Geographically, the Republic of Turkey is a bridge between Europe and Asia. Due to its location, surrounded by sea on three sides, Turkey has always been the center of great trade, silk and spice routes. Today, even in the most inaccessible or isolated corners, one can easily feel and see the traces of different cultures.
The Republic was founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1923 which marked the end of the long reign of the Ottoman Empire. Since then, Turkey has developed into a modern, democratic state, but at the same time, careful measures ensured that culture and traditions continue to live and evolve. Turkey is currently a candidate for membership of the European Union.
Turkey is a country of diverse cultures, beliefs, ideas, nature and history. This diversity is reflected in the landscape which is the life support and habitat for 80 million people. The Turkish landscape encompasses a vast variety of geographical zones. This landscape has the combined characteristics of three continents of the world: Europe, Africa and Asia. Between 2000 B.C. and A.D.1500, Anatolia was the center of world civilization manifested in the ruins and monuments which adorn today’s landscape. Turkey is also known for an abundance and diversity of handicrafts, cuisine, music, customs and traditions due to its rich flora, fauna and regional differentiation as well as its imperial legacy.
Turkey’s focal points are its three largest cities: İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir which have become major urban centers by their historical heritage as well as modern design. Mythology and history are intermingled in Antalya on the Mediterranean coast, together with its beautiful beaches and seaside resorts. Myra (now called Demre), near Antalya, is where St. Nicholas is buried. “Cappadocia,” named during the Roman Empire, was a well-known religious center during the Byzantine Empire. Even today cave dwellings in rock cones and village houses of volcanic tuff merge harmoniously into the landscape. The Black Sea region is renowned for its mountainous green landscape. The 14th-century “Sumela Monastery” (Virgin Mary) is perched on a cliff-face 270 meters above a deep gorge. Nemrut Mountain in Adıyaman is where the tomb of King Antiokhos I was built two thousand years ago, surrounded by huge stoneheads of gods. In the east, Mount Ararat, where Noah’s ark is believed to be buried, rises to a height of 5,165 meters. On the ancient Silk Road, near Kars, lie the ruins of the medieval city Ani.
These are just a few of the characteristics and excitements of Turkey. In general, Turkey fascinates, astonishes and informs.
Tarsus is a district of Mersin province, which is located in the Mediterranean Region,in the south of Turkey. The district is famous for its historical, cultural, artistic, commercial and natural beauties. Having been a historical and a scientific center serving for several beliefs for years, the district has been in the spotlight of the world.
Famous people who lived in Tarsus include a Messenger of Prophet Jesus Saint Paul, Prophet Daniel, Prophet Mohammed’s Muezzin, Bilal-i Habeşi, Harun al-Rashid’s son Caliph Me’mun, Prophet Adam’s son Prophet Seth, the father of medicine Luqman al-Hakeem, the founder of the Tulunid Dynasty Ahmad Ibn Tulun, the ancient philosopher Aristotle, Nestor, Egypt’s Queen Cleopatra and the Roman Commander Marcus Antonius.
Located in the strategic region of the Ancient Clicia, on the historical Silk Road joining Clicia to Central Anatolia, Tarsus is situated at the junction point of the roads linked to Gülek Pass and the Sertavul Pass. The district is tied in to the Mediterranean with Regma Lagoon on the southern side. It was also a port town open to maritime trade in the Ancient and Middle Ages.
Prehistoric development of Tarsus dates back to Neolithic Age and this age was followed by, respectively, Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages. The district came under the domination of the Kizzuwatna Kingdom, the Hittite, Assyrian, Persian, Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman Empires, and finally the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923.