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The Iskenderun shoreline
|• District||636.75 km2 (245.85 sq mi)|
|Elevation||4 m (13 ft)|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
The current mayor is Yusuf Hamit Civelek (CHP).
The city was founded as Alexandria (’Αλεξάνδρεια) and named for Alexander the Great. It was usually distinguished from Alexandria in Egypt by the qualification κατὰ ’Ισσόν (ad Issum, near Issus), which became corrupted to Κάβισσος, Καμβύσου, Καμβίωσα, or Scabiosa.
Other ancient names were Αλεξάνδρεια η μικρά (Alexandria Minor, Alexandria Parva) and Αλεξάνδρεια Κιλικίας (Alexandria of Cilicia).
By the 10th century, Alexandria Scabiosa had become further corrupted to Alexandroukambousou, which in turn was reinterpreted as the two names Alexandrou and Kambysou and then Cambysopolis, the form found in later Notitiae episcopatuum.
Starting in the Middle Ages, Western pilgrims used the diminutive Romance form Alexandretta.
After the Muslim conquest of Syria, it was named al-ʼIskandarūn (Arabic الإسكندرون), the Arabic rendering of the name; in Ottoman Turkish, İskenderūn إسكندرون. In English, the city was sometimes called Scanderoon or Scandaroon, a corruption of its Turkish name.
İskenderun is a busy commercial centre and is one of the largest cities in Hatay Province, similar in size to the provincial seat of Antakya. The city is one of Turkey's largest ports on the Mediterranean and an important industrial centre home to the İsdemir steelworks, one of Turkey's largest. İskenderun has an active, modern life with good hotels, restaurants and cafes along the palm-lined sea front, there is a variety of accommodation for visitors. İskenderun is also an important naval training base.
The climate on this stretch of the Mediterranean is (Köppen: Csa) hot and humid in summer, when people escape to the countryside or to the beach. At certain times of the year the town is swept by a strong wind called 'Yarıkkaya'. The countryside contains large areas of fruit groves, it is an important producers of oranges, tangerines and lemons, and even tropical fruits such as mangoes. Winters are mild and wet.
|Climate data for İskenderun|
|Record high °C (°F)||25.0
|Average high °C (°F)||15.4
|Average low °C (°F)||8.6
|Record low °C (°F)||−0.8
|Precipitation mm (inches)||81.7
|Avg. rainy days||11.3||11.1||11.4||9.4||6.6||3.3||3.1||3.7||5.8||8.7||8.7||11.1||94.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||130.2||142.8||189.1||216||279||309||294.5||288.3||264||232.5||168||124||2,637.4|
|Source #1: Devlet Meteoroloji İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü |
|Source #2: Weatherbase |
Distinctive İskenderun dishes include Künefe, a hot dessert with cheese. The main dishes include the Turkish staples such as döner and other kebabs served in the flat dürüm bread, lahmacun and also Antakya influenced cuisine including kibbeh, and sour pomegranate syrup used as a salad dressing. İskenderun in particular offers good quality fish and prawns.
İskenderun preserves the name, but probably not the exact site, of Alexandria ad Issum. The settlement was founded by Alexander the Great in 333 BC to supersede Myriandrus as the key to the Syrian Gates, about 37 km (23 miles) south of the scene of his victory at the Battle of Issus. Alexander camped in the high-lands of İskenderun, around Esentepe, and then ordered the city to be established and named Alexandria. İskenderun is one of many cities founded on Alexander's orders, including Alexandria, Egypt.
The importance of the place comes from its relation to Syrian Gates, the easiest approach to the open ground of Hatay Province and Aleppo.
The area was still a scene of fighting under the Ottomans, as it was here in 1606 that the army of general Kuyucu Murat Pasha suppressed the rural uprising of Celali Canbulatoğlu. The Ottomans continued to fortify the city and the remains of early 17th-century Ottoman castle walls can still be seen, (where the Güzün stream crosses the Varyant road). The city was well described in 1675 by the English naval chaplain Henry Teonge in his diary. The next army to cross the Pass of Belen and attack Anatolia through here were the Egyptians of Muhammad Ali in 1832.
However in the later Ottoman period the city grew and grew as the main outlet for the overland trade from Baghdad and India, which had great importance until the establishment of the Egyptian overland route. Iskenderun served as a base, first for Genoese and Venetian merchants, then West and North European merchants. The British Levant Company maintained an agency and factory here for 200 years, until 1825, in spite of appalling mortality among its employees. During the 19th century the port grew, the railway was built in 1912, and the road to Aleppo was improved.
At the outset of World War I when Britain was contemplating the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire, Lord Kitchener considered the conquest of Alexandretta to be essential in providing Britain with a port and railhead from which to access Iraq. He proposed a new railway from Alexandretta which would greatly reduce the time for reaching India from the UK. The de Bunsen Committee (8 April - 30 June 1915), a British inter-departmental group which was set up to discuss the issue in greater detail, preferred Haifa for this purpose.
Republic of Hatay
Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War, most of Hatay including İskenderun was occupied by French troops. Between 1921 and 1937 the city was part of the autonomous Sanjak of Alexandretta within French-controlled Syria under the League of Nations French Mandate of Syria and the Lebanon. This led to the foundation of the Republic of Hatay. In 1939, it joined with the Republic of Turkey, after a referendum.
- Yakacık (Payas) - contains a splendid example of Ottoman architecture dating back to the 16th century; the Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Complex comprising a mosque, Turkish bath (hamam), Dervish lodge, bazaar, caravanserai, and madrasa.
- Arsuz (Uluçınar), holiday town on the coast to the south of İskenderun, with beautiful sandy beaches, a very warm sea, and places of historical interest. The coast is lined with holiday homes and there is accommodation in hotels or guest houses.
- The Cathedral of the Annunciation is the seat of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Vicariate of Anatolia.
- Soğukoluk, mountain resort on the way to Antakya a quiet retreat from the heat of the coast in the summer months.
- Bakras - The castle was built in antiquity and much restored since, a watchtower on the mountain road, 27 km (17 mi) from İskenderun on the road to Antakya.
İskenderun is served by the Güney Gazetesi newspaper.
- Hatay Province
- Names of Asian cities in different languages
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
- İskenderun Guide
- "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
- "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
- Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908, s.v. Cambysopolis
- Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd edition, s.v. Iskandarūn
- Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), "Sedi titolari", pp. 819-1013
- David Fromkin (1989). A Peace to End all Peace. p. 149.
- Sarah Shields, Fezzes in the River Oxford University Press, 2011
- Fisk, Robert (1 February 2012). "Robert Fisk: Syria is used to the slings and arrows of friends and enemies". The Independent. Retrieved 15 September 2013. "French handed it over to Turkey after a fraudulent referendum"
- Fisk, Robert. "A LAND IN THE SHADOW OF DEATH". The Independent. Retrieved 15 September 2013. "After engineering a fraudulent referendum in north-west Syria - the Turks trucked their supporters into the city"
- Jack Kalpakian (2004). Identity, Conflict and Cooperation in International River Systems (Hardcover ed.). Ashgate Publishing. p. 130. ISBN 0-7546-3338-1. "Turkish army ... expelled most the province's Alawite Arabs and Armenian majority. A rigged referendum followed"
- İskenderun pictures
- İskenderun News
- Information on İskenderun (Turkish)
- Catholic Church of İskenderun