Mersin or Icel, is one of the most modern provinces of Turkey located on southern part of Turkey. It is the major commercial city on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, but not a major tourist destination because of a little hard to get to location. Mersin is the largest port on the Turkish Mediterranean region, and one of the most crowded cities in Turkey with approximately 2 million population. As a characteristic feature of Mediterranean cities, fish is abundant in the city and you can find inexpensive fish restaurants which are really enjoyable for those who love fish and “Raki” or wine.
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Kızkalesi (Maiden’s Castle), 50km southwest of Mersin, is a lovely town with fine sandy beaches and camp sites. It is also home to the ancient city of Korykos. The 12th century castle of Korykos on the shore faces another castle, Kızkalesi, standing on a tiny island 200m offshore. Just beyond Kızkalesi, on a bay lined with fish restaurants at the little fishing village of Narlıkuyu, a Roman mosaic known as the Three Graces can be found. Further on at the bottom of a valley is a naturally formed cave, 275m by 125m in size, known as Cennet (Heaven) and there is also a deep chasm (50-75m wide and 80-120m deep) called Cehennem (Hell). In the so-called Vale of Heaven are the ruins of a temple converted into a Christian chapel in the 5th century.
Tarsus is probably the most important town of Mersin province. It is the birthplace of Saint Paul. It is still possible to see his house and his cistern in Tarsus center. To reach St. Paul’s Cistern you will pass through narrow streets of the city and the old houses on the sides. The town is also the meeting place of legendary loves Anthony and Cleopatra, and there is a commemorative Cleopatra Gate.