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Erdemli

The western part of Mersin province - A long shore, beaches and the blue sea
Mersin has a very long shore extending from the city centre towards the west. The coastal plain, the border of which consists of the verdant foothills of the Taurus range, presents different characteristics in its various areas.

At times the coastal plain disappears as the mountains extend all the way down to the sea with steep cliffs. However in general the range of mountains is at some distance from the shore and parallel to it and the plain meets the deep blue sea in the guise of long beaches with fine sand.

On one side there is the blue Mediterranean and on the other banana plantations, and orange and lemon groves, through which streams originating from the mountains flow into the sea. Beyond them there are the forests on the foothills.

The beach resorts begin with Erdemli, which by now has become part of the urban expansion of Mersin and end at Anamur, on the border with the province of Antalya. All along this shore there are no polluting industries. For miles and miles after the end of the urban landscape, orchards and vegetable gardens are the undisputed masters of the land. The sea seems to be reserved for fishing boats and yachts and of course the ferries sailing towards Cyprus. Ports, marinas and pleasant inlets are full of fishing boats.

One must not forget the protected giant sea turtles known as Caretta caretta and the cute Mediterranean seals, known as Monacus monacus.

In addition, there is a rich architectural history inherited from ancient Kilikia: cities and their walls, forts and their bastions, and churches and monasteries.

Also elements of the traditions of the first Turkish tribes that came to the area have survived.

Kanlıdivane (Kanytelleis, Neapolis)
The reason why this ancient city has been called Kanlıdivane (bloody suffering) is based on the belief that in ancient times convicts used to be thrown down a deep gully in the area, to be devoured by savage beasts.

There are the Kanyteleis - Neapolis ruins on the 15th kilometre of the road leading to Silifke, in the Ayaş area, at a distance from the centre of Mersin of 45 kilometres. A three kilometre- long paved road leads to the ancient city. This road was first built by the ancient Romans.

This archaeological site, which became known in the Western world during the 19th century, was established around a large depression of the land as the sacred site of the Kingdom of Olba. Later, in 408 AD , the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II rebuilt this site as a city and named it Neapolis (New City). The city experienced its most glorious years during the 5th century.

The impressive necropolis of Eliaussa – Sebaste
The city was founded during the Late Hellenistic Period (second and first centuries B.C.). The city lived through its most glorious period during Roman and early Christian times. Its natural harbour and fertile agricultural lands gave the city advantages that brought about its development and its wealth.

The city was established on a hilly peninsula and later expanded towards inland. The period of peace that began after Pompeius eliminated the danger of pirates favoured the development of the city. However, the most important factor in the development of the city was the fact that the city was ceded to the Cappadocian king Archelaos, during the reign of Emperor Augustus, and that consequently the king moved here. As a sign of his gratitude and loyalty to Augustus, Archelaos renamed the city Sebaste.

Necropolis (cemetery)
The most interesting place of this archaeological site is its vast cemetery. The great necropolis that nowadays is surrounded by lemon groves is one of the best preserved necropolises of Anatolia. The cemetery and its monumental tombs occupy a vast area. There are family tombs in the shape of houses or temples, sarcophagi that are simple or that are placed on pedestals, dug out tombs in the shape of a niche and chamasoria (sarcophagi dug out in rocks) and many more tombs in various shapes.

Some of these imposing tombs ended up being used as dwellings. Even nowadays some are used as stables or barns. As a result of continuous and inappropriate usage, their external decorations consisting of paintings or sculptures have disappeared. All the same these tombs show us how rich the city grew as a result of its agricultural and commercial activities.




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