Mersin Information

 

Mersin , Turkey

Mersin is a large city and a port on the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey. It is part of an interurban agglomeration – the Adana-Mersin Metropolitan Area – and lies on the western part of Çukurova, a geographical, economical and cultural region. According to Evliya Çelebi, the city is named after the Mersinoğullari clan; another theory is that it is made from the myrtle (Greek: μύρτος, μυρσίνη) which grows abundantly in the region.[2]

Mersin is important for Turkey's economy, and Turkey's largest seaport is located there. Mersin's nickname within Turkey is "Pearl of the Mediterranean" (Turkish: Akdeniz'in İncisi) and the city will host the 2013 Mediterranean Games.
 

History

This coast has been inhabited since the 9th millennium BC. Excavations by John Garstang of the hill of Yumuktepe have revealed 23 levels of occupation, the earliest dating from ca. 6300 BC. Fortifications were put up around 4500 BC, but the site appears to have been abandoned between 350 BC and 300 BC.

In subsequent centuries, the city became a part of many states and civilizations including the Hittites, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Seleucids and Lagids. During the Ancient Greek period, the city bore the name Zephyrion (Greek: Ζεφύριον[3]) and was mentioned by numerous ancient authors. Apart from its natural harbor and strategic position along the trade routes of southern Anatolia, the city profited from trade in molybdenum (white lead) from the neighbouring mines of Coreyra. Ancient sources attributed the best molybdenum to the city, which also minted its own coins.

The area later became a part of the Roman province of Cilicia, which had its capital at Tarsus, while nearby Mersin was the major port. The city, whose name was Latinized to Zephyrium, was renamed as Hadrianopolis in honor of the Roman emperor Hadrian.

In 395, the Roman Empire was split in two and this area fell into the half ruled from Byzantium (later Constantinople), which became the centre of trade in this part of the world, drawing investments and trade, and causing Mersin to lose its attractiveness.

The city was an episcopal see under the Patriarchate of Antioch. Le Quien (Oriens christianus, II, 883) names four bishops of Zephyrium: Aerius, present at the Council of Constantinople in 381; Zenobius, a Nestorian, at the Second Council of Constantinople in 432-434; Hypatius, present at the Council of Chalcedon in 451; and Peter, at the Council in Trullo in 692. The city remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church, Zephyriensis; the see has been vacant since 1966.[4]

The area of Cilicia was conquered by the Arabs in the early 7th century, by which time it appears as a deserted site. Then came the Egyptian Tulunids, the Byzantines again between 965 and the 12th century, the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, Mamluks, Anatolian beyliks, and finally the city was conquered by the Ottomans from the Ramadanid Principality in 1473 and formally annexed by Selim I in 1517.

During the American Civil War, the region became a major supplier of cotton to make up for the high demand due to shortage. Railroads were extended to Mersin in 1866 from where cotton was exported by sea, and the city developed into a major trade center.

In 1918, Mersin was occupied by French and British troops in accord with the Treaty of Sevrès. It was liberated by the Turkish army in 1920. In 1924, Mersin was made a province, and in 1933 Mersin and İçel provinces were joined to form the (greater Mersin) İçel province.
 

Cuisine

The local cuisine is famous, and restaurants specializing on the Mersin Region can be found all over Turkey, and includes specialties such as:

    Ciğer Kebap, (Liver on Mangal), typically served on lavaş with an assortment of meze at 12 skewers at a time,
    Tantuni, a hot lavaş wrap consisting of julienned lamb stir-fried on a sac on a hint of cottonseed oil,
    Bumbar, lamb intestines filled with a mixture of rice, meat and pistachios, that are served either grilled or steamed,
    Cezerye, a lokum made of sweet carrots, covered in ground pistachios or coconuts,
    Karsambaç, peeled ice, (or even snow) served with a topping of pekmez or honey,
    Künefe, a wood-oven baked dessert based on a mixture of cheese and pastry; famous all throughout the Levant,
    Kerebiç, a shortbread filled with pistachio paste, also famous throughout the Levant,
    Şalgam suyu, a beverage made of fermented red carrots, very popular in Southern Turkey, that is known somehow to cure hangover.

Culture


Mersin Halkevi

Because the city has been a crossroads for centuries, the local culture is a medley of civilizations. Mersin has a State Opera and Ballet, the fourth in Turkey after Istanbul, İzmir and Ankara. Mersin International Music Festival was established in 2001 and takes place every October. The photography association Mersin Fotograf Derneği (MFD), is one of the most popular and active cultural organizations in the city. Some cultural activities are sponsored by the İçel sanat kulübü (i.e., Art club of Mersin) There is a great museum in the city centre.

The municipal cemetery
is interesting as people of all faiths and denominations can be buried here.

The City hosts the Roman Catholic Co-Cathedral of St. Anthony of Padua.

In order to swim in clean water you need to get out of town, perhaps an hour along the coast. The beaches at Kızkalesi, Ayaş, Susanoğlu (app. 50–70 km west) are popular with families while young people prefer Akyar, Yapraklı koy, Narlıkuyu or quieter bays along the coast, some of which are very attractive indeed.
 

See also

    Adana-Mersin Metropolitan Area
    Çukurova
    Akdeniz, intercity municipality of Mersin
    Mezitli, intercity municipality of Mersin
    Toroslar, intercity municipality of Mersin
    Yenişehir, intercity municipality of Mersin
    Cilicia War
    Gözne
    Soli, Cilicia
    Yumuktepe
    Kazanlı
    Chronology of the Turkish War of Independence
    List of mayors of Mersin
    Mersin İdmanyurdu, footbal team of the city, attending top level division in 2011-12 season.
    Gulf of Mersin
    Mersin Grand Mosque
    Muğdat Mosque
    Old Mosque
    Mersin Catholic Church
    Mersin Harbor
    Mersin railway station
    Mersin Halkevi
    Mertim
    Mersin Feneri
    Atatürk Parkı


 

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