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Turkey Guide

Gabaklar Pansiyon Datça

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The Hatay region has more cultural links with the Arab world than it does with the Turks as part of it extends into Syria which gives it a very interesting mix of different ethnic and religious cultures. 

The Hatay became part of the Turkish Republic in 1939 after the Ottoman Empire was brought to an end following the First World War although it was briefly independent in 1938 as the Hatay Republic.
It was Ataturk who named it and the name derives from a medieval Turkic tribe, and most of the inhabitants here speak Arabic as their first language and Syria would like to have the Hatay returned to them.  Arabic influences in the Hatay date back to the 7th century AD when Arab raiders arrived during the collapse of the Byzantine Empire and although they were unable to gain political control they did manage to settle permanently and stayed even after region went into Ottoman rule. 

Towns of Hatay


The largest town in the region is Atakya which sits in a valley of the Asi River and is separated by the Nur and Ziyaret mountain ranges. This city dates from the Seleucid era, was an important centre for the Romans, but unfortunately little remains of its ancient past and today has a very modern feel.  It does have an excellent museum and the food here is great which makes it worth staying for a day or two. 


The Hatay’s other main centre is Iskenderun which was established by Alexander the Great in commemoration of his victory of the Persians in a battle at nearby Issus and it went on to be a major trading centre during Roman times.  Today Iskenderun is an industrial, military and commercial centre and has little historical interest although it does have a charming town centre with a wide boulevard and a back drop of the Amanus Mountains. 

Places to Visit in Hatay

Points of interest here are the Adliye Sarayı courtroom which is an impressive neo-classic style French building whose twin towers have clocks that were made in Lyon, and the small church the Surp Karasun Manuk Ermeni Kilisesi constructed in 1892 and was recently restored. 

Other churches include the Greek Orthodox St. Nicholas erected in 1876 and the older smaller St. George, and the Catholic St. Mary’s which is the largest of the town’s churches and was built in the 19th century. 

Hatay Transportation

Buses from all major towns come to Iskenderun and the bus garage is a 15 minute walk from the seafront.  There are daily trains to Adana and Mersin and the station is 1km east of the centre. 

Hatay Amenities

The hotels and pansiyons (bed and breakfast) are located in the centre and there is a variety of restaurants and cafés to suit everyone.

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