|Central of City|
Mersin as the provincial capital
On its western side is Antalya, one of the most attractive touristic centres of Turkey, on its
eastern side Adana, an agricultural and industrial centre; its southern side consists entirely of
the Mediterranean seashore and on its northern side it is separated from the Anatolian
mainland by means of the Taurus mountain range.
It is one of the important ports of the Mediterranean and a centre of maritime commerce, just
as it was during very ancient times.
There have been very few archaeological findings concerning Zephyrium, which is considered
to be the first urban settlement in the area occupied by present day Mersin. The walls, marble
columns and various architectural elements found in the Çavuşlu neighbourhood are the only
things that have survived from Zephyrium. It is thought that archaeological excavations to be
done in the tumulus will provide us with important data that will shed light on the history of
both Mersin and Kilikia and also, at a more general level, on the history of civilisation.
Mersin was an important city in ancient times, but later it lost its importance. Towards the
mid 19th century its rebirth as an urban centre began.
During this time it acquired importance as a port from where the agricultural products of the
fertile Çukurova plain and of Central Anatolia, with which it had a rail connection, were
exported to Europe.
Many European countries established consulates, and commercial companies established
representative offices. During this period, on the one hand Ottoman architectural works were
completed and on the other Catholic and Orthodox churches were built. These churches have
survived to our days and most still have their communities of faithful.
In our days Mersin is a modern Mediterranean city and port, with large boulevards and green
Pompeipolis, with its urban location surrounded with modern buildings, is an exciting
archaeological site. Situated as its is, among 20 story apartment towers, it is truly impressive.
The colonnaded road is enough to give us an idea about the richness and architectural
splendour of this city. Before being destroyed by an earthquake in the 6th century,
Pompeipolis was an important Roman city. It is thought that the 450 metre long and 10
metre wide avenue leading to the sea was built in the 2nd or 3rd century. Forty of the 200
columns originally embellishing the road have been recovered.
Excavations are on-going and every day a little more light is being shed on its history.
Previously this area was occupied by the city of Soloi, which means sun. It was a port, it had
grown rich by trading with Cyprus and Egypt, and had progressed in philosophy and the
The Roman General Pompeius, who had come to Kilikia with his army, put an end to the
activities of the pirates who were based here.
He rebuilt the city and gave it his own name. Thus Soloi became Pompeipolis. The city
maintained its importance during the Byzantine period and was a bishopric.
A great earthquake in 527 destroyed the city.