Area: 5.403 km²
Population: 1.109.754 (1990)
Traffic Code: 31
The appealing property and the reason of the migrations throughout the history to the Antakya region is the suitable and appropriate climate conditions and the productive and fertile lands. Beside these two facts another important characteristic of the region is its being at the intersection point of the road which connects Anatolia to Syria and Palestine over Çukurova. In addition, the most convenient ports for suitable routes to Mediterranean from Mesopotamia are also located in this region. With its current faith tourism centers, ancient cities and beautiful plateaus, the province of Hatay has a high potential for tourism.
Districts: The districts of Hatay province are; Altınözü, Belen Dörtyol, Erzin, Hassa, İskenderun, Kırıkhan, Kumlu , Reyhanlı, Samandağ and Yayladağı.
Belen: It was founded on the most important transition point connecting Mediterranean to Amik Plain over Amanos Mountains. The district was developed around the caravanserais, mosques and baths built by Kanuni Sultan Süleyman in 1550. Soğukoluk (Güzelyayla) and Atik plateaus attract the most attention during summer months.
How to Get
Reaching to Hatay province from Istanbul and Ankara is possible via E-5 highway. Other possible means of transportation are the railway and the sea. The railway station and the port are located inside İskenderun District.
Telephone of the Bus Station: (+ 90 – 326) 214 91 97
Railway Station Tel: (+ 90 – 326) 614 00 44 – 614 00 45 – 614 00 46
Where to Visit
MUSEUMS AND ANCIENT CITIES
Hatay Archeology Museum (Antakya Mosaic Museum): The museum is the second place in the world with its richness in mosaic collection and in the third place with its richness of coin collection. Various jewelry, statues, tombs and archeological findings belonging to various periods discovered at the excavations executed in Harbiye, Antakya, Aççana, Çevlik and İskenderun are exhibited in the museum.
Harbiye (Daphne): The ancient city is located 7 km away from Antakya city center and is a beautiful promenade place. This ancient city is the famous city of Daphne of the ancient ages. According to the legend, Apollo, son of Zeus and god of light sees a young and beautiful lady named Daphne and falls in love with her. The god wants to speak and tell her his love. But the afraid young Daphne starts to run away from the god. After a short chase, Daphne understands that she could not escape from the god. She prays “O mother earth, cover me, hide me, protect me”. Then Daphne was transformed into a tree under the astonished looks of Apollo. After this event the victories of poetry and warfare starts to be awarded by the branch of the Daphne tree. Another rumor is that the waterfalls of Harbiye was formed from the tears of Daphne. The city of Daphne was famous with its waterfalls in Selevkos periods and was a worldwide famous promenade place. There were numerous mansions, temples and entertainment facilities. The arranged Olympic games at the stadium of the city was legendary. However severe earthquakes had destroyed this beautiful ancient city and there have been no visual structures or artworks left.
Harbiye is now a famous and beautiful promenade place located at a plateau and also is an important district with the discovered and uncovered statues and touristic souvenirs. The natural silk clothing produced in the district with workbenches are highly demanded both in the country and abroad.
Tel Aççana: The ancient city is located on the Antakya – Reyhanlı highway. There are two palace ruins from 5th century B.C. 17 different settlement layers were determined. The archeological findings discovered here are exhibited in Hatay Archeology Museum.
Kinet Tumulus: It is at the vicinity of Dörtyol. The excavations are still in progress. At this excavations remnants of various periods were discovered.
Necropolis: Rock and earthen burial grounds were discovered in Kuzuculu and Karakese belonging to the 2nd – 3rd A.D and 4th – 5th centuries A.D , respectively. From the executed excavations, tombs, glass bottles and pots, cooked earthen pots, oil lamps and signets was discovered.
Ceylanlı: This locality was a settlement place in the Byzantine and Gündüzoğu Domain periods and there are ruins scattered in the region. The nearby rocks contain rock tombs with inscriptions on them.
İmma: There was a settlement place in the vicinity of Reyhanlı, on the Antakya – Cilvegözü road which was known as “İmma”, place of settlement during ancient times.This location is famous for its promenade areas and tea gardens in the present day.
Tainat: The ruins of a Hittite palace and temple was discovered at the excavations in Tainat. The findings are exhibited in Hatay Archeology Museum.
Çevlik: This ancient city was founded by Seleukos Nikator in 300 B.C. In order to prevent the filling of the inner part by the floods from mountains, a tunnel construction was initiated in the period of Emperor Vespesian but this tunnel was completed only in the period of Titus. The most frequently visited location is the Beşikli Cave in which the rock tombs are present.
Dor Temple: It is possible to spot the ruins of pillars over a dominant hill at the Çevlik locality of Kapısuyu region .
Water Channels: It is still possible to see the ruins of the 10 km long channels and bridges, which was constructed to bring water to Antakya from Harbiye (Daphne) waterfall in the periods of Seleukos and Roman civilizations. The only section that is inside the borders of Antakya is known as Memekli Bridge.
Mosques and Churches
Hatay is an important center for faith tourism and the first Catholic Church of the world, Saint Pierre Church is located inside the borders of Hatay province. Hatay holds an important place in the history of Christianity and is also one of the four great Patriarchate centers in the world.
The most important monasteries of the region are St. Simon Stylite Monastery, Yayladağı Barleam Monastery and Keldağı Barleam Monastery.
The important mosques of the region could be counted as Habib Neccar Mosque, Şeyh Ahmet Kuseyri Mosque and Mausoleum, Külliye of Sokullu Mehmet Paşa, Külliye of Payas Sokullu and Ulu Mosque.
Hatay Mosques and Churches
Ulu Mosque (Sultan Selim Mosque, Center): Ulus Mosque, which is known as the oldest structure of the city, is constructed on XVI. Century, and reflecting the initial period architecture of Islamism. It is demolished on 1987, and reconstructed at the same style.
Habibi Neccar Mosque (Center): Habibi Neccar Mosque is known as the first constructed mosque of the city. Mosque, which was constructed instead of an ancient Roman temple during Baybars period, was reconstructed during Ottoman period in 17th century as it had been damaged by an earthquake IXth century, but minaret had hold its former appearance. Under the structure reflecting the Ottoman architecture, there are three cemeteries that the public visit. This place is regarded as holy as it is thought to be the location where the event of Habib-ün Neccar mentioned in the Koran occured.
Magnificent Suleyman Mosque (Belen Mosque, Belen): It is constructed on 1553 by Kanuni Sultan Süleyman at Belen. Mosque is a cubic structure at west of caravansary.
Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Kulliye (Payas): It is a kulliye, which is composed of magnificent structures primarily a caravanserai and bazaar, hamam, mosque, theology school and castle. In the inscription on doors of Caravansary, it is written that it is constructed on 1574 “for being a permanent piece of art on mortal world” by grand vizier of Ottoman ruler, Yavuz Sultan Selim, Sokullu Mehmet Paşa. Courtyard of the mosque is organized as a theology school.
St. Pierre Church (Center): It is on the Antakya – Reyhanlı road and at feet of Habibi Neccar Mountain. It is believed that St. Pierre, which was turned into a church while it was a natural cavern, is the first church of the world. Also it was firstly called the persons who are following Jesus Chirst, as “Chirstian” in the history in this church.
Church, is an important religious center as being the place where one of the 12 saints of Jesus Christ, St. Pierre tried to spread the Christianity after death of Jesus Christ. On 1963, it is announced as a hajj place by Papa VI. Paul. Every year on 29th of June a ceremony is performed here.
There are mosaic residues at the floor and frisks on the walls of the church.
St. Simon Monastery (Samandağ): Baptism place, cistern and other architectural ruins can be seen in Saint Simon Monastery which is known to the center of the Leaving World Sect. Church.
It was constructed in the name of St. Simon in VI. A.D. It is believed that St. Simon retired into seclusion on 20 meters high column and lived there for 45 days.This experience of St. Simon has been recoreded to the Guinness Book of Records.The pedestal of the column can also be seen today.
RAMPARTS AND CASTLES
Antakya was surrounded by high ramparts at the Seleukus and Roman periods. There was 360 guard towers throughout the ramparts and there was a inner castle on the highest and steepest hill of the Habib Neccar Mountain.
Demirkapı: This rampart was constructed as a high and strong wall as the continuance of the ramparts over the deep and narrow valley separating Habib Neccar Mountain and Haç Mountain in order to control the impetuous floods coming from Hacıkürüş creek. This rampart was also used as an entrance gate to the city and is still standing.
Koz Castle (Kürşat Castle): The castle was assumed to be constructed in the period of Antakya Princedom and the two bastions constructed from large block stones are still standing.
Bakras Castle: The castle is located at the 27th kilometer of Antakya – İskenderun highway and is 4 km. inland from the road. The castle was constructed on a steep hill and is multi-layered. Most of the castle is intact in the present day.
Payas Castle: This is an Ottoman Castle which was restored in 1567 with its moat. It was used as a prison in the last century.
Mancınık (Catapult) Castle: The castle was constructed on a steep hill between the Payas – Dörtyol road in 1290. The castle is mostly in ruins.
Cin (Genie) Tower: The tower is located between the castle and the harbor in order to protect the harbor. It was constructed in 1577 as a guard tower.
Darbı – Sak Castle: The castle is located on a hill between Kırıkhan and Hassa and is 4 km. away from Kırıkhan. The Beyazid Bestami Office is in the Darbı – Sak Castle. A mosque and a mausoleum was constructed inside the castle at the end of 19th century. The castle is visited by thousands of tourists every year.
Demirköprü: The bridge is located on the Asi River between Antakya and Reyhanlı. The bridge is one of the most important passage way of Mediaeval Age and had played an important role in the defense of Antakya. The bridge was constructed from stones and there was towers and gates at the both ends. The towers now lay in ruins but the bridge is still in use.
Dana Ahmetli Bridge: The bridge is located on the Karasu River in Kırıkhan Plains. It is a six arched stone bridge. It is assumed that the bridge was constructed by Architect Sinan in 16th century.
INNS AND BATHS
There are numerous inns and baths inside Antakya district most of which were constructed by charitable establishments in the last century. The still operational inns and baths had carried the cultural properties and the architecture of the past into the present day. The still operational baths and inns are Cindy Bath, Sakae Bath, Meiden Bath, Yen Bath, Kurşunlu Inn and Sokullu Inn.
Belen – Güzelyayla (Soğukoluk)
Transportation: After the fork in the road leading to Sarımazı, it is 8 km. to Belen on a winding asphalt road which passes through a beautiful green area covered with forest. It is possible to make use of the minibuses that travel to Iskenderun and Belen.
Description: The highland tradition has continued for hundreds of year at Güzelyayla. The fact that this mountain getaway is also close to the sea makes it even more attractive and there has been much improvement in the infrastructure of the region. It has a commanding view of the Iskenderun Bay and many old and new structures that are worth seeing. This highland has been the subject of many folk songs and poems. It is a delightful place for short jaunts into the forest, camping and picnicking.
Accommodations – Food and Drink: There are small bed and breakfast type houses for lodging as well as shops to buy daily necessities.
İskenderun – Nergizlik Highland
Transportation: It is 14 km from İskenderun on an asphalt road and 4 km. from the Güzelyayla highland.
Description: This is an highland village though some infrastructure improvement has been done. Besides the simple village houses, there are also highland houses. Every conceivable kind of fruit and vegetables are grown here.
Accommodations – Food and Drink: The highland houses can be rented if arrangements are made ahead of time.
Samandağ – Teknepınarı (Batıayaz) Highland
Transportation: From Antakya it is 20 km. on an asphalt road and from Samandağ it is a 17 km. ride on a gravel road.
Description: This is a highland village where history and nature are inseparably intertwined. Because of the ice-cold crystal waters at the camping and picnic sites, the fact that it raises every kind of fruit and vegetable peculiar to the Mediterranean and because of how close it is to the other countries in the Middle East, it has drawn the attention of visitors both local and foreign.
Accommodations – Food and Drink: Besides camping areas, there are also shops at which one can buy daily necessities.
Erzin – Kocadüz – Üçkoz – Bağrıaçık – Karıncalı Highlands
Transportation: The road to Erzin is asphalt for 11 km and gravel for 8 km. During the summer months there are minibuses going to and from Erzin every hour.
Description: The highlands at Erzin and Osmaniye are a collection of mountain meadows which are very close to one another and for this reason it is a very suitable trekking spot. The mountain meadows are surrounded with pine, fir and juniper trees and thyme, daisies and other wild flowers grow everywhere. Among the pine and fir trees so heavily frequented as a picnic area in the summer, there are several simple highland houses made entirely of wood and which are perfectly compatible with their natural surroundings.
Accommodations – Food and Drink: The highland houses are used by the locals. Those who want to stay in tents should bring their own supplies and equipment with them.
Dörtyol Topaktaş Highland
Transportation: The only road to the highland is a gravel one and it is 18 km. from Hatay.
Description: The Topaktaş highland is completely surrounded by a forest of pine, juniper and scrub trees. There are many wood houses built in the local architectural style and a few scattered houses of reinforced concrete. The people living in Dörtyol come here in droves during the summer months.
Accommodations – Food and Drink: The mountain homes are used by the locals. Those who want to stay in tents should bring their own supplies and equipment wit
Dörtyol – Çökek Highland
Transportation: It is 8 km. by gravel road from Dörtyol to the highland.
Description: This is a charming little mountain plateau with pine trees and fruit orchards, clean fresh air and abundant water. It is a perfect place for camping, picnicking and short excursions devoted to listening to the songs of nature sung by the birds and the insects.
Accommodations-Food and Drink: There are no facilities here and those who want to stay in tents should bring their own supplies and equipment with them.
Kırıkhan Delibekirli Village and Çataloluk Highland
Transportation: The village of Delibekirli can be reached from Kırıkhan. Three kilometers of the road is asphalt and 3 km is gravel. The highland is another 7 km from this village.
Description: Delibekirli is a delightful little mountain village nestled in among vineyards and gardens in which can be found almost any kind of fruit or vegetable grown in the Mediterranean Region. The mountain plateau of Çataloluk, 7 km from the village, is in pristine condition. This plateau lined with century-old sycamore trees supplies the drinking water for Kırıkhan. It is definitely a place worth visiting.
Accommodations – Food and Drink: In the village of Delibekirli there are restaurants and shops where you can get a good meal and a cup of tea.
Kırıkhan – Alan Highland
Transportation: Take the Hatay – Kırıkhan – Gaziantep highway out of Kırıkhan (6 km.) and turn left onto the road leading to Aşağı Eşmişek village. The village is 4 km. only two of which are asphalt. Eight kilometers past the village, along a winding road lined with scrub trees, is the Alan Highland. There is a gravel road from here to Iskenderun as well (40 km.)
Description: This spacious mountain plateau is surrounded with pine forests and in the summer it is covered with flowers. Except for a few mountain homes, this unspoiled highland is used by the area villagers as productive farm land. The mountain meadows of Haymapınar, Değirmendere, Paşaoluk, Akarca and Çamlıbel on the İskenderun road are all used by villagers as farmland.
Accommodations-Food and Drink: The mountain homes are used by the locals. Those who want to stay in tents should bring their own supplies and equipment with them.
Belen and Atik Highland
Transportation: The road to the village forks off at the 27 km. mark on the Antakya – İskenderun highway.
Description: The current town of Belen has been inhabited for hundreds of years. The famous water of the Atık spring, much sought after by the people living in İskenderun and Kırıkhan, originate here. The town has grown up so much that now Atık is just a neighborhood within the Belen city limits. There are quaint country tea houses and small markets among the fruit orchards and pine and sycamore groves. Because of its residential developments and its proximity to the sea, it has become a very popular holiday spot.
Accommodations – Food and Drink: Here you will find lodging facilities and restaurants.
Habibi Neccar Mountain Nature Protection Area
Hatay – Habibi Neccar Dagi Nature Reserve
Location: The mountain is 10km from Antakya (Hatay) in the southernmost point of Turkey, on the Syrian border, in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
Transportation: Antakya is easily accessible by public transport.
Highlights: The nature reserve around the mountain is famous for its cultural as well as natural value, especially for St Pierre Church, which was carved into the rocks. After the death of Christ, St Pierre came to Antakya in 29 AD to preach. The Charon monument, 200m north of the church, is huge sculpture of Haron, known as Boatman of Hell in mythology, carved into the rocks. The main species of tree are cluster pine, oaks and sandalwood. The mountain is also home to foxes, rabbits, partridges and stock doves.
Tekkoz Kengerlidüz Nature Protection Area
Hatay – Tekkoz Kengerlidüz Nature Reserve
Location: Tekkoz Kengerliduz is 30km from Dortyol and southeast of Osmaniye, in the province of Antakya (Hatay), near the villages of Kullu and Kizlarcayi.
Transportation: The area can be reached via the old E5 highway, then turning off after 15km.
Highlights: The area’s ecosystem is different to that of the Mediterranean. The main species of trees around Kengerliduz are beech, oak and fir, and around Tekkoz are hornbeam, ash, beach, black pine and silver birch. The main animal species in the area are wild goat, roe deer, bear, hyena, wild cat, wagtail, wolf, jackal and fox.
Reyhanlı Hamamat Thermal Springs: The Thermal Spring is located in the Kumlu district on the Reyhanlı – Antakya highway. It is the biggest thermal spring of the region and the waters of this spring is said to cure most of the diseases.
Erzin Başlamış Thermal Springs and Curative Waters: The waters of the thermal spring and the curative mineral water is said to cure various diseases. The thermal and mineral waters come out in various locations between the rocks at the Başlamış Village of Erzin District. The mineral waters of Erzin is slight salty and sour and contains earth alkali, bicarbonate and carbon dioxite. The waters also contain bromide.
Reyhanlı Bath: The bath is located 20 km away from Reyhanlı District. The thermal water is at the vicinity of Turkey – Syria border gate and there are approximately 5 springs. The waters of the thermal spring could be used as drinking water and is good for various rheumatism diseases.
Kisecik Village Curative Water: This spring is located in the Kisecik Village. The waters of the spring increase stomach motility and facilitates the digestion process. If drank in great amounts, the waters increase the amount of urine and assists the dispatching of thin sand particles in the urethra and cleans the inflammations. The temperature of the water is hot and is known to be good at curing neuritis, neuralgia, chronic rheumatism diseases.
The arrival to the cave is provided by a stabilized road between Sarıseki – Azganlı Köyü, Dutlu locality and then to Kurşunlu locality. After this point, by a track inside the forest, İncelcelep locality is reached by foot. From this location, climbing about 30 meters is necessary to reach the cave.
Properties: The height above the sea level is 1300 meters and is at the location of Sarıseki locality where the most beautiful panoramic view could be watched. The cave is named as Kuşlar Cave by the local folk as there are great numbers of bats residing inside.
The cave entrance is quite narrow. No scientific studies was done inside the cave and there are numerous stalactite and stalagmite formations are present inside the cave.
The dominant climate in Hatay Province is the Mediterranean climate and summer seasons are hot and dry while winter seasons are mild and precipitant.
With approximately 2300 years of historical background, the date of the first settlement in the Antakya region extends to the 8000 B.C. The city was founded by Commander Seleukos after the death of Alexander the Great. The city had entered under the dominance of different civilizations. The city was conquered by Yavuz Sultan Selim during his military expedition to Egypt and had entered under the rule of Ottoman Empire. The Independent Hatay State was founded in 1937 and had been bounded to the Republic of Turkey in 1939.
Where to Eat
The local beauties and patterns of Hatay province are reflected in the rich food culture of the region.. Oruk, Öcce, Ekşili Börülce (sour kidney – bean), Beyaz Kabak Boranisi (White marrow borani), Cevizli Biber (Muhammara) (pepper with walnut) , Bakla Ezmesi (Broad bean paste), Humus, Nazlı (meat meal) are the meal varieties of the region which would increase your appetite. Among the local desert varieties Peynirli Künefe and Taş Kadayıf (Kataif) could be counted.
Don’t Leave Without
– Visiting Archeology Museum, St. Pierre Church, Habib-i Neccar Mosque, Antakya Castle, Çevlik Promenade area, Titus Tunnel, St. Simen Monastery, Old Antakya houses , Harbiye Promenade area, Külliye of Sokullu Mehmet Paşa , Arsuz shore line, Bakras Castle and Koz Castle,
– Tasting İçli Köfte, Aşur, Ekşi Aşı (sour meal), Humus, Cevizli Biber (pepper with walnut), Kaytaz Pastry, Katıklı Bread, Künefe, Taş Kadayıf, Kabak Tatlısı (Marrow desert) and Kereviç,
– Buying Daphne soap, Silk woven, Pepper paste, Nar Ekşisi (pomegranate sour)
Registered Immobile Cultural and Natural Heritages in Hatay
Archaeological Sites: 113
Urban Sites: 1
Natural Sites: 4
Historical Sites: 1
Archaeological and Natural Sites: 1
Historical and Natural Sites: 1
Total: 121 Cultural (at Single Construction Scale) and Natural Heritages: 447
Governorship : (+90-326) 214 62 10
Municipality : (+90-326) 614 55 65
Hospital : (+90-326) 214 54 30
Police : (+90-326) 214 59 10
Gendarme : (+90-326) 221 02 94
Provincial Directorate : (+90-326) 214 61 75
Tourism Information Office : (+90-326) 613 28 79 – 614 16 20
Harbour : (+90-326) 613 31 94
Provincial Cultural Directorate
Tel: (326) 214 92 17
Fax: (326) 213 33 86
An Exhibition hall with 418 seating capacity for theatre, conferences, etc. Library
Contact Address: Şehit Mustafa Sevgi Cad. No:8/A – Antakya
Tel: (326) 216 06 52
Address: Gündüz Cad. No:1 Hatay
Tel: (326) 214 61 68
Fax: (326) 213 33 86
Hatay Governorship http://www.hatay.gov.tr/
Hatay Denizciler Municipality http://www.denizciler-bld.gov.tr/
Hatay Yayla Mountain Head Official’s Office http://www.yayladagi.gov.tr/