Tarsus, Mediterranean Turkey Guide

Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul, is now a mostly modern industrial and commercial city on Turkey’s eastern Mediterranean coast just west of Adana (map).

The historic city center holds several buildings of interest:

— The Church Mosque (Kilise Cami, or Baytimur Camii) in the city center was built as a church about 300 AD, perhaps dedicated to St Paul. After a thousand years as a church, it was converted to a mosque in 1415 when the city was conquered from the Byzantines by a Turkish Ramazanoğlu emir.

— The Roman-era Cleopatra’s Gate may have nothing to do with Cleopatra, but it is a monumental remnant of the ancient city’s system of defensive walls.

— St. Paul’s Well, an obviously old stone well, may have nothing to do with St. Paul, but it is interesting to see, and perhaps the main reason many travelers stop in Tarsus.

— The few streets of historic houses near St. Paul’s Well are interesting to walk through, a glimpse at what the town looked like for much of its history during the last millennium.

— The Tarsus Museum is housed in a 16th-century medrese (theological seminary).

Access to Tarsus (TAHR-sus, pop. 200,000) is easy as it lies between Mersin and Adana, with fast highways and frequent busesminibuses and trains.

For fully-escorted tours that visit Tarsus as well as the Seven Churches of Asia, contact Orion-Tour. More…


Distances & Travel Times

Adana: 37 km (23 miles) E, 35 minutes

Alanya: 352 km (219 miles) W, 6.5 hours

Anamur: 237 km (147 miles) W, 4 hours

Ankara: 467 km (290 miles) NW, 8.5 hours

Antakya: 230 km (143 miles) NW, 3.5 hours

İskenderun: 200 km (124 miles) SE, 4 hours

Istanbul: 909 km (565 miles) NW, 14.5 hours

Mersin (İçel): 23 km (14 miles) W, 20 minutes

Osmaniye: 107 km (66 miles) E, 1.5 hour

Silifke: 123 km (76 miles) W, 2 hours

—by Tom Brosnahan


Guided Tours to Tarsus

Mediterranean Turkey

Laodicea

Mediterranean Turkey Maps

Southeastern Turkey

Central Anatolia

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