Antakya (Hatay, Antioch), Turkey

Last Updated on May 17, 2024

Antakya Museum

One of the major harbor cities, Antakya (Hatay), at the eastern end of Turkey's Mediterranean coast (map), is famous for several things, chief among them the marvelous Roman mosaics in its Archeology Museum.

A visit to Antakya (ahn-TAHK-yah, also called Hatay), three hours' ride southeast from Adana, is a detour from most travelers' routes, requiring a trip south over the Belen Pass (740 meters, 2428 feet), but it's definitely worth it.

If you're on your way to Syria, however, Antakya is right on your route, with easy transport to the border—though safety guidelines and general unrest keeps most people from visiting that once beautiful land.

Antakya Museum Statue.


The province of Hatay, of which Antakya is the capital, was part of Ottoman Syria and, after World War I, part of French Mandate Syria, but joined the Turkish Republic by plebiscite just before World War II. 

It is possible to see what is left behind from the historical ruins. Mosaics, ancient theatres, and stone pavements are some of the most known architectural features examples of Antakya.

Antakya's Place in Christianity

Known as Antioch ad Orontes in Roman times and mentioned as ''Antiochia'' in the Bible, St. Pierre Cave Church is where St Peter is said to have preached in a cave belonging to St Luke. The cave, gouged from the side of Mt Sipylus (Spil Dağı), is thus said to be the first Christian church. You can visit it anytime you want without any charge. Unfortunately, its sustaining wall collapsed after the earthquake, but the historic church remains intact. 

Turkish Döner Kebab among other traditional Turkish meals

Antakya Cuisine

Besides Roman mosaics, Antakya offers you a unique experience with its regional cuisine affected by its culture, especially for a sweet after-dinner treat called künefe. As a mixture of Arabic and Turkish cuisine, there are lots of delicious and diverse foods and traditional desserts like künefe, such as hummus, kombe, kahke, kebabs, and baklava. Locals, who are known for their hospitality and sincerity, welcome you to their restaurants and shops with a warm smile.

Places to Visit & Shopping

While you're in the area, you might want to take a side trip to Samandağ (Seleucia ad Piera), 29 km (18 miles) SW on the Mediterranean (map), especially since Antakya is usually very hot and dry (see When to Go for more.)


Hatay Archeology Museum is also a great place to learn about Antakya culture and see works dated to Roman times. ( It is temporarily closed because of the earthquake.)


Antakya is famous for traditional regional products, including olive oil soap and fine silk. It was also on the Silk Road, and silk cloth is still made and sold in nearby Harbiye (Daphne).


Antakya is truly a remarkable city with a rich history, where the past and present seamlessly come together to create a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you're here for the history or the food, Antakya promises to leave you with great memories that will stay with you long after you've left this wonderful city.

-by Tom Brosnahan, updated by Duru Nemutlu

February 2023 Earthquake

On February 6, 2023, a tragic earthquake occurred in Kahramanmaraş, affecting Antakya as well. The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.8 and was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks which resulted in a tragic loss of life. Hatay sustained heavy damages, and many buildings in Antakya collapsed. Many people lost their homes and lived in tents. The city is still in the process of rebuilding.

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