Mersin (pronounced [ˈmæɾsin]) is a large city and a port on the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey. It is composed of four municipalities and district governorates: Akdeniz, Mezitli, Toroslar and Yenişehir.

Mersin is located in Turkey
Location of Mersin within Turkey
Mersin is located in Europe
Mersin (Europe)
Mersin is located in Asia
Mersin (Asia)
Coordinates: 36°48′N 34°38′E / 36.800°N 34.633°E / 36.800; 34.633Coordinates: 36°48′N 34°38′E / 36.800°N 34.633°E / 36.800; 34.633
 • MayorVahap Seçer (CHP)
 • Metropolitan municipality15,485 km2 (5,979 sq mi)
 • Urban
1,590 km2 (610 sq mi)
 • Metro
1,590 km2 (610 sq mi)
10 m (30 ft)
 (31/12/2021 estimation)[1]
 • Metropolitan municipality1,891,145
 • Density120/km2 (320/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Urban density670/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density670/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+3 (TRT)
Postal code
Area code(+90) 324 Metropolitan Municipality
Licence plate33

As of the last 2021 estimation, the Metropolitan Province population was 1,891,145 inhabitants whom 1,064,850 lived in the built-up (or metro) area made of the 4 urban districts, making it the 11th millionaire built-up area of Turkey. As urbanization continue towards east, a larger metropolitan region with Tarsus and Adana is in making with more than 3.3 million inhabitants, the Adana-Mersin Metropolitan Area, and lies on the western part of Çukurova, a geographical, economic and cultural region.

Mersin is an important hub of Turkey's economy, and Turkey's largest seaport is located in the city. Mersin's nickname in Turkey is "Pearl of the Mediterranean" (Turkish: Akdeniz'in İncisi), and the city hosted the 2013 Mediterranean Games. Mersin is the provincial capital of the eponymous Mersin Province of Turkey.


The city was named after the aromatic plant genus Myrsine (Turkish: Mersin, Greek: Μυρσίνη) in the family Primulaceae, a myrtle that grows in abundance in the area. The 17th-century Ottoman traveler Evliya Çelebi has recorded in his Seyahatnâme that there was also a clan named Mersinoğulları (Sons of Mersin) in the area.[2]



This coast has been inhabited since the 9th millennium BC. Excavations by John Garstang of the hill of Yumuktepe have revealed 23 levels of occupation, the earliest dating from ca. 6300 BC. Fortifications were put up around 4500 BC, but the site appears to have been abandoned between 350 BC and 300 BC.

Classical eraEdit

In subsequent centuries, the city became a part of many states and civilizations including the Hittites, Assyrians, Urartians, Persians, Greeks, Armenians, Seleucids and Lagids. During the Ancient Greek period, the city bore the name Zephyrion (Greek: Ζεφύριον[3]) and was mentioned by numerous ancient authors. Apart from its natural harbor and strategic position along the trade routes of southern Anatolia, the city profited from trade in molybdenum (white lead) from the neighbouring mines of Coreyra. Ancient sources attributed the best molybdenum to the city, which also minted its own coins.

Hellenistic sculpture in Mersin Archaeological Museum

The area later became a part of the Roman province of Cilicia, which had its capital at Tarsus, while nearby Mersin was the major port.[citation needed] The city, whose name was Latinized to Zephyrium, was renamed as Hadrianopolis in honor of the Roman emperor Hadrian.

After the death of the emperor Theodosius I in 395 and the subsequent permanent division of the Roman Empire, Mersin fell into what became the Byzantine Empire.

The city was an episcopal see under the Patriarchate of Antioch. Le Quien names four bishops of Zephyrium:[4] Aerius, present at the First Council of Constantinople in 381; Zenobius, a Nestorian, the writer of a letter protesting the removal of Bishop Meletius of Mopsuestia by Patriarch John of Antioch (429–441); Hypatius, present at the Council of Chalcedon in 451; and Peter, at the Council in Trullo in 692. The bishopric is included in the Catholic Church's list of titular sees, but since the Second Vatican Council no new titular bishop of this Eastern see has been appointed.[5]

Medieval PeriodEdit

The area of Cilicia was conquered by the Arabs in the early 7th century, by which time it appears it was a deserted site. After them came the Egyptian Tulunids, the Byzantines between 965 and the 12th century, the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, Mamluks, Anatolian beyliks, and finally the city was conquered by the Ottomans from the Ramadanid Principality in 1473 and formally annexed by Selim I in 1517.

Ottoman EmpireEdit

During the American Civil War, the region became a major supplier of cotton to make up for the high demand due to shortage. Railroads were extended to Mersin in 1866 from where cotton was exported by sea, and the city developed into a major trade center.

In 1909, Mersin's port hosted 645 steamships and 797,433 tons of goods. Before World War I, Mersin exported mainly sesame seeds, cottonseed, cakes and cereals, cotton, and livestock. Cotton was exported to Europe, grain to Turkey, and livestock to Egypt. Coal was the most prevalent import into Mersin at this time. Messageries Maritimes was the largest shipping line to use the port at Mersin.[6]

In 1918, Mersin was occupied by French and British troops in accordance with the Treaty of Sèvres. It was recovered by the Turkish army in 1921 through Franco-Turkish War. In 1924, Mersin was made a province, and in 1933 Mersin and İçel provinces were merged to form the (greater Mersin) İçel Province. The capital of the province was Mersin. In 2002 the name of the province was changed to Mersin Province.[7]

As of 1920, Mersin had five piers at its port, with one privately owned by a railroad company serving Mersin, Tarsus, and Adana.[8]

Modern MersinEdit

Limonluk neighbourhood in Mersin is a popular Mediterranean destination for local tourists

Today, Mersin is a large city spreading out along the coast, with skyscrapers, huge hotels, an opera house, expensive real estate near the sea or up in the hills, and many other modern urban amenities. The seaside of Mersin is the longest seaside in Turkey as well as in Eastern Mediterranean.

Bozyazı coast of the city

The Metropolitan Municipality is now trying to rescue the sea front with walkways, parks and statues, and there are still palm trees on the roadsides especially where the young generation like to hang out in the cafés and patisseries of smart neighbourhoods such as Pozcu or Çamlıbel.[which?] These are established neighbourhoods where there are many well-known shops and restaurants with years of experience and reputations to protect. The city centre is a maze of narrow streets and arcades of little shops and cafes, with young people buzzing around on scooters. The old quarter near the fish market is where you will find the stalls selling tantuni and grilled liver sandwiches.

One of the most distinctive features of the city as a whole is the solar heating panels, they are everywhere, on top of every building.


Mersin has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa, Trewartha climate classification: Cs), a type of subtropical climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Mersin has its highest rainfall in winter. The driest months are in summer with hardly any rainfall at all. The highest temperature of Mersin was recorded on 3 September 2020 at 41.5 °C (106.7 °F).

Climate data for Mersin (1991–2020, extremes 1940–2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 25.2
Average high °C (°F) 15.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 11.0
Average low °C (°F) 7.6
Record low °C (°F) −6.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 115.9
Average rainy days 10.97 9.93 8.57 8.73 7.53 3.67 1.67 1.30 2.47 5.90 7.43 11.07 79.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 148.8 158.2 210.8 231.0 263.5 294.0 313.1 303.8 273.0 235.6 177.0 142.6 2,751.4
Mean daily sunshine hours 4.8 5.6 6.8 7.7 8.5 9.8 10.1 9.8 9.1 7.6 5.9 4.6 7.5
Source: Turkish State Meteorological Service[9]


Forum Mersin is the largest shopping area in the city

The population of the city was 1,035,652 (Mersin Province: 1,840,425) according to 2019 estimates. The population of the sub municipalities within Greater Mersin is shown below:[10]

Name of the municipality Population 2011 Population 2013 Population 2020
Akdeniz 274,684 279,383 259,381
Mezitli 133,378 158,482 211,538
Toroslar 252,706 277,658 310,606
Yenişehir 198,912 224,995 268,776


The Mersin Interfaith Cemetery, sometimes also called Tolerance, is renowned for being a common cemetery of all religions. It includes graves of Muslims, Christians and Jews.[11][12]

Economy and transportationEdit

North side of the city of Mersin. The city had a rapid ubranization in the recent years.

Historically, Mersin was a major producer of cottonseed oil.[13] The rural area around Mersin is famous for citrus and cotton production. Banana, olive and various fruits are also produced.

The biggest shopping mall of the city, Forum Mersin is home to more than 100 shops.[14]

The Port of Mersin is the mainstay of city's economy. The port is an international hub for many vessels routing to European countries, and is currently[when?] being operated by PSA International. There are 45 piers, a total port area of 785,000 square metres (194 acres), with a capacity of 6,000 ships per year.

Adjacent to the port is Mersin Free Zone established in 1986, the first free zone in Turkey, with warehouses, shops, assembly-disassembly, maintenance and engineering workshops, banking and insurance, packing-repacking, labelling and exhibition facilities. The zone is a publicly owned center for foreign investors, close to major markets in the (Middle East, North Africa, East and West Europe, Russian Federation and Central Asia. The trading volume of the free zone was USD 51.8 billion in 2002.

Mersin Train Station

Mersin has highway connections to the north, east and west. Mersin is also connected to the southern railroad. Adana Airport is the main airport serving the city and located 69 kilometres (43 mi) outside of Mersin's city centre. Mersin railway station is the main railway station in the city. The station is located in the district of Akdeniz and in use since 1886. Mersin Bus Terminus is the newly built bus terminus of Mersin for intercity bus service. Opened on 28 February 2015, it replaced the former bus terminus, which served from 1986. A metro system is planned, with 11 stations and a length of 13.4 kilometres (8.3 mi).[15]

Turkey had planned to construct Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, which would become its first nuclear power plant, some 80 miles west of Mersin.[16] In March 2008, Turkey opened the bidding for the construction of the plant. Environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, has opposed the construction.[16] As of 2022 the plant is still under construction.


Local TV channels
Local radio channels
  • Radyo Metropol (101.8)
  • Tarsus Süper FM (91.1)
  • Tempo 94 FM (94.3)
  • Örgün FM (94.7)
  • Tarsus Star FM (95.5)
  • Tarsus Radyo Time (97.7)
  • Flaş FM (98.3)
  • Mix FM (91.6) (sadece yabancı müzik, 1993-günümüz)
  • Kent Radyo (98.5)


Tisan Yarımadası in Mersin

Because the city has been a crossroads for centuries, the local culture is a medley of civilizations. Mersin has a State Opera and Ballet, the fourth in Turkey after Istanbul, İzmir and Ankara. Mersin International Music Festival was established in 2001 and takes place every October.

Tennis courts in Mersin

The photography associations Mersin Fotoğraf Derneği (MFD) and Mersin Olba Fotoğraf Derneği (MOF) are amongst the most popular and active cultural organizations in the city. Some cultural activities are sponsored by the İçel Sanat Kulübü (i.e. Art Club of Mersin) and Mediterranean Opera and Ballet Club.

There are six museums within the Mersin's urban area; Mersin Museum, Mersin Atatürk Museum, Mersin Naval Museum, Mersin State Art and Sculpture Museum, Mersin Urban History Museum, Mersin Water Museum.


The local cuisine of Mersin is well-known in Turkey, and restaurants specializing on Mersin's cuisine can be found all over Turkey. The provincial cuisine includes specialties such as:


The city was formerly home to Mersin İdman Yurdu, a football club that played in the Süper Lig as recently as the 2015–16 season. The men's basketball team of the Mersin Büyükşehir Belediyesi S.K. plays in the Turkish Basketball League while its women's basketball team plays in the Turkish Women's Basketball League.

The city has two football stadiums: Mersin Arena, with a seating capacity of 25,534, and Tevfik Sırrı Gür Stadium, which has a capacity of 10,128. The men's and women's basketball teams of the Mersin Büyükşehir Belediyesi S.K. play their home matches at the Edip Buran Sport Hall, which has a seating capacity of 2,700.

Mersin hosted the 2013 Mediterranean Games. For this purpose, eleven new sports venues were built. The Servet Tazegül Arena, the fourth biggest indoor arena of Turkey with its 7,500 seating capacity, hosted the men's basketball events and the volleyball finals of the Games.[17] The athletics and paralympic athletics events were held at the Nevin Yanıt Athletics Complex.[18]


Mersin University Dorms

Mersin University was founded in 1992 and started teaching in 1993–1994, with 11 faculties, 6 schools and 9 vocational schools. The university has had about 10 thousand graduates, has broadened its current academic staff to more than 2,100 academicians, and enrolls 22,000 students.

Toros University, a non-profit private foundation university is also established in Mersin since 2009.

International relationsEdit

Twin towns – sister citiesEdit

Mersin is twinned with:[19]

  1. ^ Gazi Mağusa, also known as Famagusta is de jure a part of Republic of Cyprus, but the city is de facto administrated by the self declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The twinning is between Northern Cypriot and Turkish administration.

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ "Turkey: Administrative Division (Provinces and Districts) - Population Statistics, Charts and Map".
  2. ^ İçel: Mersin- Tarsus- Çamlıyayla- Erdemli- Silifke- Aydıncık- Bozyazı- Anamur- Gülnar- Mut (Kültür, Turizm ve Tanıtım yayınları, 1992), p. 7.
  3. ^ Archived 2007-06-14 at retrieved June 14, 2007
  4. ^ Le Quien, Michel (1740). "Ecclesia Zephyrii". Oriens Christianus, in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus: quo exhibentur ecclesiæ, patriarchæ, cæterique præsules totius Orientis. Tomus secundus, in quo Illyricum Orientale ad Patriarchatum Constantinopolitanum pertinens, Patriarchatus Alexandrinus & Antiochenus, magnæque Chaldæorum & Jacobitarum Diœceses exponuntur (in Latin). Paris: Ex Typographia Regia. cols. 883–884. OCLC 955922747.
  5. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 1012
  6. ^ Prothero, G.W. (1920). Anatolia. London: H.M. Stationery Office.
  7. ^ "Tarih".
  8. ^ Prothero, G.W. (1920). Anatolia. London: H.M. Stationery Office.
  9. ^ "Resmi İstatistikler: İllerimize Ait Mevism Normalleri (1991–2020)" (in Turkish). Turkish State Meteorological Service. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  10. ^ Population page}}
  11. ^ "Mersin Mezarlığı'nda Hristiyan ve Müslümanlar birlikte dua etti-Mersin Haberleri". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2014-07-25.
  12. ^ GÜNGÖR, İZGİ (10 March 2008). "Not only bodies, but prejudices buried in Mersin Cemetery". Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  13. ^ Prothero, G.W. (1920). Anatolia. London: H.M. Stationery Office. p. 113.
  14. ^ KINALI, Tuncay. "Mağazalar – Forum Mersin Alışveriş Merkezi". Archived from the original on 2015-01-08. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  15. ^ "Mersin'e metro geliyor". 5 July 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  16. ^ a b Demonstration against nuclear power in Mersin Archived 2011-08-15 at the Wayback Machine Firat News agency
  17. ^ "Mersin, Tesisleri ile Fark Yaratacak..." (in Turkish). Mersin 2013 XVII Akdeniz Oyunları. Archived from the original on 2013-05-07. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  18. ^ "Nevin Yanıt Atletizm Kompleksi" (in Turkish). 2013 Mersin XVII Akdeniz Oyunlatı. Archived from the original on 2013-05-12. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  19. ^ "Kardeş Şehirlerimiz". (in Turkish). Mersin. Archived from the original on 2020-02-29. Retrieved 2020-01-19.

External linksEdit