Last updated
Goksu in Silifke.jpg
Göksu river in Silifke
Turkey adm location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Coordinates: 36°22′34″N33°55′56″E / 36.37611°N 33.93222°E / 36.37611; 33.93222 Coordinates: 36°22′34″N33°55′56″E / 36.37611°N 33.93222°E / 36.37611; 33.93222
CountryFlag of Turkey.svg  Turkey
Province Mersin
  MayorMustafa Turgut (CHP)
   Kaymakam Fatih Damatlar
  District2,571.84 km2 (992.99 sq mi)
 (2012) [2]
  District density44/km2 (120/sq mi)

Silifke (Greek : Σελεύκεια, Seleukeia, Latin : Seleucia ad Calycadnum) is a town and district in south-central Mersin Province, Turkey, 80 km (50 mi) west of the city of Mersin, on the west end of Çukurova.

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

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.

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.


Silifke is near the Mediterranean coast, on the banks of the Göksu River, which flows from the nearby Taurus Mountains, surrounded by attractive countryside along the river banks.

Göksu river in Turkey

The Göksu is a river on the Taşeli plateau (Turkey). Both its sources arise in the Taurus Mountains—the northern in the Geyik Mountains and the southern in the Haydar Mountains. Their confluence is south of Mut.

Taurus Mountains mountain range

The Taurus Mountains, are a mountain complex in southern Turkey, separating the Mediterranean coastal region of southern Turkey from the central Anatolian Plateau. The system extends along a curve from Lake Eğirdir in the west to the upper reaches of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in the east. It is a part of the Alpide belt in Eurasia.


Silifke was formerly called Seleucia on the Calycadnus variously cited over the centuries as Seleucia [in] Cilicia, Seleucia [in,of] Isauria, Seleucia Trachea, and Seleucia Tracheotis. The city took its name from its founder, King Seleucus I Nicator. [3] The ancient city of Olba (Turkish : Oura) was also within the boundaries of modern-day Silifke. The modern name derives from the Latin Seleucia which comes from the Greek Σελεύκεια.

Seleucus I Nicator general of Alexander the Great and founder of the Seleucid Empire

Seleucus I Nicator was one of the Diadochi. Having previously served as an infantry general under Alexander the Great, he eventually assumed the title of basileus and established the Seleucid Empire over much of the territory in the Near East which Alexander had conquered.

Olba (ancient city)

Olba or Olbe was an ancient city and bishopric in the Roman province of Isauria, in present-day southern Turkey. It is included in the Catholic Church's list of Latin titular sees.

Turkish language Turkic language mainly spoken and used in Turkey

Turkish, also referred to as Istanbul Turkish, and sometimes known as Turkey Turkish, is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages, with around ten to fifteen million native speakers in Southeast Europe and sixty to sixty-five million native speakers in Western Asia. Outside Turkey, significant smaller groups of speakers exist in Germany, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, the Caucasus, and other parts of Europe and Central Asia. Cyprus has requested that the European Union add Turkish as an official language, even though Turkey is not a member state.



Located a few miles from the mouth of the Göksu River, Seleucia was founded by Seleucus I Nicator in the early 3rd century BCE, one of several cities he named after himself. It is probable that there were already towns called Olbia (or Olba) and Hyria and that Seleucus I merely united them giving them his name. The city grew to include the nearby settlement of Holmi (in modern-day Taşucu) which had been established earlier as an Ionian colony but being on the coast was vulnerable to raiders and pirates. [4] The new city up river was doubtless seen as safer against attacks from the sea so Seleucia achieved considerable commercial prosperity as a port for this corner of Cilicia (later named Isauria), and was even a rival of Tarsus. [3]

Holmi or Holmoi, or Holmia, also possibly called Hermia, was a town of Cilicia Tracheia, a little to the south-west of Seleucia ad Calycadnum; during the period after Alexander the Great its inhabitants were transferred to form the population of the neighbouring Seleuceia. The Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax describes it as deserted.

Taşucu is a small town of Silifke, Mersin Province, Turkey. It obtained the status of Municipality after the local elections in Turkey, 1955. By the new regulations on the constitution, it legally got the status of Mahalle again in 2014. The population was 8,847 as of 2012.

Ionia region in Turkey

Ionia was an ancient region on the central part of the western coast of Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements. Never a unified state, it was named after the Ionian tribe who, in the Archaic Period, settled mainly the shores and islands of the Aegean Sea. Ionian states were identified by tradition and by their use of Eastern Greek.

Cilicia thrived as a province of the Romans, and Seleucia became a religious center with a renowned 2nd century Temple of Jupiter. It was also the site of a noted school of philosophy and literature, the birthplace of peripatetics Athenaeus and Xenarchus. [5] The stone bridge was built by the governor L.Octavius Memor in 77 AD. Around 300 AD Isauria was established as an independent state with Seleucia as the capital.

Roman Empire Period of Imperial Rome following the Roman Republic (27 BC–476 AD)

The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of ancient Rome, consisting of large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean sea in Europe, North Africa and West Asia ruled by emperors. From the accession of Caesar Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, it was a principate with Italy as metropole of the provinces and its city of Rome as sole capital. The Roman Empire was then ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when it sent the imperial insignia to Constantinople following the capture of Ravenna by the barbarians of Odoacer and the subsequent deposition of Romulus Augustus. The fall of the Western Roman Empire to Germanic kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Temple structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities

A temple is a building reserved for religious or spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. It is typically used for such buildings belonging to all faiths where a more specific term such as church, mosque or synagogue is not generally used in English. These include Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism among religions with many modern followers, as well as other ancient religions such as Ancient Egyptian religion.

Philosophy Study of general and fundamental questions

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?


Early Christian bishops held a Council of Seleucia in [6] 325, 359, and 410. Seleucia was famous for the tomb of the virgin Saint Thecla of Iconium, converted by Saint Paul, who died at Seleucia, [7] the tomb was one of the most celebrated in the Christian world and was restored several times, among others by the Emperor Zeno in the 5th century, and today the ruins of the tomb and sanctuary are called Meriamlik. [8] In the 5th century the imperial governor (comes Isauriae) in residence at Seleucia had two legions at his disposal, the Legio II Isaura and the Legio III Isaura. From this period, and perhaps later, dates the Christian necropolis, west of the town, which contains many tombs of Christian soldiers. [9] According to the Notitia Episcopatuum of the Patriarchate of Antioch, in the 6th century, the Metropolitan of Seleucia had twenty-four suffragan sees. [10]

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religious system of beliefs and practices based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures of Judaism, called Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament.

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

The Council of Seleucia was an early Christian church synod at Seleucia Isauria.

Lead seal of Paul, Metropolitan of Seleucia (8th/9th century) Seal of Paul, Metropolitan of Seleucia, 8th-9th centuries.jpg
Lead seal of Paul, Metropolitan of Seleucia (8th/9th century)

In 705 Seleucia was captured by the Arab armies of Islam and was recovered by the Byzantines. Thus by 732 nearly all the ecclesiastical province of Isauria was incorporated into the Patriarchate of Constantinople; henceforth the province figures in the Notitiae of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, but under the name of Pamphylia .

In the Notitiae of Leo VI the Wise (ca. 900) Seleucia had 22 suffragan bishoprics; [11] in that of Constantine Porphyrogenitus (ca 940) it had 23. [12] In 968 Antioch again fell into the power of the Byzantines, and with the Province of Isauria, Seleucia was allocated to the Patriarchate of Antioch. [13] We know of several metropolitans of this see, the first of whom, Agapetus, attended the Council of Nicaea in 325; Neonas was at the Council of Seleucia in 359; Symposius at the Council of Constantinople in 381; Dexianus at the Council of Ephesus in 431; Basil, a celebrated orator and writer, whose conduct was rather ambiguous at the Second Council of Ephesus and at the beginning of the Council of Chalcedon in 451; Theodore was at the Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553; Macrobius at the Sixth Ecumenical Council and the Council in Trullo in 692.

No longer a residential see, Seleucia in Isauria has been included in the list of titular sees of the Catholic Church, which has made no new appointments of a titular bishop to this eastern see since the Second Vatican Council. [14]

Turkish period

In the 11th century, the city was captured by the Seljuk Turks; they met with resistance and in 1137, Seleucia was besieged by Leon of Cilician Armenia. During this period of struggle between Armenians, Byzantines, Crusaders, and Turks, a stronghold was built on the heights overlooking the city. On June 10, 1190, the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa was drowned trying to cross the Calycadnus, [3] near Seleucia during the Third Crusade.

In the 13th century Seleucia was in the possession of the Hospitallers, who lost it to the Karamanid Principality in the second half of the 13th century, and then it ended up in the hands of the Ottomans under general Gedik Ahmet Pasha in 1471.

Until 1933, Silifke was the capital of İçel Province, but then, İçel and Mersin provinces were merged. The merged province took the name of İçel but with its administrative centre at Mersin. Finally in 2002 the name of İçel was replaced with that of Mersin.


The economy of the district depends on agriculture, tourism and raising livestock. The town of Silifke is as a market for the coastal plain, which produces beans, peanuts, sesame, banana, orange, lemon, cotton, grapes, lentils, olives, tobacco, and canned fruits and vegetables. An irrigation project located at Silifke supplies the fertile Göksu delta. In recent years there has been a large investment in glasshouses for producing strawberries and other fruit and vegetables in the winter season.

Silifke is also an industrial town, well-connected with other urban areas and producing beverages, chemicals, clothes, footwear, glass, plastics, pottery, and textiles.


Silifke has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa) with hot and dry summers and mild and wet winters.

Climate data for Silifke
Average high °C (°F)14
Average low °C (°F)6
Average precipitation mm (inches)170
Average rainy days95442000014938
Average relative humidity (%)62656262676567665855616563
Source: Weatherbase [15]

Administrative structure



Main sights

Life and culture

The Turkmen community of Silifke has a strong tradition of folk music and dance including songs such as The Yogurt of Silifke (where the dancers imitate the actions of making yogurt) and another one where they wave wooden spoons about as they dance.

The cuisine includes breakfast of leaves of unleavened bread ( bazlama ) with a dry sour cottage cheese (çökelek) or fried meats. Many other dishes feature bulgur wheat. The annual Silifke Yoghurt Festival takes place in May.

See also

Related Research Articles

Seleucia was the first capital of the Seleucid Empire and one of the great cities of antiquity but is now an abandoned ruin.

Seleucia Pieria city

Seleucia in Pieria, also known in English as Seleucia by the Sea, and later named Suedia, was a Hellenistic town, the seaport of Antioch ad Orontes, the Seleucid capital, modern Antakya (Turkey). The city was built slightly to the north of the estuary of the river Orontes, between small rivers on the western slopes of the Coryphaeus, one of the southern summits of the Amanus Mountains.

Seleucia Sidera

Seleucia Sidera, also transliterated as Seleuceia, Seleukeia, and later known as Claudioseleucia, Greek Klaudioseleukeia, was an ancient city in the northern part of Pisidia, Anatolia, near the village of Bayat, near Atabey, about 15 km North-northeast of Isparta, Isparta Province, in the Mediterranean Region of Turkey.

Claudiopolis (Cilicia)

Claudiopolis also called Ninica and Ninica Claudiopolis, was an ancient city of Cilicia. Ammianus mentions Seleucia and Claudiopolis as cities of Cilicia, or of the country drained by the Calycadnus; and Claudiopolis was a colony of Claudius Caesar. It is described by Theophanes of Byzantium as situated in a plain between the two Taurus Mountains, a description which exactly, corresponds to the position of the basin of the Calycadnus. Claudiopolis may therefore be represented by Mut, which is higher up the valley than Seleucia, and near the junction of the northern and western branches of the Calycadnus. It is also the place to which the pass over the northern Taurus leads from Laranda. Pliny mentions a Claudiopolis of Cappadocia, and Ptolemy has a Claudiopolis in Cataonia. Both these passages and those of Ammianus and Theophanes are cited to prove that there is a Claudiopolis in Cataonia, though it is manifest that the passage in Ammianus at least can only apply to a town in the valley of the Calycadnus in Cilicia Trachea. The two Tauri of Theophanes might mean the Taurus and Antitaurus. But Hierocles places Claudiopolis in Isauria, a description which cannot apply to the Claudiopolis(es) of Pliny and Ptolemy. The city apparently received the Roman colony name Colonia Iulia Felix Augusta Ninica, and minted coins in antiquity.

Dalisandus or Dalisandos was a city in Isauria, near the river Cydnus. It is considered to have been near Sınabiç, 6 km north of Claudiopolis, Turkey.

Tokmar Castle castle ruin in Turkey

Tokmar Castle is a castle ruin in Mersin Province, Turkey

Seleucia (theme) theme of the Byzantine Empire

The Theme of Seleucia was a Byzantine theme in the southern coast of Asia Minor, headquartered at Seleucia.

Taşköprü (Silifke)

Silifke Bridge is a historical bridge in Mersin Province, Turkey.

Tekfur ambarı

Tekfur ambarı is a large cistern in Silifke district of Mersin Province, Turkey. A part of the city of Silifke, it is situated to the west of city center and to the east of Silifke castle at 36°23′N33°55′E. It was built during the early years of Byzantine Empire. The building material is face stone. The west to east dimension is 46 metres (151 ft) and the north to south dimension is 23 metres (75 ft). The depth of the cistern is 14 metres (46 ft). The total water capacity is about 12 000 tonnes. At the east side of the cistern there is a spiral staircase. There are 8 nisches at the 46 m dimension and 5 nisches at the 23 m dimension.

Silifke Castle castle ruin

Silifke Castle is a medieval castle in Turkey.

Meydan Castle

Meydankale is the archaeological site of a ruined castle in Mersin Province, Turkey.


Imbriogon was an ancient place in Cilicia Trachea, whose modern name is Demircili in Silifke district, in Mersin province, Turkey. It lay on the road from Seleukia in the Kalykadnos to Diocaesarea (Uzuncaburç), about 8 kilometres north of Seleukia.

İçil was the name of a sanjak in Turkey

Temple of Jupiter (Silifke)

Ruins of Temple of Jupiter refers to an archaeological site in Silifke, Turkey.

Taşucu Seka Harbor

Taşucu Seka Harbor is a harbor in Turkey. Taşucu is a town in Silifke ilçe (district) of Mersin Province. It is situated to the west of the Göksu River and it is the main port of the settlements in the Göksu River valley.

Olba Aqueduct Roman aqueduct in Mersin Province, southern Turkey

Olba Aqueduct is a ruined Roman aqueduct in Mersin Province, southern Turkey.

Uzuncaburç (Diokaisareia) Archaeological site in Turkey

Uzuncaburç is an archaeological site in Mersin Province, Turkey, containing the remnants of the ancient city of Diokaisareia or Diocaesarea.


  1. "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  2. "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
  3. 1 2 3 Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Seleucia"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 24 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 603.
  4. Stephanus of Byzantium; Strabo, XIV, 670)
  5. Classical Gazetteer, page 312
  6. (variously cited)
  7. Acta Pauli et Theclae , an apocryphal work of the 2nd century
  8. (Denkschriften der k. Akadem. der Wissenschaft. philos.-histor. Klasse, Vienna, XLIV, 6, 105-08)
  9. Edwards, Robert W., "Seleukeia (Cilicia)" (2016). The Eerdmans Encyclopedia of Early Christian Art and Archaeology, ed., Paul Corby Finney. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 491. ISBN   978-0-8028-9017-7.
  10. (Echoes d'Orient, X, 145)
  11. Heinrich Gelzer, Ungedruckte . . . Texte der Notitiae episcopatuum, 557.
  12. (Georgii Cyprii descriptio orbis romani, ed. Gelzer, 76)
  13. (Gelzer, op. cit., 573)
  14. Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN   978-88-209-9070-1), p. 968