Antakya – Hatay

Antakya, known as ancient Antioch, is a very interesting city that has Turks, Arabs and Kurds living all together peacefully. Antakya is presently the capital of the Hatay province and has an extraordinarily rich historical past. This ancient city has witnessed a variety of settlements and civilizations. As the city is located in a geographically important location on trade roads, it got a lot of attention throughout the history. The city also boasts of an elegant natural setting. 

The Archeological Museum of Antakya is a must-see place in Antakya. It is renowned for its splendid collection of Roman mosaics that has been recovered from Antioch ad Orontes (Antakya), the garden suburb of Daphne (now called Harbiye), from Roman Mediterranean seaside villas, and from Tarsus by archeological teams from Princeton University in the early decades of the 20th century. The museum also houses discoveries from the Amik Plain and some Roman sarcophagi.

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Saint Peter Church

According to the history, Early Christians held their worship services secretly in this 13-meter-deep cave, now called the Saint Peter Church.It is believed that St. Peter was selected as the leader and “first bishop” of Christianity in this church. The term “Christian” was first used here to describe adherents to the new religion, who were proselytized from both the large Jewish community and the even larger number of Gentiles. Crusaders captured Antioch in 1098 on their way to the Holy Land and built the stone screen wall in front of the cave. In 1863 Pope Pius IX asked Capuchin monks to restore the church and it has been restored by then. 
The church has been restored again in 2014 and it is a museum now that is visited by as many as 250,000 pilgrims and visitors each year. Religious services may be conducted with the permission of the Directorate of Museums.

Harbiye- Daphne

The Romans came to this forested resort suburb to enjoy its ebullient cascades and cooling, shaded streams of clear water. They built spacious villas with rich mosaics. The people of Antakya still go there to sit in the shade, dangle their feet in the cool streams, sip tea, talk and dine. Tables and chairs are set by the water, or even right in the water. There is also a little waterfall there. It’s quite a nice place to cool off in hot summer days.

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