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Tarsus City in turkey

Exploring Tarsus: A Historical Gem in Turkey

Introducing the city of Tarsus

Tarsus is the name of a historical city and a large part of Mersin province of Turkey. This city is 15 km from Mersin province and 40 km from Adana.

Where is the city of Tarsus?

The Tarsus region in Mersin province is one of the most famous regions in Turkey. It is renowned for its natural scenery, trade, art, and rich history. For a long time, different governments, cultures, and thoughts in this city have made Tarsus a famous scientific and historical center for tourists and archaeologists worldwide.

The Stadium of Tarsus

It is interesting to know that famous people such as Saint Paul, the first apostle of Jesus, Prophet Daniyal and Bilal Habashi, the muezzin of Prophet Muhammad, Mamun Abbasi, the son of Harun al-Rashid, Aristotle, the famous philosopher of the ancient era, Luqman Hakim, the father of the world’s doctors, Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt. and Antonius, the commander of the Romans, lived in this city.

History of the city of Tarsus

Tarsus is one of the oldest cities in Turkey and has a rich and glorious history. Its history dates back to the Neolithic period, so naturally, this city has witnessed many government and cultural changes. Historians say this city fell into the hands of various governments, such as the Hittites, Assyrians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, etc.

In its first historical period, the Hittites ruled this city. After that, the Assyrians dominated it until it finally became part of the Achaemenid government.

After the Achaemenid period, with the Seleucids dominating this city, which at that time was called Sinsis, Greek culture and language spread in Tarsus. After that, Tarsus, which had taken the name of “Antioch Cydnus,” was considered a rival of the philosophical schools of Alexandria and Athens. Also, in 171 BC, its great libraries are mentioned in the reports of this city’s rebellion against Antiochus IV.

Street of the Trasus City

In the end, Pompeo Manio (a prominent Roman warlord and politician) annexed this city to Rome and became the capital of Cilicia province. After that, Julius Caesar named this city “Iliopolis.” One of the most critical events in this city during the Roman period was the first meeting of Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Also, several famous Roman emperors, such as Marcus Claudius Tacticus, Maximinus, and Julian the Apostate, are buried in this city.

In 637 (A.D.), during the time of the Rashidin caliphs, the Arab general Khaled bin Rashid made this city part of his country’s territory. Then, in 965 AD, Naqfur—the Eastern Roman Emperor—separated this city from the boundaries of the Caliphate, and Sangone was part of the Byzantine Empire for a century after that. Finally, the Seljuks took control of this city after the Byzantine Empire.

With the beginning of the crusades, the government of this city fell into the hands of the Mosishians until, in 1360 AD, the Turks of Ramzan Oglu (Azmluk tribes of Anatolia) conquered it. Finally, Selim I joined Tarsus in the Ottoman territory in 1517.

Tarsus city weather

The proximity of the city of Tarsus to the Mediterranean Sea gives this region a mild climate in spring and autumn. This city generally has a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and mild and rainy winters. Usually, the air temperature in Tarsus is more than 30 degrees Celsius in summer and around 10 degrees Celsius in winter. Therefore, spring and autumn are the best time to travel to this beautiful city and enjoy its historical and natural attractions.

Special foods for Tarsus

Special foods for Tarsus

The best part of any trip is tasting the delicious taste of local foods. The city of Tarsus, rich in ancient history and culture, is the birthplace of many dishes, such as Yuzok soup and Giakhak. On your trip to Tarsus City, don’t forget to eat Olmach, Rahat al-Halgom, Baklava, Dolme, Jazriah, Al Qaime Si, Ghosh Qozu, Telator, Giakhak, and Banderma!

Souvenir from the city of Tarsus

What should we bring as a souvenir from the city of Tarsus?

Since people in this area show great interest in handicrafts and most of the seasonal exhibitions, they display their works for fellow citizens and tourists worldwide. Handicrafts can be the best option for souvenirs. Works such as embroidered accessories, hand-made towels and mats, handkerchiefs and other types of trinkets, woven baskets, traditional sweets, etc., all show the culture and history of Tarsos well.

Vehicles and commuting in the city of Tarsus

As mentioned, the city of Tarsus is close to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, has an excellent central location, and acts as a link between Mersin, Adana, Pozanti, and Chameli Yaila.

This area benefits from a good and advanced transportation network. Due to this city’s wide roads and streets, driving is very easy and hassle-free. Buses and passenger vehicles such as vans and taxis can transport residents and travelers to most parts of Turkey. Also, the railway of this city allows you to travel to many parts of Turkey at the lowest cost.

If you are looking for a cruise experience, you can access all the ports of Turkey from the Mersin province. In addition to all this, Adana airport, located 40 km from Tarsus, also makes your work easy for air travel and you can go anywhere you want in the shortest time.

Famous Mosque of Tarsus City

Sightseeing places and tourist attractions of Tarsus city

Cleopatra’s Gate: One of the unique works left from the Roman period in the city of Tarsus is Cleopatra’s Gate. It is said that 41 years before Christ, Cleopatra, the famous queen of Egypt, arrived at this place after a sea voyage to meet the Roman general Antonius, and the Roman general held a magnificent ceremony for her in Gozlu Kolehoyuk. After this ceremony, the queen passed through this gate. A sea has entered the city of Tarsus. This impressive gate is named in memory of the Egyptian queen’s visit to this city.

Cave Companions: You must have heard the story of Companions of the Cave, or Angels Men. Interestingly, this holy cave is 12 kilometers north of Tarsus and near Olash village. This cave, which has a chapter with the same name in the Holy Quran, is sacred to Muslims and Christians. Later, Sultan Abdulaziz built a mosque in the upper part of the cave, after which the three-congress minaret was added to this complex.

Hippodrome: The Hippodrome is a sports complex built during the Roman period. It is located next to the American College and has witnessed various sports competitions, so it has reached a valuable historical position.

• St. Paul’s Church: This church was built in the southern part of the city in the 11th and 12th centuries. It has been under protection since 1993, and despite being supposed to be turned into a museum, it is still being renovated. There is a bell tower in the northeast corner of the church, and in the center of the church ceiling, the images of Jesus, John, Matthew, Mark, and Lucas are engraved.

• Inscription of Iftikhar (Inscription of Freedom): Iftikhar, now on the wall of Yeni Hamam, was installed in 1982 in the northern part of Cleopatra’s Gate. It dates back to the reign of Soros Alexander, the Roman Emperor (222-235 B.C.). During the Romans’ time, it was the base of a statue.

The Yeni bath dates back to the Ramadan Oglu period and is one of Tarsus’s tourist attractions. This bath is located in the northeastern part of the Jame Shahr Mosque and was renovated in 1785. It resembles a classic Turkish bath with three parts: hot water, lukewarm water, and a bathroom.

• Denuk Tash (Roman Temple): This temple, located in the eastern part of the Teke neighborhood, is the oldest remaining from the Roman era. Although it is unclear which gods this temple was built for, according to Louis V, one of the medieval world travelers, the tomb of one of the kings of Assyria, Sara Danapal, is located in this place.

• Baj Bridge: This stone bridge is located at the entrance of Tarsus City on the Ankara-Adana road. It was built during Byzantine rule in the 6th century B.C. by Justin’s order on the Sidnos River to cross during flooding. This magnificent three-span bridge was repaired and reconstructed to pass heavy vehicles.

• St. Paul’s well: St. Paul’s well is located in the Qezal Murad neighborhood, about 300 meters north of Cumhuriyet Square, in the yard of a house that was said to have once belonged to St. Paul. This well has a unique historical value, and its surroundings have been protected as a cultural heritage. This well welcomes many domestic and foreign tourists every year. It is believed that the water of this well has healing power because St. Paul is the first disciple of Jesus and the first Christian theoretician.

The Tarsus Museum, the ancient hill of Kozlu Kole, the Golak Castle and Baghaz, the Qabad Pasha School, the Shah Maran Bath, Roman Road, Cumhuriyet Square, and Antique Road are other historic places of this city that should not be missed.

Markets and shopping centers of Tarsus City

Markets and shopping centers of Tarsus City

Tarsus markets are full of life and excitement. They are an excellent opportunity to get to know the people of Tarsus and communicate with them. From fresh and natural products to industrial and traditional goods, you can find them in these markets, making your shopping experience enjoyable.

One of the most famous markets in Tarsus is the market of Forty Spoons or Bayaz Charshi, which was built at the same time as the Jame Mosque. This market has witnessed a prosperous trade for a long time and is still considered one of the busiest markets in Turkey.

Don’t worry if you are looking for a modern shopping experience! With its shopping centers catering to different tastes, Tarsus offers a range of products, from clothes and electronics to household items.

Famous mosques of Tarsus city

Famous mosques of Tarsus city

No matter where you are in Turkey, mosques are definitely among the most important buildings there. The main mosque of Tarsus City is the Grand Mosque, which is surrounded by many important places, such as Hazrat Luqman’s tomb and Forty Spoon Market. This mosque was built in the southern part of the city in 1579 by Ibrahim Bey, the son of Piri Pasha, the then-governor of Ramzanoglu.

Other prominent mosques in Tarsus region:

• Maqam Sharif Mosque: This mosque was built in 1857 in the northwestern part of one of the schools of Tarsus. One of its unique features is the presence of the tomb of the divine prophet Hazrat Daniyal (AS) in it.

• Eski Mosque (Church Mosque): This historical building is located 100 meters from Maqam Sharif Mosque on the side of Adana Road. In 1415, Ramzan Oglu Ahmed Bey ordered its conversion from a church to a mosque.

• Bilal Habashi Mosque: This mosque is located in Beyazcharshi neighborhood, next to the southern part of the city road. According to beliefs, this mosque is the same place where Bilal Abyssinian Muezzin of Hazrat Muhammad said the call to prayer, and Muslims prayed here!

Natural beauties and recreational areas of Tarsus

Natural beauties and recreational areas of Tarsus

Tarsus offers an excellent opportunity for those who want to explore the beauty of nature. The Mediterranean coast, a short distance from the city, is ideal for relaxation and outdoor activities. In addition, parks and green areas are excellent places for a walk, picnic, etc., in the heart of nature.

This area’s most famous natural attraction is its waterfall, which contains tombs from the ancient Romans. When the water of the river is low, these magnificent old graves can be seen, and this has caused the residents of Tarsus to flock to this place in the hot months of the year. Many local and foreign tourists welcome this place in the spring when the water of the waterfall and the river increases. There are also coffee houses and restaurants next to this waterfall, ready to provide all kinds of services to domestic and foreign guests.

What are the central neighborhoods of Tarsus?

1. City Center: The city center of Tarsus is a treasure of historical and architectural wonders. Stepping into the center of this small town, you will see Cleopatra’s Gate, St. Paul’s Well, lively markets, etc., all of which will take you on a historical journey in the past years.

2. Yeni neighborhood: For those looking for peace, the Yeni neighborhood is the best place with its green streets and peaceful atmosphere. This neighborhood offers a combination of living in nature and modern life and has a relaxing atmosphere away from the city noise.

3. Osmania: Osmania is a place for culture and food lovers! In Osmania, various cultures are mixed, and authentic and diverse flavors are discovered.

Where to stay in Tarsus?

Tarsus offers various housing options that fit different tastes and budgets. From cozy and modern apartments to old and two-story brick houses to beach villas and small and large hotels with all facilities and the best access!

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