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Mersin Yenisehir shore.JPG
Mersin Yenişehir shore to west
Turkey adm location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Mersin within Turkey
Coordinates: 36°48′N34°38′E / 36.800°N 34.633°E / 36.800; 34.633 Coordinates: 36°48′N34°38′E / 36.800°N 34.633°E / 36.800; 34.633
CountryFlag of Turkey.svg  Turkey
Region Mediterranean
Province Mersin
   Mayor Burhanettin Kocamaz (İYİ)
10 m (30 ft)
(2014) [1]
Time zone UTC+3 (FET)
Postal code
Area code(s) (+90) 324
Licence plate 33
Website Mersin

Mersin (pronounced  [ˈmæɾsin] ) 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. The city was named after the aromatic plant Myrsine (Greek : Μυρσίνη) in the family Primulaceae, a myrtle that grows in abundance in the area (Turkish : mersin); the 17th-century traveler Evliya Çelebi wrote that there was also a clan named Mersinoğulları [2]

Mediterranean Sea Sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean between Europe, Africa and Asia

The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa and on the east by the Levant. Although the sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, it is usually identified as a separate body of water. Geological evidence indicates that around 5.9 million years ago, the Mediterranean was cut off from the Atlantic and was partly or completely desiccated over a period of some 600,000 years, the Messinian salinity crisis, before being refilled by the Zanclean flood about 5.3 million years ago.

Turkey Republic in Western Asia

Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental country located mainly in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. East Thrace, located in Europe, is separated from Anatolia by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorous strait and the Dardanelles. Turkey is bordered by Greece and Bulgaria to its northwest; Georgia to its northeast; Armenia, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan and Iran to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the south. Istanbul is the largest city, but more central Ankara is the capital. Approximately 70 to 80 per cent of the country's citizens identify as Turkish. Kurds are the largest minority; the size of the Kurdish population is a subject of dispute with estimates placing the figure at anywhere from 12 to 25 per cent of the population.

Çukurova Region in Adana, Turkey

Çukurova, alternatively known as Cilicia, is a geo-cultural region in south-central Turkey, covering the provinces of Mersin, Adana, Osmaniye and Hatay. With a population of almost 6 million, it is one of the largest population concentrations in Turkey.


Mersin is an important hub of Turkey's economy, and Turkey's largest seaport is located in the city. Mersin's nickname within Turkey is "Pearl of the Mediterranean" (Turkish: Akdeniz'in İncisi) and the city hosted the 2013 Mediterranean Games. Mersin is the provincial capital of the eponymous Mersin Province of Turkey.

Port of Mersin

The Port of Mersin, aka Mersin International Port (MIP), is a major port located on the north-eastern coast of Mediterranean Sea at Mersin in southern Turkey. It is the country's second largest port after Ambarli, near Istanbul. Owned by the Turkish State Railways (TCDD), its operating right is transferred on May 11, 2007 to PSA – Akfen consortium for a period of 36 years.

2013 Mediterranean Games 17th edition of the Mediterranean Games

The 2013 Mediterranean Games, officially known as the XVII Mediterranean Games, was an international multi-sport event held in the tradition of the Mediterranean Games, as governed by the International Committee of Mediterranean Games (ICMG). The host city of the Games was Mersin, Turkey, as announced after an on-line poll conducted on 23 February 2011 by the ICMG. The games were held from 20 to 30 June 2013. Mersin is the second city in Turkey after İzmir to host the Mediterranean Games. All 24 member National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of the ICMG participated in the Games. The official programme for the Games is featuring events in 27 different sports.

Mediterranean Games sporting event

The Mediterranean Games are a multi-sport games held usually every four years, between nations around or very close to the Mediterranean Sea, where Europe, Africa, and Asia meet. The games are under the auspices of the International Committee of Mediterranean Games (CIJM).

As of 2014, the population of the city is 915,703 [1]


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.

9th millennium BC millennium

The 9th millennium BC spanned the years 9000 through 8001 BC. This marks the beginning of the Neolithic period.

John Garstang British archaeologist

John Garstang was a British archaeologist of the ancient Near East, especially Anatolia and the southern Levant. He was the younger brother of Professor Walter Garstang, FRS, a marine biologist and zoologist. Garstang is considered a pioneer in the development of scientific practices in archaeology as he kept detailed records of his excavations with extensive photographic records, which was a comparatively rare practice in early 20th-century archaeology

Yumuktepe Ruin mound in Turkey

Yumuktepe is a tell at 36°48′5″N34°36′14″E within the city borders of Mersin, Turkey. In 1936, the mound was on the outskirts of Mersin, but after a rapid increase of population, the mound was surrounded by the Toroslar municipality of Mersin.

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.

Hittites ancient Anatolian people who established an empire

The Hittites were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing an empire centered on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1600 BC. This empire reached its height during the mid-14th century BC under Suppiluliuma I, when it encompassed an area that included most of Anatolia as well as parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia.

The Greeks or Hellenes are an ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus, southern Albania, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, other countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world.

Ancient Greece Civilization belonging to an early period of Greek history

Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. The Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.

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.

Roman Empire Period of Imperial Rome following the Roman Republic (27 BC–395 AD)

The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. An Iron Age civilization, it had a government headed by emperors and large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome. The Roman Empire was then divided between a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople, and it was ruled by multiple emperors.

Cilicia ancient region of Anatolia

In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor and existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia during the late Byzantine Empire. Extending inland from the southeastern coast of modern Turkey, Cilicia is due north and northeast of the island of Cyprus and corresponds to the modern region of Çukurova in Turkey.

Hadrian 2nd-century Roman Emperor

Hadrian was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus in Italica, near Santiponce, Spain into a Hispano-Roman family. His father was of senatorial rank and was a first cousin of Emperor Trajan. He married Trajan's grand-niece Vibia Sabina early in his career, before Trajan became emperor and possibly at the behest of Trajan's wife Pompeia Plotina. Plotina and Trajan's close friend and adviser Lucius Licinius Sura were well disposed towards Hadrian. When Trajan died, his widow claimed that he had nominated Hadrian as emperor immediately before his death.

After the death of the emperor Theodosius I in 395 and the subsequent permanent division of the Roman Empire, Mersin fell into what became the Byzantine Empire.

The city was an episcopal see under the Patriarchate of Antioch. Le Quien names four bishops of Zephyrium: [4] Aerius, present at the First Council of Constantinople in 381; Zenobius, a Nestorian, the writer of a letter protesting the removal of Bishop Meletius of Mopsuestia by Patriarch John of Antioch (429–441); Hypatius, present at the Council of Chalcedon in 451; and Peter, at the Council in Trullo in 692. The bishopric is included in the Catholic Church's list of titular sees, but since the Second Vatican Council no new titular bishop of this Eastern see has been appointed. [5]

The area of Cilicia was conquered by the Arabs in the early 7th century, by which time it appears it was a deserted site. After them came the Egyptian Tulunids, the Byzantines 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 1909, Mersin's port hosted 645 steamships and 797,433 tons of goods. Before World War I, Mersin exported mainly sesame seeds, cottonseed, cakes and cereals, cotton, and livestock. Cotton was exported to Europe, grain to Turkey, and livestock to Egypt. Coal was the most prevalent import into Mersin at this time. Messageries Maritimes was the largest shipping line to use the port at Mersin. [6]

In 1918, Mersin was occupied by French and British troops in accordance with the Treaty of Sevrès. It was recovered by the Turkish army in 1921. In 1924, Mersin was made a province, and in 1933 Mersin and İçel provinces were joined to form the (greater Mersin) İçel province.

As of 1920, Mersin had five piers at its port, with one privately owned by a railroad company serving Mersin, Tarsus, and Adana. [7]


Mersin has a typical Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa), a type of subtropical climate with hot and dry summers and warm and wet winters. Mersin has its highest rainfall in winter; mainly December and January which gives Mersin its healthy, nurtured coastline. The driest months are summer with hardly any rainfall at all.

Climate data for Mersin (1950–2015)
Record high °C (°F)25.2
Average high °C (°F)14.7
Daily mean °C (°F)10.1
Average low °C (°F)6.3
Record low °C (°F)−6.3
Average precipitation mm (inches)112.9
Average rainy days10.
Mean monthly sunshine hours 173.6159.6210.8228272.8303316.2310282241.8177151.92,826.7
Source: Devlet Meteoroloji İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü [8]

Mersin today

Mertim Tower 126 Mersin.07.2006 resize.JPG
Mertim Tower

Today, Mersin is a large city spreading out along the coast, with Turkey's second tallest skyscraper[ citation needed ] (the 52-floor Mertim Tower, which was the tallest skyscraper in Turkey for 13 years between 1987 and 2000, until the completion of the İş Bankası Towers in Istanbul), huge hotels, an opera house, expensive real estate near the sea or up in the hills, and many other modern urban amenities.The seaside of Mersin is the longest seaside in Turkey as well as in Eastern Mediterranean. The population of the city was 940,418 (Mersin Provinces 1,705,774) according to 2013 estimates. The population of the sub municipalities within Greater Mersin is shown below: [9]

Name of the municipalityPopulation 2011Population 2013
Akdeniz 274,684279,383
Mezitli 133,378158,482
Toroslar 252,706277,658
Yenişehir 198,912224,995

The Metropolitan Municipality is now trying to rescue the sea front with walkways, parks and statues, and there are still palm trees on the roadsides especially where the young generation like to hang out in the cafés and patisseries of smart neighbourhoods such as Pozcu or Çamlıbel. These are established neighbourhoods where there are many well-known shops and restaurants with years of experience and reputations to protect. The city centre is a maze of narrow streets and arcades of little shops and cafes, with young people buzzing around on scooters. The old quarter near the fish market is where you will find the stalls selling tantuni and grilled liver sandwiches. The biggest shopping mall of the city, Forum Mersin is home to more than 100 shops [10] and attracts all kinds of people for shopping.

One of the most distinctive features of the city as a whole is the solar heating panels, they are everywhere, on top of every building.

Turkey now plans to construct its first nuclear power plant some 80 miles west of Mersin. [11] In March 2008, Turkey opened the bidding for the construction of the plant. Environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, oppose this plan. [11]


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

Economy and transportation

Historically, Mersin was a major producer of cottonseed oil. [12] The rural area around Mersin is famous for citrus and cotton production. Banana, olive and various fruits are also produced.

The port is the mainstay of Mersin's economy. There are 45 piers, a total port area of 785,000 square metres (194 acres), with a capacity of 6,000 ships per year.

Adjacent to the port is Mersin Free Zone established in 1986, the first free zone in Turkey, with warehouses, shops, assembly-disassembly, maintenance and engineering workshops, banking and insurance, packing-repacking, labelling and exhibition facilities. The zone is a publicly owned center for foreign investors, close to major markets in the (Middle East, North Africa, East and West Europe, Russian Federation and Central Asia. The trading volume of the free zone was USD 51,8 billion in 2002.

Mersin has highway connections to the north, east and west. Mersin is also connected to the southern railroad. Adana airport is 69 kilometres (43 mi).

70% of the male population and 46% of the female population is employed. Unemployment is about 6.7%.[ citation needed ]

Mersin port is an international hub for many vessels routing to European countries. It is now operated by PSA.

Mersin University

Mersin University was founded in 1992 and started teaching in 1993–1994, with 11 faculties, 6 schools and 9 vocational schools. The university has had about 10 thousand graduates, has broadened its current academic staff to more than 2,100 academicians, and enrolls 22,000 students.

Toros University, a private university is also in Mersin.


Mersin Halkevi Mersin Halkevi.jpg
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 associations Mersin Fotoğraf Derneği (MFD) and Mersin Olba Fotoğraf Derneği (MOF) are amongst 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) and Mediterranean Opera and Ballet Club. There are six museums within the urban fabric; Mersin Museum, Mersin Atatürk Museum, Mersin Naval Museum, Mersin State Art and Sculpture Museum, Mersin Urban History Museum, Mersin Water Museum.

Some of the largest mosques include the Muğdat Mosque, built in the name of a companion of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, Miqdad ibn Aswad, and the central Mersin Grand Mosque. The Old Mosque was built by Sultan Abdul Aziz in 1865 next to a foundation (vakıf).

The Mersin Interfaith Cemetery, sometimes also called Tolerance, is renowned for being a common cemetery of all religions. It includes graves of Muslims, Christians and Jews. [13] [14]

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.


The Mersin İdmanyurdu SK football club plays in the Süper Lig since the 2011–12 season. The men's basketball team of the Mersin Büyükşehir Belediyesi S.K. plays in the Turkish Basketball League while its women's basketball team plays in the Turkish Women's Basketball League.

The 10,128-seating capacity Tevfik Sırrı Gür Stadium is home to Mersin İdmanyurdu SK. Another football stadium in Mersin is the Mersin Olympic Stadium with 25,534 seating capacity. The men's and women's basketball teams of the Mersin Büyükşehir Belediyesi S.K. play their home matches at the Edip Buran Sport Hall, which has a seating capacity of 2,700.

Mersin hosted the 2013 Mediterranean Games. For this purpose, eleven new sports venues were built. The Servet Tazegül Arena, the fourth biggest indoor arena of Turkey with its 7,500 seating capacity, hosted the men's basketball events and the volleyball finals of the Games. [15] The athletics and paralympic athletics events were held at the Nevin Yanıt Athletics Complex. [16]

Mersin at night

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Mersin is twinned with:

Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

Adana Metropolitan municipality in Mediterranean, Turkey

Adana is a major city in southern Turkey. The city is situated on the Seyhan river, 35 km (22 mi) inland from the Mediterranean, in south-central Anatolia. It is the administrative seat of the Adana Province and has a population of 1.75 million, making it the 5th most populated city in Turkey. The Adana-Mersin polycentric metropolitan area, with a population of 3 million, stretches over 70 km (43 mi) east-west and 25 km (16 mi) north-south; encompassing the cities of Mersin, Tarsus and Adana.

Articles related to Turkey include:

Mersin Province Province of Turkey in Mediterranean

The Mersin Province is a province in southern Turkey, on the Mediterranean coast between Antalya and Adana. The provincial capital is the city of Mersin and the other major town is Tarsus, birthplace of St Paul. The province is part of Çukurova, a geographical, economical and cultural region, that covers the provinces of Mersin, Adana, Osmaniye and Hatay.

Pozantı Place in Adana, Turkey

Pozantı is a town and a district in the Adana Province of Turkey. The town is the at the highlands of Çukurova, and is the major gateway to the Mediterranean coasts. Pozantı stands in the foothills, at the bottom of a rare pass through these high mountains. The mayor is Mustafa Çay (MHP).

Mediterranean Region, Turkey Region of Turkey

The Mediterranean Region is a geographical region of Turkey.

Mersin İdmanyurdu Sports Club; located in Mersin, east Mediterranean coast of Turkey in 1963-1964. MİY was Turkey Amateur Champions in 1963. The 1963–64 season was the 1st season of Mersin İdmanyurdu football team in Second League, the second level division in Turkey. It was also the first season of the team in a professional league in Turkish football league system. The team also attended 1963–64 Turkish Cup and was eliminated at third round.

Mersin İdmanyurdu Sports Club; located in Mersin, east Mediterranean coast of Turkey in 1964-1965. The 1964–65 season was the 2nd season of Mersin İdmanyurdu football team in Second League, the second level division in Turkey. The team finished 1964–65 Second League at third place. The team also participated in 1964–65 Turkish Cup and was eliminated at third round.

Mersin İdmanyurdu Sports Club; located in Mersin, east Mediterranean coast of Turkey in 1965-1966. The 1965–66 season was the 3rd season of Mersin İdmanyurdu football team in Second League, the second level division in Turkey.

Yenişehir, Mersin District in Mersin Province, Turkey

Yenişehir is a municipality and district governorate in Greater Mersin, Turkey. Mersin is one of the 30 metropolitan centers in Turkey with more than one municipality within city borders. In Mersin there are four second-level municipalities in addition to Greater Mersin (büyükşehir) municipality.

Mersin Harbor

Mersin Harbor is a seaport facility in Mersin, southern Turkey. As one of the largest harbors in the country, it is Turkey's main gateway to the Mediterranean Sea. It was constructed during the 1950s as a major government project.

Cleopatras Gate

Cleopatra's Gate is a city gate of Tarsus, in Mersin Province, Turkey, named after the Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII.

Mersin Province is a Mediterraneran province of Turkey. The south eastern plain of the province is a part of Çukurova. But most of the province is mountainous with a number of small alluvial plains at the coastal band. Below are the transport facilities of the province.

The Kaç Kaç incident is a popular phrase referring to the escape of 40,000 Turkish people from Çukurova during the Franco-Turkish War. Çukurova is a loosely defined region in southern Turkey which covers most of the modern Turkish provinces of Mersin, Adana, Osmaniye, and Hatay.

Mersin İdman Yurdu sports club in Turkey

Mersin İdman Yurdu or Mersin İdmanyurdu is a Turkish sports club from Mersin, Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean Region. The team played in the Turkish first division for 11 seasons, and after the 1983–84 season the football team played in the Turkish second and third divisions. The team was promoted to the Turkish second level division after the 2008–09 season. MİY became the champions of the Turkish second division during the 2010–11 season and earned promotion to the Turkish Süper Lig during the 2011–12 season. Previous ground of the team was 10,125 capacity Tevfik Sırrı Gür Stadium. In 2013, their new 25,534 person capacity stadium, New Mersin Stadium, was inaugurated on 23 March 2013 with a TFF First League match against Gaziantep Büyükşehir Belediyespor. Their main rivals are Adana Demirspor, Adanaspor and Tarsus İdmanyurdu, and are friendly with Bucaspor.

İsmet İnönü Boulevard is a major avenue in Mersin, Turkey. It is named after İsmet İnönü (1884-1973), the second president of Turkish Republic between 1938 and 1950.

The Lütfullah Aksungur Sports Hall is an indoor arena for handball competitions located in Adana, Turkey. It has a seating capacity of 1,750. The venue was built in 1994. Owned by Çukurova University, the venue is named in honor of Prof. Dr. Lütfullah Aksungur (1925-1986), a dermatologist and founding dean of the university as well as its rector between 1977 and 1980.

Sports venues in Mersin

Below is the list of sport venues in Mersin, Turkey. Some of these were constructed for the 2013 Mediterranean Games.

Adana Vilayet Ottoman province

The Vilayet of Adana (Ottoman Turkish: ولايت اطنه, Vilâyet-i Adana‎; was a first-level administrative division of the Ottoman Empire in the south-east of Asia Minor, which encompassed the region of Cilicia. It was established in May 1869. Adana Vilayet bordered with Konya Vilayet, Ankara Vilayet and Sivas Vilayet, and Haleb Vilayet. Adana Vilayet corresponds to the modern region of Çukurova in Turkey.

Mersin İdmanyurdu Sports Club; located in Mersin, east Mediterranean coast of Turkey in 1961–62. Mersin İdmanyurdu (MİY) football team.



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  1. "December 2013 address-based calculation of the Turkish Statistical Institute as presented by".