The Eastern Mediterranean Coast

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Mark Antony gave the lovely Cilician shores, the land between Alanya and the Syrian Border to Cleopatra as a wedding present. Also associated with the region's past is St. Paul a native of Tarsus. Today the region is known for its fertile soil which produces abundant crops and for the hospitality of the region's denizens. Surrounded by densely cultivated market gardens, Mersln, the provincial capital of Icel, lies midway on the eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Its shady palm-lined avenues, city park and modern hotels create a pleasant ambience from which to visit the nearby historical sites and numerous beaches. A rapidly developing city and the largest free zone port on the Turkish Mediterranean, Mersin has a regular car ferry service to Gazimagosa (Famagusta) in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. In the fish market, sample the fresh catch in one of the several inexpensive restaurants. Other local delicacies include cezire, a local confection of carrots rolled around a walnut center and biberli ekmek a small pizza topped with a spicy meatless sauce. Despite its very modern appearance, Mersin occupies the site of an extremely ancient city. At the Yumuktepe tumulus, three km west of town, excavations have unearthed ceveral successive settlements dating back to the Neolithic Age.