Iskenderun

Iskenderun

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İskenderun is a city and urban district in the province of Hatay
Hatay Province
Hatay Province is a province in southern Turkey, on the Mediterranean coast. It is bordered by Syria to the south and east and the Turkish provinces of Adana and Osmaniye to the north. The province is part of Çukurova, a geographical, economical and cultural region that covers the provinces of...

 on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. The current mayor is Yusuf Hamit Civelek (CHP
Republican People's Party (Turkey)
The Republican People's Party is a centre-left Kemalist political party in Turkey. It is the oldest political party of Turkey and is currently Main Opposition in the Grand National Assembly. The Republican People's Party describes itself as "a modern social-democratic party, which is faithful to...

).

Names


The antique city was named Alexandretta (in Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 Ἀλεξανδρέττα) at its founding in honour of Alexander the Great which it retained during the Roman period. This later mutated to al-ʼIskandarūn (Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 الإسكندرون) with the Islamic period and then to İskenderun in Turkish.

Geography


İskenderun is located on the eastern Mediterranean coast on Gulf of İskenderun
Gulf of Iskenderun
The Gulf of İskenderun is a gulf or inlet of the Levantine Sea, the easternmost part of Mediterranean Sea, of which it forms the easternmost tip, on the southern coast of Turkey near its border with Syria. It also contains the northernmost point of the Levantine Sea...

 at the foot of the Nur Mountains
Nur Mountains
The Nur Mountains , also known as Gâvur Mountains , the ancient Amanus , is a mountain range in the Hatay Province of south-central Turkey, which runs roughly parallel to the Gulf of İskenderun....

 (Amanos Mountains).

İskenderun is a busy commercial centre, the largest city in Hatay Province
Hatay Province
Hatay Province is a province in southern Turkey, on the Mediterranean coast. It is bordered by Syria to the south and east and the Turkish provinces of Adana and Osmaniye to the north. The province is part of Çukurova, a geographical, economical and cultural region that covers the provinces of...

, surpassing the Hatay provincial seat of Antakya
Antakya
Antakya is the seat of the Hatay Province in southern Turkey, near the border with Syria. The mayor is Lütfü Savaş.Known as Antioch in ancient times, the city has historical significance for Christianity, as it was the place where the followers of Jesus Christ were called Christians for the first...

. The city is one of Turkey's largest ports on the Mediterranean and an important industrial centre home to the İsdemir
Isdemir
İsdemir is a Turkish steel producer located in İskenderun, Hatay Province on the Mediterranean coast. The name is a contraction of the Turkish language İskenderun Demir ve Çelik A.Ş., which means "İskenderun Iron and Steel CO "...

 steelworks, one of Turkey's largest. İskenderun has an active, modern life with good hotels, restaurants and cafes along the palm-lined sea front, and there is a variety of accommodation for visitors. İskenderun is also an important naval training base.

Climate


The climate on this stretch of the Mediterranean is hot and humid in summer, when people escape to the countryside or to the beach. At certain times of the year the town is swept by the strong wind called 'Yarıkkaya'. The countryside contains large areas of fruit groves, important producers of oranges
Orange (fruit)
An orange—specifically, the sweet orange—is the citrus Citrus × sinensis and its fruit. It is the most commonly grown tree fruit in the world....

, tangerines and lemons, and even tropical fruits such as mango
Mango
The mango is a fleshy stone fruit belonging to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The mango is native to India from where it spread all over the world. It is also the most cultivated fruit of the tropical world. While...

es. Winters are mild and wet.

Cuisine


Distinctive İskenderun dishes include Künefe, a hot dessert with cheese. The main dishes include the Turkish staples such as döner and other kebab
Kebab
Kebab is a wide variety of meat dishes originating in Middle East and later on adopted by the Middle East, and Asia Minor, and now found worldwide. In English, kebab with no qualification generally refers more specifically to shish kebab served on the skewer...

s served in the flat dürüm
Durum
Durum wheat or macaroni wheat is the only tetraploid species of wheat of commercial importance that is widely cultivated today...

 bread, lahmacun
Lahmacun
Lahmacun or lahmajoun , from , , "meat with dough", is an item of prepared food originating in the early Syrian cuisine of the Levant, consisting of a round, thin piece of dough topped with minced meat...

, and also Antakya
Antakya
Antakya is the seat of the Hatay Province in southern Turkey, near the border with Syria. The mayor is Lütfü Savaş.Known as Antioch in ancient times, the city has historical significance for Christianity, as it was the place where the followers of Jesus Christ were called Christians for the first...

 influenced cuisine including kibbeh
Kibbeh
Kibbeh or kibbe is an Arab dish made of bulgur or rice and chopped meat. The best-known variety is a torpedo-shaped fried croquette stuffed with minced beef or lamb. Other types of kibbeh may be shaped into balls or patties, and baked or cooked in broth.Kibbeh is a popular dish in Levantine...

, and sour pomegranate
Pomegranate
The pomegranate , Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall.Native to the area of modern day Iran, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to Asian areas such as the Caucasus as...

 syrup used as a salad dressing. İskenderun in particular offers good quality fish and prawns.

Antiquity



İskenderun preserves the name, but probably not the exact site, of Alexandria ad Issum (İskender being the Arabic rendering of Alexander). The settlement was founded by Alexander the Great in 333 BC
333 BC
Year 333 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Dictatorship of Rufinus...

 to supersede Myriandrus
Myriandrus
Myriandrus was an ancient Phoenician town and seaport located near the modern city of İskenderun, Turkey.In 333 BC Alexander the Great intended to lay an ambush at Myriandrus of Darius III of Persia but in the end the battle took place near Issus.-References:...

 as the key to the Syrian Gates
Syrian Gates
The Belen Pass , also known as the Syrian Gates, is a mountain pass located in the Belen District of Hatay Province in south-central Turkey...

, about 23 miles south of the scene of his victory at the Battle of Issus
Battle of Issus
The Battle of Issus occurred in southern Anatolia, in November 333 BC. The invading troops, led by the young Alexander of Macedonia, defeated the army personally led by Darius III of Achaemenid Persia in the second great battle for primacy in Asia...

. The importance of the place ever since has derived from its relation to this pass, the easiest approach to the open ground of Hatay Province
Hatay Province
Hatay Province is a province in southern Turkey, on the Mediterranean coast. It is bordered by Syria to the south and east and the Turkish provinces of Adana and Osmaniye to the north. The province is part of Çukurova, a geographical, economical and cultural region that covers the provinces of...

 and of Northern Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, and the Romans continued to fight with Persia for control of this area during their era of dominance.

Alexander camped at the high-lands of İskenderun, around Esentepe, and then ordered the city to be established and named "Alexandria". İskenderun is one of many cities founded by Alexander's orders, including Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

.

Ottoman Era



The area was still a scene of fighting under the Ottomans, as it was here in 1606 that the army of general Kuyucu Murat Pasha suppressed the rural uprising of Celali Canbulatoğlu. The Ottomans continued to fortify the city and the remains of early 17th century Ottoman castle walls can still be seen, (where the Güzün stream crosses the Varyant road). The city was well described in 1675 by the English naval chaplain Henry Teonge
Henry Teonge
Henry Teonge was an English cleric and Royal Navy chaplain who kept informative diaries of voyages he made in 1675–76 and 1678–79.-Life:...

 in his diary. The next army to cross the Pass of Belen
Belen, Turkey
Belen is a town and district of Hatay Province in the Mediterranean region of south-central Turkey.- Geography :The district of Belen consists of a small town of the same name and the surrounding villages in the forested slopes of the Nur Mountains. The Belen Pass is the main route across the...

 and attack Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 through here were the Egyptians
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

 of Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali of Egypt
Muhammad Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Agha was a commander in the Ottoman army, who became Wāli, and self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan...

 in 1832.

However in the later Ottoman period the city grew and grew as the main outlet for the overland trade from Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, which had great importance until the establishment of the Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian overland route. Iskenderun served as a base first of Genoese
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 and Venetian
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 merchants, then West and North European merchants. The British Levant Company
Levant Company
The Levant Company, or Turkey Company, was an English chartered company formed in 1581, to regulate English trade with Turkey and the Levant...

 maintained an agency and factory
Factor (agent)
A factor, from the Latin "he who does" , is a person who professionally acts as the representative of another individual or other legal entity, historically with his seat at a factory , notably in the following contexts:-Mercantile factor:In a relatively large company, there could be a hierarchy,...

 here for 200 years, until 1825, in spite of appalling mortality among its employees. During the 19th century the port grew, the railway was built in 1912, and the road to Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

 was improved.

At the outset of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 when Britain was contemplating the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire, Lord Kitchener
Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener
Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener KG, KP, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, ADC, PC , was an Irish-born British Field Marshal and proconsul who won fame for his imperial campaigns and later played a central role in the early part of the First World War, although he died halfway...

 considered the conquest of Alexandretta to be essential in providing Britain with a port and railhead from which to access Iraq. He proposed a new railway from Alexandretta which would greatly reduce the time for reaching India from the UK. The de Bunsen Committee (8 April - 30 June 1915), a British inter-departmental group which was set up to discuss the issue in greater detail, preferred Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 for this purpose.

Republic of Hatay


Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 at the end of the First World War most of Hatay including İskenderun was occupied by French troops and in 1921 was established as the autonomous Sanjak of Alexandretta within French-controlled Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

. This led to the foundation of the Republic of Hatay. In 1939, the Republic of Hatay joined with the Republic of Turkey, after a referendum. See Hatay Province
Hatay Province
Hatay Province is a province in southern Turkey, on the Mediterranean coast. It is bordered by Syria to the south and east and the Turkish provinces of Adana and Osmaniye to the north. The province is part of Çukurova, a geographical, economical and cultural region that covers the provinces of...

 for a detailed history of this era.

Main sights

  • Yakacik (Payas) - contains a splendid example of Ottoman architecture dating back to the 16th century; the Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Complex comprising a mosque
    Mosque
    A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

    , bath (hamam), bazaar
    Bazaar
    A bazaar , Cypriot Greek: pantopoula) is a permanent merchandising area, marketplace, or street of shops where goods and services are exchanged or sold. The term is sometimes also used to refer to the "network of merchants, bankers and craftsmen" who work that area...

    , caravanserai
    Caravanserai
    A caravanserai, or khan, also known as caravansary, caravansera, or caravansara in English was a roadside inn where travelers could rest and recover from the day's journey...

    , and madrasa.
  • Arsuz
    Arsuz
    - Geography :Arsuz at is a part of İskenderun district of Hatay Province. Distance to İskenderun is and to Antakya is . The population is 2214 as of 2010.- History :...

     (Uluçınar), holiday town on the coast to the south of İskenderun, with beautiful sandy beaches, a very warm sea, and places of historical interest. The coast is lined with holiday homes and there is accommodation in hotels or guest houses.
  • The Cathedral of the Annunciation
    Cathedral of the Annunciation, İskenderun
    The Cathedral of the Annunciation in İskenderun is the seat of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Vicariate of Anatolia....

     is the seat of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Vicariate of Anatolia
    Roman Catholic Apostolic Vicariate of Anatolia
    The Apostolic Vicariate of Anatolia is a Roman Catholic apostolic vicariate located in the city of İskenderun in Turkey.-History:* March 13, 1845: Established as Apostolic Prefecture of Trabzon...

    .
  • Soğukoluk, mountain resort on the way to Antakya
    Antakya
    Antakya is the seat of the Hatay Province in southern Turkey, near the border with Syria. The mayor is Lütfü Savaş.Known as Antioch in ancient times, the city has historical significance for Christianity, as it was the place where the followers of Jesus Christ were called Christians for the first...

     a quiet retreat from the heat of the coast in summer months.
  • Bakras
    Bagras
    Bagras or Baghras is the name of a town and nearby castle in İskenderun district of present-day Turkey, in the Amanus Mountains.The castle, properly known as Gastun provided a base for a force to cover the Syrian Gates, the passes between İskenderun and Antioch...

     - The castle was built in antiquity and much restored since, a watchtower on the mountain road, 27 km (17 mi) from İskenderun on the road to Antakya
    Antakya
    Antakya is the seat of the Hatay Province in southern Turkey, near the border with Syria. The mayor is Lütfü Savaş.Known as Antioch in ancient times, the city has historical significance for Christianity, as it was the place where the followers of Jesus Christ were called Christians for the first...

    .

Cultural references

  • In the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, from a story co-written by executive producer George Lucas. It is the third film in the Indiana Jones franchise. Harrison Ford reprises the title role and Sean Connery plays Indiana's father, Henry...

    , Jones claims the Holy Grail
    Holy Grail
    The Holy Grail is a sacred object figuring in literature and certain Christian traditions, most often identified with the dish, plate, or cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper and said to possess miraculous powers...

     is in the "canyon of the crescent moon" outside of Alexandretta. Indiana explains that Alexandretta was completely demolished by the end of the first crusades and that the city is now known as Iskenderun, even though that name is simply Alexandretta in Arabic.

  • The progressive metal group Andromeda
    Andromeda (Swedish band)
    Andromeda are a progressive metal band from Sweden formed in 1999. They are currently signed to Massacre Records, Replica Records and Avalon/Marquee. The style emphasizes on strong keyboards and technical drumming. The band is also well known for the smooth vocals of David Fremberg.They have...

     released the song "İskenderun" on their album Chimera
    Chimera (Andromeda album)
    Chimera is the third album by the progressive metal band Andromeda, released in 2006.-Track listing:# "Periscope" – 6:11# "In the End" – 4:58# "The Hidden Riddle" – 5:51# "Going Under" – 6:27# "The Cage of Me" – 7:08# "No Guidelines" – 6:23...

    .

See also

  • Çukurova
    Çukurova
    Çukurova , historically known as Cilicia, is a geographic, economic and cultural region in south-central Turkey, covering the provinces of Mersin, Adana, Osmaniye and Hatay...

  • Hatay Province
    Hatay Province
    Hatay Province is a province in southern Turkey, on the Mediterranean coast. It is bordered by Syria to the south and east and the Turkish provinces of Adana and Osmaniye to the north. The province is part of Çukurova, a geographical, economical and cultural region that covers the provinces of...

  • Names of Asian cities in different languages
    Names of Asian cities in different languages
    This is a list of cities in Asia that have several different names in different languages, including former names. Many cities have different names in different languages...

  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, from a story co-written by executive producer George Lucas. It is the third film in the Indiana Jones franchise. Harrison Ford reprises the title role and Sean Connery plays Indiana's father, Henry...


External links