Asia > Middle East > Turkey > Mediterranean Turkey > Cilician Plains > Mersin
Mersin hosted the XVII Mediterranean Games in June 2013.
Once a small fishermen's village, Mersin grew as the export harbour of the surrounding region, as more and more of the wilderness of the Cilician Plains was ploughed up to produce cotton, which was in high demand the world around with the start of the industrial revolution in the textile sector. It still hosts the largest port of the country today, with its export articles being diversified.
There are fairly modern and air-con trains every hour or more frequently during the rush hours to and from Adana and Tarsus. The journey time is between 45-80 minutes, depending on the number of stops. The price is 5.50 TL for one way and 9 TL for a roundtrip. There is an option to buy an unlimited card for 110 TL, valid for a month. The price is 80 TL for students. You should buy the ticket before you enter the train, otherwise the price is doubled. Trains from Ankara, Eskisehir or Istanbul requires a quick change at Yenice, east of Mersin.
There is a bus station in eastern part of the city. There are city buses running between the city center and the bus station. Usually each bus company has its own shuttles running between city center, western (coastal part) and the bus station.
From the bus station there are buses to almost every city in Turkey, including, among others, Gaziantep (5 hours, 25 TL) and to small cities and villages in Cilician Mountains (the rest of Mersin Province), such as Silifke (2 hours, 10 TL).
Ferries operated by Akgunlerdenizcilik [dead link] connect Mersin with Kyrenia / "Girne" in North Cyprus. These are fast-cats for foot passengers and only run in summer, taking just 80 min. They run from Mersin Su Tu Th at 21:00, and from Kyrenia M W F at 23:00. In winter, or with a car, you can only sail to Cyprus from Taşucu, 50 km west. The same company also advertises ferries between Mersin and Tartous (Syria) and Tripoli (Lebanon), but no times or fares are shown, and it's unlikely that these are sailing in 2018.
- 1 Mersin Grand Mosque (Ulu Cami). It's just off the main shoreside promenade in the Akdeniz district. Built in 1898 (and subsequently labeled New Mosque), it was refurbished in futuristic fashion in the 1970s and renamed. It is a three-story mosque with a capacity of up to 3,000.
- 2 Muğdat Mosque (Muğdat Camisi). Built in the 1980s in Yenişehir district of the city. It is named after Miqdad ibn Aswad, one of the early Muslims. Its capacity is up to 5,500, which makes is the largest mosque in the city of Mersin and the third largest built in the Republican era of Turkey. It has a rare six minarets, two of which were only added in the 2010s. It lies 300 m from the Mediterranean Sea.
- 3 Atatürk Park. A public park, which was used during the 2013 Mediterranean Games held in the city. It lies along the coast from north east to south west and is roughly 440 acres (16 hectares) in size. At the north-east edge is the Congress and Exhibition Centre with several conference venues and a swimming pool.
- 4 Catholic Church of Mersin (Latin Italyan Katolik Kilisesi). Built in the 1853 as Mersin began to develop as a port city and become more important to Christians in the area. The church and the accompanying school are still active today despite closure during World War I.
- 5 Atatürk Museum (Mersin Atatürk Evi Müzesi). A museum housed inside a beautiful, seven-room villa where Atatürk once stayed when he was visiting the city in 1925. The house was built in 1897 by H. Christman, the German consul to Mersin. Nowadays, the museum's seven original rooms feature original furnishings.
- 6 Yümüktepe. A tell, or burial mound, in the Toroslar region of the city, which contains evidence of Neolithic settlements continuing up to the Middle Ages. In total, there are 23 levels of occupation from c. 6300 BC until roughly 13th century BC as part of the Hittie Empire - as nearby Soli was flourishing, it was abandoned, plundered by Sea Peoples from Europe and later raided by Assyrians from Upper Mesopotamia.
- Flamingo Park.
- Yenişehir Urban Forest (Yenişehir Kent Ormanı).
- Walk on the Antic Road, constructed in the Roman Period.
- Mounted excursion in an ambient nature setting at the mounted sports club.
Buy very high quality leather jackets from the bazaar just beside Holly Mosque (local name Ulu Cami). Don't forget to bargain, and after bargaining for 15 minutes, you might be able to buy leather jacket for half price. There is an antique store behind the Mersin Hotel specialising in prayer beads. The prices range from 10 TL to over 5000 TL and it is hard to evaluate the price; the 50-100 TL range is adequate for a souvenir. Dösim Store is a trustworthy place to buy a souvenir; the prices are fixed (no bargaining) and often cheaper than other stores. Since it is a public institution, the products are authentic and usually come with a certificate in English. Dösim store is beside the Atatürk's House in Mersin.
- Mersin Forum AVM is a large mall in Yenişehir district.
Tantuni, finely minced fried meat and onion wrap, is one of the most famous food in this region. Don't leave the city without tasting it. In the center of the city, you will see several small local restaurants with this special fantastic food.
Haslets are very common ingredients of the food in Mersin. There are dishes made with intestines, lung, liver, kidneys, stomach, brain. Even though there are restaurants serving this food all throughout the day, this type of food can be found easily late at nights. Especially soups with inner organs are drank late at night after consumption of alcohol.
Cezerye is a mix made of carrots and fig and lots of spices may also include nuts depending on where you buy it from.
Kerebic is dessert unique to this area. It is a dough filled with pistachios and served with vegetarian cream on top of it.
Künefe is also another dessert completely unique to the Arabic influenced areas. Its oven baked shredded pastry with salt-free cheese filling in thick syrup. Although its really requires a developed taste, it carries the spirit of the vicinity
Şalgam can be found on every street in Mersin even though it is a drink from Adana. Good examples of local brands are Serafressh (with double s) and Turnib (with b, not p). Since the cities in Çukurova all have similar cuisines taste of Salgam doesn't differ that much.
In the past there were many Boyan (licorice drink) sellers in the city center. Such drink still exists but cannot be found easily.
Kaynar is another local drink, generally served to celebrate a newborn. It is usually served hot with cinnamon and walnut. The ingredients of kaynar can be found in some stores and can be a cheap exotic gift.
There are many hotels in the city, but one of the best ones is Sultasa Hotel. It is kind of in the city center. The entrance fee for this place is 35 TL excluding accommodation. For accommodation, you should pay 80 TL more.
- 1 Lamos Hotel & Convention Center, Atatürk Cd. No:75, ☏ . Five-star hotel on a peninnsula. Blue flagged sea and a stunning service. Luxury rooms.
- 2 The Menord Hotel Spa & Wellness, İstiklal Cd. No:188, ☏ . Very sleek exterior featuring a spa and wellness theme.
- 3 Royal Mersin Otel, Üçocak Mahallesi 5429 Sk No:1, ☏ .
- Kizkalesi (Maiden's Castle) and Cennet-Cehennem (Heaven-Hell) are west of city, about 60 km away, on the Mediterranean shore.
- Adam Kayalar — Near Cennet-Cehennem, a few km inland, are many ruins, ancient gravings and human body reliefs carved on rocks.
- Tarsus to the east is a historical wonder by richness of religious and biblical entities' mausoleums.
|Routes through Mersin|
|Antalya ← Narlıkuyu ←||W E||→ Tarsus → Adana|