Tarsus (/ˈtɑrsəs/; Hittite: Tarsa; Greek: Ταρσός; Armenian: Տարսոն) is a historic city in south-central Turkey, 20 km inland from the Mediterranean. It is part of the Adana-Mersin Metropolitan Area, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Turkey with a population of 3 million people. Tarsus forms an administrative district in the eastern part of the Mersin Province and lies in the core of Çukurova region.

With a history going back over 6,000 years, Tarsus has long been an important stop for traders and a focal point of many civilisations. During the Roman Empire, Tarsus was capital of the province of Cilicia, the scene of the first meeting between Mark Antony and Cleopatra, and the birthplace of Paul the Apostle.

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  • 1. [Mersin Province] The Mersin Province (Turkish: Mersin ili) 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.
  • 2. [Çukurova] Çukurova (Turkish pronunciation: [tʃukuɾova]), historically known as Cilicia, is a geographic, economic and cultural region in south-central Turkey, covering the provinces of Mersin, Adana, Osmaniye and Hatay. With a population of 5.85 million, it is one of the largest population concentrations in Turkey.
  • 3. [Mersin] Mersin is a large city and a port on the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey. It is part of an interurban agglomeration – the Adana-Mersin Metropolitan Area – and lies on the western part of Çukurova, a geographical, economical, and cultural region. According to the 17th-century traveler Evliya Çelebi, the city was named after the Mersinoğulları clan; another theory is that its name originates from the myrtle (Turkish: mersin) which grows abundantly in the region.
  • 4. [Cilicia] In antiquity, Cilicia (/sɪˈlɪʃiə/) or less often Kilikia (Armenian: Կիլիկիա; Greek: Κιλικία; Middle Persian: Klikiyā, Parthian: Kilikiyā, Turkish: Kilikya), was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine Empire. Cilicia extends inland from the southeastern coast of modern Turkey, due north and northeast of the island of Cyprus. Cilicia corresponds to the modern region of Çukurova in Turkey.
  • 5. [Taurus Mountains] The Taurus Mountains (Turkish: Toros Dağları, Ancient Greek: Όρη Ταύρου) are a mountain complex in southern Turkey, dividing 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.
  • 6. [Adana] Adana (pronounced [aˈda.na]), is a large city in southern Turkey and a major agricultural, industry and commercial center. It is the fifth most populous city in Turkey. The city is situated on the Seyhan River, 30 kilometres (19 miles) inland from the Mediterranean Sea, in south-central Anatolia. It is the administrative seat of the Adana
  • 7. [Berdan River] The Berdan River, also called the Tarsus River (Latin:Cydnus), is a river in Mersin Province, south Turkey. The historical city of Tarsus is by the river.
  • 8. [Cilician Gates] The Cilician Gates or Gülek Pass is a pass through the Taurus Mountains connecting the low plains of Cilicia to the Anatolian Plateau, by way of the narrow gorge of the Gökoluk River. Its highest elevation is about 1000m.
  • 9. [Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia] The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (Middle Armenian: Կիլիկիոյ Հայոց Թագաւորութիւն Kilikio Hayots Tagavorutyun; French: Le Royaume arménien de Cilicie), also known as the Cilician Armenia, Kingdom of Cilician Armenia, Kingdom of Cilicia or New Armenia, was an independent principality formed during the High Middle Ages by Armenian refugees fleeing the Seljuk invasion of Armenia. Located
  • 10. [Tarsus American College] Tarsus American College or Tarsus American School (official Turkish name: Özel Tarsus Amerikan Lisesi, also known as Tarsus Amerikan Koleji) is a private coeducational high school located in Tarsus, Province of Mersin, Turkey. It is known for the success of its alumni throughout the world. The Economist (1994) noted that Tarsus American School is in
  • 11. [Tarsus Grand Mosque] Tarsus Grand Mosque (Turkish: Tarsus Ulu Cami) is a mosque in Tarsus, Mersin Province, Turkey.
  • 12. [Gözlükule] Gözlükule is a tumulus within the borders of Tarsus city, Mersin Province, Turkey. It is now a park with an altitude of 22 metres (72 ft) with respect to surrounding area.
  • 13. [Ramadanids] The Ramadanids, also known as the Ramadanid dynasty, Emirate of Ramadan and Ramadanid principality (Modern Turkish: Ramazanoğulları, Ramazan and Ramazanoğulları Beyliği), was one of the Anatolian beyliks. Its capital was in Adana. It was one of the frontier emirates established by Oghuz Turkish clans after the decline of Seljuk Sultanate of Rum.
  • 14. [Karabucak Forest] Karabucak Forest is a forest plantation in Turkey
  • 15. [Saint Paul's Church, Tarsus] Saint Paul's Church is a former Greek Orthodox church in Tarsus, Mersin Province, Turkey.
  • 16. [Tulunids] The Tulunids were the first independent dynasty to rule Islamic Egypt. They ruled the country, as well as much of Syria, from 868, when they broke away from the central authority of the Abbasid dynasty that ruled the Islamic Caliphate during that time, until 905, when the Abbasids restored the Tulunid domains to their control.
  • 17. [Adana-Mersin Metropolitan Area] The Adana-Mersin metropolitan area lies in the core area of Çukurova and, with a population of 3 million, is one of Turkey's major business and cultural centres. The metropolitan area stretches over 100 km from east to west and 25 km from north to south and includes the cities of Mersin, Tarsus, Adana and Ceyhan.
  • 18. [Roman road in Cilicia] The Roman road in Cilicia (Turkish: Roma yolu) is a part of a Roman road in Mersin Province, Turkey.
  • 19. [Cleopatra's Gate] Cleoptra's Gate is a city gate of Tarsus, in Mersin Province, Turkey, named after the Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII.
  • 20. [Theme (Byzantine district)] The themes or themata (Greek: θέματα; singular θέμα, thema) were the main administrative divisions of the middle Byzantine Empire. They were established in the mid-7th century in the aftermath of the Muslim conquests of parts of Byzantine territory, and replaced the earlier provincial system established by Diocletian and Constantine the Great. In their origin, the
  • 21. [Cilicia (Roman province)] Cilicia was an early Roman province, located on what is today the southern (Mediterranean) coast of Turkey. Cilicia was annexed to the Roman Republic in 64 BC by Pompey, as a consequence of his military presence in the east, after pursuing victory in the Third Mithridatic War. It was subdivided by Diocletian in around 297, and it remained under Roman, and subsequently Byzantine, rule for several centuries, until falling to the Islamic conquests.
  • 22. [Al-Ma'mun] Abū Jaʿfar Abdullāh al-Maʾmūn ibn Harūn (also spelled Almamon, Al-Maymun, Al-Ma’moon, and el-Mâmoûn (Arabic: ابوجعفر عبدالله المأمون‎, Persian: ابوجعفر عبدالله مامون‎) ( September 786 – 9 August 833) was an Abbasid caliph who reigned from 813 until his death in 833. He succeeded his brother al-Amin who was killed during the siege of Baghdad (813).
  • 23. [Diodorus of Tarsus] Diodore of Tarsus (Greek Διόδωρος; died c. 390) was a Christian bishop, a monastic reformer, and a theologian. A strong supporter of the orthodoxy of Nicaea, Diodore played a pivotal role in the Council of Constantinople and opposed the anti-Christian policies of Julian the Apostate. Diodore founded one of the most influential centers of Christian thought in the early church, and many of his students became notable theologians in their own right.
  • 24. [Nikephoros II Phokas] Nikephoros II Phokas (Latinized: Nicephorus II Phocas) (Νικηφόρος Β΄ Φωκᾶς, Nikēphoros II Phōkas) (c. 912 – 10–11 December 969) was Byzantine Emperor from 963 to 969. His brilliant military exploits contributed to the resurgence of the Byzantine Empire during the 10th century.
  • 25. [Armeniac Theme] The Armeniac Theme (Greek: Άρμενιακόν [θέμα], Armeniakon [thema]), more properly the Theme of the Armeniacs (Greek: θέμα Άρμενιάκων, thema Armeniakōn) was a Byzantine theme (a military-civilian province) located in northeastern Asia Minor (modern Turkey).
  • 26. [Sandon (god)] Sandon (sometimes spelled Sandes, Sandan or Sanda) was a god in ancient Tarsus, visually represented as a mitre-wearing human form carrying a sword, a flower or (commonly) an axe who stands on the back of a horned and winged lion. Associated primarily with war and weather, Sandon was the chief god in the Cilician pantheon
  • 27. [Seljuq dynasty] The House of Seljuq (Persian: سلجوقيان‎ Saljūqiyān; Turkish: Selçuklular; Turkmen: Selçuklar) was a Turkish Sunni Muslim dynasty that gradually adopted Persian culture and contributed to the Turko-Persian tradition in the medieval West and Central Asia. The Seljuqs established both the Seljuq Empire and Sultanate of Rum, which at their total height stretched from Anatolia through Persia, and were targets of the First Crusade.
  • 28. [Hamdanid dynasty] The Hamdanid dynasty (Arabic: حمدانيون‎ Ḥamdānyūn) was a Shi'a Muslim Arab dynasty of northern Iraq (Al-Jazirah) and Syria (890-1004). They descended from the ancient Banu Taghlib Christian tribe of Mesopotamia and east Arabia. The Hamdanid dynasty was founded by Hamdan ibn Hamdun (after whom it is named), when he was appointed governor of Mardin in SE Anatolia by the Abbasid Caliphs in 890.
  • 29. [Şalgam] Şalgam is a popular beverage from southern Turkey's cities of Adana and Mersin. Although the Turkish word şalgam literally means "turnip", şalgam is actually made with the juice of red carrot pickles, salted, spiced, and flavoured with aromatic turnip (çelem) fermented in barrels with the addition of ground bulgur. It is traditionally served cold in
  • 30. [Anatolic Theme] The Anatolic Theme (Greek: Άνατολικόν [θέμα], Anatolikon [thema]), more properly known as the Theme of the Anatolics (Greek: θέμα Άνατολικῶν, thema Anatolikōn) was a Byzantine theme (a military-civilian province) in central Asia Minor (modern Turkey). From its establishment, it was the largest and senior-most of the themes, and its military governors (stratēgoi) were powerful individuals,
  • 31. [Maximinus II] Maximinus II (Latin: Gaius Valerius Galerius Maximinus Daia Augustus; c. 20 November 270 – July or August 313), also known as Maximinus Daia or Maximinus Daza, was Roman Emperor from 308 to 313. He became embroiled in the Civil wars of the Tetrarchy between rival claimants for control of the empire, in which he was defeated by Licinius. A committed pagan, he engaged in one of the last persecutions of Christians.
  • 32. [Heraclius] Heraclius (Latin: Flavius Heraclius Augustus, Greek: Φλάβιος Ἡράκλειος, Armenian: Հերակլես Փլավիոս, c. 575 – February 11, 641) was Byzantine Emperor from 610 to 641.
  • 33. [Julian (emperor)] Julian (Latin: Flavius Claudius Iulianus Augustus, Greek: Φλάβιος Κλαύδιος Ἰουλιανὸς Αὔγουστος; 331/332  – 26 June 363), also known as Julian the Apostate, Julian the Philosopher, or Julian the Hellene, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363 and a noted philosopher and Greek writer.
  • 34. [Patriarch of Antioch] Patriarch of Antioch is a traditional title held by the Bishop of Antioch. As the traditional "overseer" (ἐπίσκοπος, episkopos, from which the word bishop is derived) of the first gentile Christian community, the position has been of prime importance in the church from its earliest period. This diocese is one of the few for which
  • 35. [Marcus Claudius Tacitus] Tacitus (/ˈtæsɨtəs/; Latin: Marcus Claudius Tacitus Augustus; c. 200 – June 276), was Roman Emperor from 275 to 276. During his short reign he campaigned against the Goths and the Heruli, for which he received the title Gothicus Maximus.
  • 36. [Zeno of Tarsus] Zeno of Tarsus (Greek: Ζήνων, Zenon; fl. 200 BC) was a Stoic philosopher and the son of Dioscorides.
    He was a pupil of Chrysippus, and when Chrysippus died c. 206 BC, he succeeded him to become the fourth scholarch of the Stoic school in Athens.
  • 37. [Barnabas] Barnabas (Greek: Βαρνάβας), born Joseph, was an early Christian, one of the earliest Christian disciples in Jerusalem. According to Acts 4:36 Barnabas was a Cypriot Jew. Named an apostle in Acts 14:14, he and Paul the Apostle undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts against the Judaizers. They traveled together making more converts (c
  • 38. [Helladius of Tarsus] Helladius of Tarsus was a Christian bishop of Tarsus. He was condemned at the First Council of Ephesus (431) and appealed to the pope in 433.
  • 39. [Theodore of Mopsuestia] Theodore the Interpreter (ca. 350 – 428) was bishop of Mopsuestia (as Theodore II) from 392 to 428 AD. He is also known as Theodore of Antioch, from the place of his birth and presbyterate. He is the best known representative of the middle School of Antioch of hermeneutics.
  • 40. [Tarshish] Tarshish (Hebrew: תַּרְשִׁישׁ‎) occurs in the Hebrew Bible with several uncertain meanings. One of the most recurring is that Tarshish is a place, probably a city or country, that is far from the Land of Israel by sea where trade occurs with Israel and Phoenicia. The Septuagint, the Vulgate and the Targum of Jonathan render
  • 41. [Tarsus Idman Yurdu] Tarsus İdman Yurdu is a professional Turkish football team based in Tarsus. The club was founded in 1923 and they play at the Burhanettin Kocamaz stadium, which has a capacity of 6000. It was named as "Tarsus İdman Yurdu Erkutspor" between 1983-1986 during chairmanship of Erkut Kuzeyman, was a businessman.
  • 42. [Seven Sleepers] The Seven Sleepers (Arabic: اصحاب الکھف As-hab al Kahf, "companions of the cave") of Ephesus were a group of Christian youths who hid inside a cave outside the city of Ephesus around 250 AD, to escape a persecution of Christians being conducted during the reign of the Roman emperor Decius. Another version is that Decius
  • 43. [Cezerye] Cezerye is a semi-gelatinous Turkish confectionery made from caramelised carrots, packed with nuts or pistachios and sprinkled with shredded coconut. Cut into roughly 1" x 1.5" rectangular chips and served on special occasions, it is somewhat akin to Turkish Delights and the Chinese walnut candy known as hetao tang. It is traditionally believed to be an aphrodisiac. The name is derived from the word "cezer", which means "carrot" in Arabic.
  • 44. [Oral Çalışlar] Oral Çalışlar (born 14 December 1946) is a Turkish journalist and writer, currently columnist for Radikal and Serbestiyet, after briefly working as editor-in-chief of Taraf. He was previously a columnist for Cumhuriyet (1992 - 2008) and Radikal (2008 - 2013). In the 1960s he participated in the student movement and contributed to Aydınlık, and was
  • 45. [Nerses of Lambron] Saint Nerses of Lambron (Armenian: Ներսես Լամբրոնացի, Nerses Lambronatsi) (1153–1198) was the Archbishop of Tarsus in the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia who is remembered as one of the most significant figures in Armenian literature and ecclesiastical history.
  • 46. [Pelagia of Tarsus] According to Christian legend, Pelagia of Tarsus (d. early 4th century) is a saint and martyr who lived in Tarsus in the Cilicia region of Asia Minor during the reign of Roman Emperor Diocletian. She is likely based on Saint Pelagia of Antioch.
  • 47. [Quiricus and Julietta] Saint Julietta (also known as Julitta (Greek: Ἰουλίττα)) and her son Saint Quiricus (also known as Kērykos (Greek: Κήρυκος), Qirqos (Ethiopic: ቂርቆስ), Cyriacus, Qyriacus, Kuriakos, Keryakos, Kuriakose, Cyricus, Ciricus and Cyr) were martyred in AD 304 in Tarsus, according to Christian tradition.
  • 48. [Satrap] Satrap was the name given to the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid (Persian) Empires and in several of their successors, such as the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic empires.
  • 49. [Cyrus the Younger] Cyrus the Younger, son of Darius II of Persia and Parysatis, was a Persian prince and general. His birth date is unknown, but he died in 401 BC after a failed battle to oust his brother, Artaxerxes II, from the Persian throne.
  • 50. [Antipater of Tarsus] Antipater (Greek: Ἀντίπατρος; died 130/129 BC) of Tarsus was a Stoic philosopher. He was the pupil and successor of Diogenes of Babylon as leader of the Stoic school, and was the teacher of Panaetius. He wrote works on the gods and on divination, and in ethics he took a higher moral ground than that of his teacher Diogenes.
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