheltered From The Harsh Steppe Climate Of The Rugged Taurus, The Adana-Mersin Region Is As Fetching As An Anatolian Bride.

The Tarsus Şahmaran Statue is a modern embodiment of an ancient legend about a creature half-woman and half snake. (Above) Adana Oil Mosque is one of the area’s oldest monuments. (Below)

If you’re enamored of the richness of Anatolia and a passionate explorer, and if you’re seeking sea, sun, sand, mountains, history and good food to boot, then it’s off to the land known as Cilicia…

Adana is one of Turkey’s major cities. Here lies the fecund Çukurova plain that feeds the nation, an area of settlement going back thousands of years thanks to its mild climate and fertile soil. In a word, Adana is a paradise on earth, a vibrant city with its face turned towards art today. And a glance at the past reveals it was no different then. Adana Archaeological Museum and Misis Mosaic Museum display the splendor of those times gone by, for Adana is a museum city in the true sense of the word. The Ramazanoğlu Mansion, Yağ (Oil) Mosque, Hasan Ağa Mesjid, the Great Mosque, the Taşköprü (Stone Bridge) and the historic Adana houses are just a few of the must-see sights here.

A rich plant cover and endemic species of wild life permeate Adana from the shores of the Mediterranean right up to the summits of the Taurus. And the matchless snowscapes at Pozantı in winter promise a whole new world. Spring meanwhile comes early to Adana. Winter doesn’t linger here, where a virtual nature festival flaunting every shade of green proclaims the advent of spring with flowers in early March. Lynx, badger hyena and francolin as well as many other species of birds still inhabit the wild in Adana.

When touring Adana, be sure not to limit yourself to the city center. The immediate vicinity is rife with an array of riches that will transport you to completely different worlds! Misis, a major settlement from antiquity right through the Middle Ages, Kozan with its castles and watchtowers, Yilankale, a Crusader castle on the historic route over the Taurus to Antioch, Kurtkulağı Caravanserai, an Ottoman monument at Ceyhan, the castles of Kozan, and Hoşkadem Mosque are Adana’s cultural treasures. It’s up to you to explore Yumurtalık, Karataş, Tufanbeyli and the riches of Alaşehir.

Adana and Mersin are neighboring cities, and Adana’s natural richness and cultural diversity continue at Mersin. The Maiden’s Castle may be a Mersin icon, but be sure that you are going to find much, much more in this city! With its modern downtown, Mersin is a virtual world city today. And the environs are fairly bursting with ancient cities and ruins. Be sure to try the famous tantuni kebab before touring the city.

First stop on the way from Adana to Mersin, Tarsus is a confluence of civilizations that has preserved its name down the millennia. Saint Paul, one of the founders of Christianity, was from here, and the well and church that bear his name make Tarsus a world-scale religious center. Meanwhile the Makam Mosque with the hidden tomb of the Prophet Daniel, Donuktaş Temple, one of the rare surviving monuments of the ancient Roman Mithraic religion, the Ancient Way, and the Cave of the Seven Sleepers are Tarsus must-see’s. Approached through a forest of eucalyptus, Tarsus also boasts a fine coastline, a secluded paradise of pristine beaches and coves whose silence is broken only by the lapping of the waves and the chirping of birds.

Named for the ancient Seleucid Dynasty, Silifke is another of Mersin’s millennia-old treasures. The Roman temple, Alaaddin Mosque and the Göksu Delta are some of the first sights than come to mind here. The Valley of the Şeytan River on the way to Silifke from Mersin Maiden’s Castle boasts rock reliefs of men, women, children and goats going back to the 2nd century A.D., while the Aya Thekla and Cambazlı churches make Silifke, like Tarsus, a major focus of faith tourism.

With all its many treasures, the road from Adana to Mersin is an area begging to be explored. With something for every age and interest group, it abounds with riches to appeal to tourists of every stripe, from history buffs and nature lovers to faith tourists and seekers of sand and sea. And all you have to do is get a ticket to Adana at a time that’s convenient for you!

Silifke is also known for its handicrafts. Authentic local flat weaves and embroideries are very popular here.

Kebab is the most important piece of resistance of Adana cuisine and you must try it when you’re in the city. Famous kebab restaurants abound in the city.

Adana’s quintessential beverage is şalgam, a blend of purple carrots, bulghur and rutabaga juice. Good for the health, this traditional drink is widely available in Adana and Tarsus.

The Ancient Way at Tarsus city center is a wonder of engineering going back thousands of years. And beneath it is a sewerage system that was constructed in the same period.

Mersin’s modern downtown offers a host of alternatives for shopping buffs. You can sample the local sweets as well at dozens of venues large and small in the city center.

With its unmatched coasts and beaches, the route from Adana to Mersin boasts all the beauty of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkish Airlines has daily Adana flights in both directions from Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. For information:

The Adana/Mersin basin is a region where you can follow the trail of civilization. Here, where the past is virtually synonymous with human history, monuments of the celestial religions exist cheek by jowl with the beauty of nature munificently manifested around the year. Adana is named for Adanus, son of Uranus in mythology. The Seyhan River, which arises in the Taurus and waters the soil before emptying into the Mediterranean, is Adana’s answer to the Nile. Mersin meanwhile is home to major centers of civilization like Tarsus and Silifke.

Consultant and Cultural Historian

“The Cilicia Basin in which Adana and Mersin lie is a region of cultural production which has always been home to sizable settlements thanks to its natural richness. An uninterrupted center of economy and culture, it is Anatolia’s most vibrant, valuable and diverse region. A place to be visited not just en route to elsewhere but to be experienced for its own sake.”

The Adana/Mersin basin boasts dozens of monumental trees. Registered and inventoried, they attract visitors today. 

Boasting one of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful coastlines, Erdemli has a wide array of accommodations to fit every budget. A Mediterranean alternative for a great summer vacation, Erdemli’s proximity to Mersin makes it even more attractive.

The Taurus Mountains offer a number of hiking trails. One alternative is Town of Karaisalı - village of Karakılıç - Darıçukuru - Köşk - Damlama - Ekecik - village of Belemedik - Bürücek Highland (Finish).

Many local specialties are available here where the Mediterranean, Arab and Turkish cuisines intersect. In addition to meat dishes you can also try dishes made of vegetables and natural herbs in season.

Its first settlement dating to the 4th century B.C., the Maiden’s Castle stands near the Mersin town of Erdemli. Recently restored, the Maiden’s Castle rises on a rock some 500 meters from shore in the open sea.