İskenderun, Turkey

İskenderun is now a busy commercial centre and an important port of Turkey. Once called Alexandretta, it was founded by Alexander the Great after his victory over the Persians. İskenderun has an active, modern life with good hotels, restaurants and cafes among the palm trees by the sea, in addition to its fine location on the shores of a deep bay and at the foot of high Amanos Mountains.

Distinctive İskenderun dishes include Künefe, a hot dessert with cheese. The main dishes include the Turkish staples such as döner and other kebabs served in the flat dürüm bread, lahmacun, and also the Arab-Levantine cuisine of Antakya including kibbeh, and sour pomegranate syrup used as a salad dressing. İskenderun in particular offers good quality fish and prawns.

To the south of İskenderun there is Ulucmar (Arsuz), a historical place and holiday town on the coast. You will benefit from the beautiful sandy beaches, sea and sun while you may do water sports as well in one of the hotels or guest houses in a quiet atmosphere. As a contrast, on the way to Antakya there is mountain resort of Sogukoluk, which gives a good opportunity in summer months for a quite holiday.

On the way to Adana, you will pass through the large areas of fruit groves which provide all the orange, tangerine, and lemon needs of the whole country. Dortyol (the plain of Issos) is where Alexander the Great won over Darius II and Persians in 330 BC. There is a fortress at Toprakkale built by the Crusaders which is still impressive.

20 kms from İskenderun is Yakaclk (Poyas) which preserves a splendid example of Ottoman architecture dating back to the 16thcentury; the Sokullu Mehmet Pasa Complex with a mosque, bath, bazaar, caravanserai, and medresse in it.