HATAY - ANTIOCH (ANTAKYA) – TARSUS
Titus Vespasianus Tunnel
The tunnel, which was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2014, was started to be built in 69 AD by the order of the Roman Emperor Vespasian against life-threatening floods and high-water. The construction of the tunnel that would circumvent the city and change the direction of the currents continued until Vespasian’s successor and son Titus’s period 81 AD and it was completed by Antonius Pius in the 2nd century AD. Roman legions and slaves worked in the construction of the tunnel, which was completely carved into the mountain and is 1380 m long, 7 m high and 6 m wide.
Rock Tombs and Beşikli Cave
The cave is near the Titus Tunnel. In the tombs carved into the rocky slopes, there are 12 royal tombs belonging to the Romans, as well as tombs of the kings’ families and the general public. Just above the Necropolis are the remains of the study rooms that were used as official offices at that time.
Teknepinar Batiayaz Plateau
The plateau can be reached by a 20 km asphalt road from Antakya and a 17 km stabilized road from Samandağ district. In this plateau village, where history and nature are intertwined, there are camping and picnic areas full of icy crystal-clear waters, and vegetables and fruits unique to the Mediterranean Region are grown.
Payas Sokollu Mehmet Paşa Complex
The social complex was built in 1574 by Mimar Sinan on the orders of Sokullu Mehmet Pasha, the vizier of Suleiman the Magnificent. It consists of a caravanserai, a bathhouse for men and women, a madrasa, a mosque and a bedesten with 45 shops.
The large courtyard of the caravanserai, which is the most important structure in the complex, is surrounded by domed rooms around which caravans and passengers spent the night.
Located between the Amanos Mountains and the Mediterranean, Arsuz stands out with its natural beauties as well as its historical places, and it is a preferred holiday and tourism center especially for the sea. Apart from the restaurants and entertainment centers around it, it is an ideal holiday destination for trekking, paragliding, diving, hunting tourism and plateau tourism.
Saint Pierre and Saint Paul Church
The construction of the Orthodox Church on Hürriyet Caddesi in Antakya, known as a place where three celestial religions converge, started in the 1860s, but it was damaged by the earthquake of 1872 and destroyed.
The church, which was opened for worship in 1900, has a rectangular plan. The church, whose courtyard is surrounded by porticos, is open to worship today.
Harbiye, which is the Çağlayanlar Region of Hatay, is connected to Antakya with an 8 km road. The ancient names of these waterfalls, which flow into the Asi river, are Kastalia, Pallas and Saramanna.
From the findings obtained in archaeological researches, it is understood that this region has been used as a settlement since 4500-3000 BC. In the Hellenistic and Roman periods, the wealthy people built large mansions and villas to be used as a recreation area in archaic age, as it is today. Seleucus Nikator I, one of the generals of the Macedonian king Alexander the Great, constructed here while building up Antakya.
The Apollon Temple was built during the time of Antiochos Epiphanos, one of the Hellenistic kings. It gained fame with the races and games organized in the name of Apollon in the whole Near East in ancient times.
According to the Legend of Apollon and Daphne, the Harbiye Waterfalls, where the Nymph Daphne, who escaped from God of Light Apollon, turned into a laurel tree, and which is still flowing today is believed to be Daphne’s tears.
It is an ancient city founded by Selevcos Nikator I. in the plain where Kel Mountain and Musa Mountain embrace the Mediterranean, where Asi gives life in Samandağ district. There are cave settlements in the region dating back to the Paleolithic Age. It is especially known for Titus Tunnel and Rock Tombs.
Samandağ-Çevlik beach, which is one of the longest beaches in the world with a length of 14 km, is one of the spawning points for sea turtles.
Samandağ Musa Tree
The tree is located in Hıdırbey Village in Samandağ District of Hatay. Rumor has it that Hz. Hızır and Hz. Moses met in Samandağ Seaside and climbed the mountain together. When they come to the point where this tree is located, Hz. Moses thrust his staff into the ground, bent down and drank water. When he looked again, he saw that the staff was turning green and turned into a sapling. It is believed that the sapling, which came to life from Adam’s wine, has developed over thousands of years and taken its present form.
Hatay Archaeological Museum
Findings mostly dating back to the Roman period in the excavations carried out in Antakya between the years 1932-1939 revealed the richness and grandeur of the city. Many artifacts, including the rich mosaic artifact collection unearthed during the excavations in Antakya, Harbiye and Samandağ, are stored or exhibited in approximately 20 museums around the world such as Princeton University Art Museum (USA), Worcester Museum (USA), Louvre (France) as well as Hatay Archeology Museum today.
Hatay Archeology Museum, which was initiated to collect the artifacts found in the excavations in one place was completed in 1939 and opened to visitors on the 10th anniversary of Hatay‘s accession to the Motherland on 23 July 1948. (http://www.gohatay.org/ Access: 01.12.2020)
Because the existing museum building could not meet the needs and in order to better exhibit the rich collection, the construction of a new Archeology Museum in Hatay was planned and the new museum building, whose foundation was laid on May 26, 2011, was opened on December 28, 2014. With the opening of its new building, the new Hatay Archeology Museum has become the world’s second largest mosaic exhibition area.
The works considered as the world’s largest mosaic collection are exhibited in an area of 3 thousand square meters. The museum building has an exhibition area of 10 thousand 700 square meters in nine different themes: Prehistoric, Paleolithic Culture (Üçağızlı Cave Animation), Amuk Culture (Amik Plain Mound Artifacts), Hellenistic Period (Foundation of Antakya), Roman Period (Mosaics), Necropolis Culture (Sarcophagi), Byzantine Period (Mosaics), Hatay Middle Ages and Religions, History of Hatay Archeology, Current excavations / exhibitions.
It is a historical bazaar in the center of Antakya, which consists of many sections and has served the people living in this city for centuries. The bazaar consists of historical inns, baths, mosques, historical trees and structures. There are many inns (han) and covered bazaars such as Kurşunlu Han, Sidikli Han, Sokullu Han in the bazaar. Cindi Hamamı (bath), Saka Hamamı, Meydan Hamamı, Yeni Hamam are also historical baths that still serve.
(http://hataygastronomi.com/en/products-communinties-markets Accessed: 01.12.2020)
Saint Pierre Church
Accepted “the first cave church in the world”, St. Pierre Church is located on the Antakya-Reyhanlı road, on the western slope of Stauris Haç Mountain, which is an extension of Habib-i Neccar Mountain and in the east of the city. The building, which was transformed into a church with additions when it was a natural cave, has a gothic style with the additional construction made on its front facade in the 12th and 13th centuries. The church was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2011.
St. Pierre, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus, came to Antakya between 29-40 AD and held his first religious meeting in the cave known as St. Pierre today. It is believed to be the first place where St. Pierre preached and that the congregation in the cave was named “Christian” (Hristos) for the first time. Therefore St. Pierre Church is known as the first church of Christianity.
St. Pierre (Saint Petrus) Church was declared a “place of Pilgrimage” by Pope VI in 1963. In the church, which is visited with a modern city view in the background, a ritual is organized by the Catholic Church every year on 29 June.
The cave floor has some mosaic remains belonging to the 4th and 5th centuries. There is an altar, a small marble statue of St. Pierre in a niche, holy water and a tunnel for the congregation to escape secretly during an attack on the church as well. Thousands of local and foreign tourists visit St. Pierre Church every year.
Antakya Ulu Mosque
Ulu Mosque, the oldest and largest among Antakya mosques, is a structure of the social complex, which consists of structures such as a madrasah, summer mosque, şadırvan (water tank with a fountain) fountain, imaret (soup-kitchen) and shops built in different periods, located in the central district of Antakya in Hatay province. The exact construction date of the mosque is unknown. The oldest data that has been found on this subject is the date of 670 (1271) in an inscription found in the minaret and it belongs to the period when Mamluk Sultan Baybars I ruled the city.
Habib-i Neccar Mosque
Habib-i Neccar Mosque was built in 638, when Antakya was dominated by Muslim Arabs. It is accepted to be the first mosque in Anatolia and the Republic of Türkiye. The mosque on Kurtuluş Caddesi was named after an Antiochian who was the first to believe in the apostles of Jesus and died for this cause.
Rumor has it that in the 40s AD, when the helpers of Jesus came to Antakya and tried to explain that God is one, a carpenter (neccar) was the first among those who believed in them. The carpenter gave up his Pagan belief and joined them. However, the new sermons of the apostles angered the people. The king put the apostles in prison. Upon this, a new envoy, Şem’un Safa (Simun Petrus), was sent to Antakya. Şem’un convinced the king with his miracles and saved his friends. The people were determined not to believe in the apostles. The people planned to stone him to death because they thought he brought bad luck. Habib-i Neccar was killed while trying to stop the angry people.
The mosque was built in the place of an old temple during the period of Mamluk Emperor Baybars. In the northeast corner of the mosque, 4 meters below the ground, there are the tombs of Habib-Neccar and Şem’un Safa, and at the entrance there are the tombs of John of patmos and Pavlos. It is surrounded by madrasah rooms. The fountain in the courtyard of the mosque is a 19th century work.
Old Antakya Houses and Streets
Antakya houses that shape its typical narrow streets and give life to these streets with high stone walls, usually single-storey or two-storey architectural structures with rooms around the courtyard inside reflect the way of life, traditions and customs of the people. The houses were made of stone, mudbrick and wood in a way that they have little connection to the streets.
Most of the houses have large courtyards, pools, wells, orchards adorned with fruit trees and flowers. In these houses, which were built 2 centuries ago; ornamentation and craftsmanship are observed in the style of Anatolian architecture.
The church, located in Kurtuluş Caddesi in the city center of Antakya, was opened for worship in the 19th century, when an old Antakya house was converted into a church with a special permission from the Ottoman sultan. The church, which is one of the pillars of the tolerance triangle where the mosque, synagogue and church are located and which is also known as the framework of belief in Antakya has a history of 600 years.
Vakıflı, the only Armenian village of Türkiye, that is 4 km from Hatay’s Samandağ district, is also one of Türkiye’s first organic villages. The village’s two green gardens and the scent of orange blossoms, spread over the broad foothills of Kel Mountain and Musa Mountain, enchant visitors. The entire village population consists of Turkish citizens of Armenian origin.
Vakıflı stands out with products such as organic wine, jam, olive oil, boğma raki made of figs and liqueur made of myrtle fruit produced by the Armenians. The village continues its traditions with the religious ceremonies of Christmas, Easter and the Ascension of the Virgin Mary every year.
The Ancient City