The Mediterranean Region of Turkey

The Mediterranean Region, which extends along the Mediterranean Sea, from near Köyceğiz to Cape Basit, occupies approximately 11.54% of Turkey's land with a surface area of 90,348 km².

According to the 2008 ABPRS results, the population of the region is 9,050,691, 6,291,842 of which are living in urban areas and 2,758,849 of which are living in the rural areas.

Çukurova, which is one of the industrial centers of Turkey, is the most rapidly industrializing part of the region. In addition to the various industrial facilities (especially textiles) in Adana, the İskenderun superphosphate and iron and steel plants as well as the Antalya ferrochrome plant may be cited as some of the principal industrial facilities in the Mediterranean Region.

Antalya, "Paradise on Earth"

Antalya is one of the most important touristic cities in Turkey and in the world. It is sought out for its cultural and historical riches as well as for its scenic wonders. Thousands of tourists come to Antalya by land, sea and air. The number of daily flights at Antalya Airport exceeds the 500 mark during the high season. The historical evolution of the region extends to the present day from 50,000 B.C. Lara Beach to the east, and Konyaaltı Beach to the west of the city, reportedly founded by the King of Pergamum Attalus II in the 2nd century B.C., are ideal places for swimming. Among the interesting places in the vicinity of the city are the Manavgat Falls, the Upper and Lower Düden Falls, the Kurşunlu Falls, the yachting paradise Kekova, the winter sports center Saklıkent, the Güllük Mountain National Park, and also, within this park, the ancient city of Termessos and a Stone Age settlement, the Karain Cave.

Kemer, one of the most beautiful holiday centers in the Mediterranean, is on the western coast of the city. The Kemer Carnival, held annually every April, is a special event adding a distinct hue to the region.

To the south of Kemer, Phaselis is a historical harbor city with natural coves and surrounding forests. The ancient city of Olympos is located to the south of Phaselis. The ruins of the city are in the midst of a laurel forest. To the north of Olympos is a sacred area called Çıralı, at an altitude of 300 m. The natural gas leaking out from the rocks burns when it combines with the oxygen in the air. According to mythology, these flames emerge from the mouth of the dragon slain by the Lycian hero Bellerophon.

Finike is a holiday resort known for its orange groves. To the west of Finike is Demre, known as Myra in ancient times. The sympathetic patron saint of children, St. Nicholas (Santa Claus), lived and died here. The church built on the location of his tomb was later converted into the St. Nicholas Museum. A Santa Claus Festival is held in Demre every year.

Another holiday resort on the western coast of Antalya is Kalkan. The marina here is the haunt of the blue cruise ships. Near Kalkan, are Patara Beach, the longest in Europe, the ancient capital of Lycia, Xanthos and the holy center, Letoon. Further to the north are the ancient cities of Pınara and Tlos.

The Pamphylia Region and Aspendos

In old times, the east of Antalya was known as the Pamphylia region. The antique city of Perge, 18 km. to the east of Antalya, was founded by the Hittites. Most of the architectural works in the city, however, have survived from the Roman period.

There are large and modern holiday complexes along the Belek coast, 40 km. from Antalya. In Belek, which is covered with stone pines, there are expansive golf courses of international standard.

The antique city of Aspendos, one of the most important cities in the Pamphylia Region in the past, is 50 km. from Antalya. The theater is the most important architectural work in the city. Constructed by the architect Zenon in the 2nd century A.D., it is one of the best-preserved structures in Anatolia. Aspendos was also a center for processing gold and cutting precious stones.

Side is one of the most prominent ancient cities in Turkey. It is located on a small peninsula 80 km. to the east of Antalya. Its 25 thousand-seat theater is the largest one in the region. The remains of the bath constructed during the Roman period have been restored and converted into a museum. The Temple of Apollo, the agora, monumental fountains, city walls and the remains of the port are among the most frequented places in the city.

The town of Manavgat is famous for its waterfalls. Located three kilometers north of Manavgat, the waterfalls are said to have 235 years of history and to have been formed by chance. While the existing place of the fall used to be a cave, following a tremor, the Manavgat River is said to have changed its course and formed the current waterfalls.

Alanya, with its beautiful beaches, is the only urbanized holiday town in Turkey. Modern Alanya extends along the western and eastern shores. Ancient Alanya, on the other hand, is located right in the center of the city on a small peninsula extending into the Mediterranean Sea. There are many architectural works remaining from the Seljuk era in Alanya, the wintertime capital of the Seljuk State. The most famous of them are the Kale (Castle) and the Kızılkule (Red Tower). Featuring picturesque stalagmites and stalactites, Damlataş Cave is another attraction near Alanya.

The Lakes Region

The principal lakes of the Mediterranean Region are clustered in the Lakes Region. Isparta in the central part of this region is known for its exquisite rose gardens, attar of roses and world-famous carpets. Located north of Lake Eğirdir, one of the most beautiful in Turkey, is the antique city of Pisidia. The Temple of Apollo, the Bath, St. Paul's Basilica, the Theater and the Aqueducts are among the important structures in this ancient city. Gölcük Lake, a crater lake southwest of the city, is accessible through rose gardens.

There are 14 lakes in the vicinity of Burdur, the lake province. Among the most frequented places in the city are the İnsuyu Cave with a length of 597 m. and 9 lakes inside, Salda Lake embellished with fine sand beaches and known for its natural beauty, the antique cities of Cibyra and Sagalassos, and the Kuruçay and Hacılar tumuli.

The Great City of Cotton Land

Adana is the largest city in the Mediterranean Region. Most of the cotton, rice, sesame and peanuts in Turkey are produced in this city. The province has a fairly well developed economy and is one of the important industrial centers of the country. The most notable structure in the city is the Stone Bridge, constructed by Emperor Hadrian over the Seyhan River. Unmatched examples of Roman mosaic arts can be seen in the antique cities of Misis and Anavarza.

Where Nature and History Meet

Mersin is one of the most modern cities in the Mediterranean Region with a free trade zone, palm lined coastal boulevards, lovable parks, beautiful hotels, and commercial buildings.

The Grand Mosque, where St. Paul was born, St. Paul's Well, the Cleopatra Gate and Tarsus Falls are among the interesting structures in Tarsus. There are antique cities such as Pompeipolis (Viranşehir), Kanytelis (Kanlı Divane) and Korykos (Kız Kalesi) on the Mersin-Silifke coastal strip. The scenery of the Korykos, built on a small island 200 meters off-shore, is very impressive. Northwest of the Citadel are the tectonic caves known as Cennet (Heaven) and Cehennem (Hell), and the Narlıkuyu Cave with stalactites and stalagmites.

The East Mediterranean

Hatay, located in the east Mediterranean Region, is of great touristic value for its historical assets as well as the scenic beauty of its environs.

The city, founded in 307 B.C. by Antigonus, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, became a prominent center of trade, science and religion in Roman and Byzantine times.

İskenderun, the largest county of Hatay province, is a significant industrial and commercial port. Turkey's widest and longest coastal promenade is in İskenderun. 34 km. south of the city, Uluçınar (Arsuz) is a holiday resort known for its beaches.

Kahramanmaraş, a region rich in history, is surrounded by forests. Handicrafts such as copper and brass smithery, wood and mother-of-pearl carving are well developed in this city. The city is also famous for its gold and silver decorations and adornments. The Maraş ice cream, pounded in a large wooden mortar, is a taste specific to the city.