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Antakya is the seat of the Hatay Province in southern Turkey, near the border with Syria. In ancient times the city was known as Antioch and has historical significance for Christianity, being the place where the followers of Jesus Christ were called Christians for the very first time. The city and its massive walls also played an important role during the Crusades.
Antakya is located on the banks of the Orontes River (Turkish: Asi Nehri), approximately 22 km (14 mi) inland from the Mediterranean coast. It enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers, and mild and wet winters; however due to its higher altitude, Antakya has slightly cooler temperatures than the coast. The city is in a valley surrounded by mountains, the Nur Mountains to the north and Mount Keldağ (Jebel Akra to the south, with the 440 m high Mount Habib Neccar (ancient Silpius) forming its eastern limits. The mountains are a source of a green marble. Antakya is at the northern edge of the Dead Sea Rift and vulnerable to earthquakes.

The plain of Amik to the north-east of the city is fertile soil watered by the Orontes, the Karasu River and the Afrin River, the lake in the plain was drained in 1980 by a French company. At the same time channels were built to widen the Orontes River and let it pass neatly through the city centre. The Orontes is joined in Antakya by the Hacı Kürüş stream to the north-east of the city near the church of St Peter, and the Hamşen which runs down from Habib-i Neccar to the south-west, under Memekli Bridge near the army barracks. Flora includes the bay trees and myrtle.
The city of Antakya today
Mount Habib Neccar and the city walls which climb the hillsides symbolise Antakya, making the city a formidable fortress built on a series of hills running north-east to south-west. Antakya was originally centred on the eastern bank of the river but since the 19th century the city has expanded with new neighbourhoods built on the plains across the river to the south-west, and there are four bridges across the river linking the old and new cities. However, as in so much of Turkey, the buildings of the last two decades are all concrete blocks, and Antakya has lost much of its classic beauty. The narrow streets of the old city can be clogged with traffic.

Although the port of Iskenderun has become the largest city in Hatay, Antakya is a provincial capital still of considerable importance as the centre of a large district, growing in wealth and productiveness with the draining of Lake Amik. The town is a lively shopping and business centre with many restaurants, cinemas and other amenities, centred on a large park opposite the governor’s building and the central avenue Kurtuluş Caddesı. The tea gardens, cafes and restaurants in the neighbourhood of Harbiye are one of the city’s most popular spots, particularly for the variety of meze in the restaurants. The Orontes River is rather smelly when water is low in summer. Although the people are generally modern in outlook, there is little in the way of wild night life. In the summer heat people will stay outside until late in the night walking with their families and friends and munching on snacks.

Being so near the Syrian border Antakya is a cosmopolitan city unlike most of the cities in Turkey today, and it has not experienced the 1980s and 1990s mass immigration of people from eastern Anatolia that has radically swelled the populations of other Mediterranean cities such as Adana and Mersin. As a result both Turkish and Arabic are still widely spoken in Antakya although you do not see Arabic written very much. A mixed community of faiths and demoninations co-exist peacefully here; although almost all the inhabitants are Muslim a substantial proportion adhere to the Alevi and the Arab Nusayri traditions, in ‘Harbiye’ there is a place to honour the Nusayri saint Hızır. There are a number of tombs of Muslim saints, both Sunni and Alevi, throughout the city. There are also still small active Christian communities in the city, the largest church being St Peter and St Paul on Hurriyet Caddesi. With its long history of spiritual and religious movements Antakya is still a place of pilgrimage for Christians and Muslims and furthermore still carries a reputation in Turkey as a centre of spells, fortune telling, miracles and spirits.

Local crafts include a soap scented with oil of bay tree.
The cuisine of Antakya is renowned. Popular dishes include the typical Turkish kebab, served in Antakya with spices and onions in flat unleavened bread, or with yoghurt as ali nazik kebab. Hot spicy food is a feature of this part of Turkey, along with Turkish coffee and local specialities including:


Mosque and Churches

Hatay is an important center of religious tourism, which is the world's first Catholic Church is the Church of Saint-Pierre. Which has an important place in the history of Christianity in Hatay, as well as one of the four major patriarchal center.

St. Simon Stylite Monastery, Monastery and Keldağ Barleam Yayladağı Barleam important monasteries monastery.

Habib Najjar Mosque, Mosque and Mausoleum of Sheikh Ahmed Kuseyri, Sokullu Mehmet Pasha Mosque, and Grand Mosque is worth seeing Payas Sokullu complex


Surrounded by high walls around Antakya Seleukus period. Habib Najjar 360 watch towers on the walls and the high and steep mountain still remains at the top of the castle there was an internal.


In order to control the severe floods of river also Hacıkürüş Habib Najjar deep and narrow valley that separates Haçdağı'nı Mountain and is a continuation of the walls were high and solid as a wall. At the same time, this used to be one of the entrances to the city walls are still standing today.



Of Antakya Reyhanli, on the Orontes River. Antioch Middle Ages, the region's most important passes and the defense of the bridge played a major role. And both ends of the bridge, which was made of stone towers collapsed towers and gates, but the bridge is still in use.

Dana Ahmetli Bridge: Kirikhan Plain, on the River Blackwater. 6-eyed stone bridge. 16. Century, supposed to be built by Mimar Sinan.



Trump Castle

(Kürşat Castle), thought to have been made on time the Principality of Antioch made of large stone blocks of the castle still stands, two sign.

Bakras Castle

Antioch - İskenderun highway 27 km. is determined in the road for 4 km. inside, on a steep hill up to the castle which was established as a multi-layer is still intact in many space.

Payas Castle

In 1567 in a restored Ottoman castle with moat. In the last century was used as a prison.

Catapult Castle

Payas - Dortyol was built in 1290 on a steep hill between. There is very little residue.

China Tower

The castle of the port, the port of an outpost to protect the tower was built in 1577.

Darbısak Castle

Kirikhan of the Hassa, Kırıkhan'a 4 km. located on a hill. Castle on Bastami Beyazid blow-Sak. 19. built a mosque and tomb of the late century. Every year, thousands of people will visit.

Inns, baths

Almost all of Antioch in the past centuries, many inns and baths are built by private foundations. Cultural characteristics of the past are still working inn and baths, architectural structure, brought to this day. Cindi Bath, Saka Bath, Square Bath, new baths, leaded Han, Han Sokullu is the one still used today.

Archaeological sites

St. Pierre Church - Antioch / Kuruyer

Atçhana Ruins - Reyhanli (Merruş) / from K.

Çevlik Ruins - Samandağ / Kapısuyu Village

War (Water flea)

7 km from Antalya city center. from each side of the foliage is a beautiful picnic spot. Daphne is a city famous for the ancient era. According to legend, the god of light, Apollo, son of Zeus, where the river on the edge of a beautiful young girl who falls in love with Daphne and want to talk to him. Daphne buckets. Daphne knows not survive. "O mother earth cover me, hide me, protect me," he pleads. Daphne turns into a tree. Apollo surprised. After this incident, the triumph of poetry and weapons bay tree branch Lasts waterfalls in the military academy and is believed to bring tears to Defne. Seleucid period, and a world-renowned seaside resort known for its waterfalls, Defne, numerous pavilions, temples, famous for its entertainment venues. Legendary in the splendor of the Olympics stadium. But the severe earthquake razed the city, since there is no any visible trace.




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