Mersin (İçel), Turkey Guide

Mersin is the major commercial city and shipping porton Turkey’s eastern Mediterranean coast (map), but not a major tourist destination.

Mersin (MEHR-seen, population 1.5 million) is the capital of the province of İçel, and the major port for shipments to and from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus(maps). In fact, the city of Mersin is sometimes called İçel (EE-chell).

It has good hotels—even a Hilton—so you can stay here comfortably enough. If you do, have a look at the space-age Great Mosque (Ulu Cami) on the main square of Customhouse Square (Gümrük Meydanı), an unusually modern place of worship in this land slavishly devoted to the great age of Ottoman architecture.

Also peek into the Atatürk House (Atatürk Evi, closed Sunday), a stone house used by Kemal Atatürk on his visits; and the small museum (closed Monday).

Mersin is easy to reach by bus, being a major transport point. The highway from Mersin east to Adana and Osmaniye is four lanes.

Ferries cross the water between Mersin and Magusa(Famagusta) in northern Cyprus several days each week carrying cars and passengers (buy your tickets at least a day in advance).

The nearest airport is 50 km (31 miles) east at Adana.


Distances & Travel Times

Adana: 55 km (34 miles) E, 45 minutes

Alanya: 385 km (239 miles) W, 7 hours

Anamur: 260 km (162 miles) W, 4.5 hours

Ankara: 490 km (305 miles) NW, 9 hours

Antakya: 245 km (152 miles) SE, 3.75 hours

İskenderun: 177 km (110 miles) SE, 3.25 hours

Istanbul: 932 km (579 miles) NW, 15 hours

Osmaniye: 130 km (81 miles) E, 1.75 hour

Silifke: 100 km (62 miles) W, 1.5 hours

Tarsus: 23 km (14 miles) E, 20 minutes

—by Tom Brosnahan


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