|• Mayor||Türkeş Filik (MHP)|
|• Kaymakam||İsmail Hakkı Ertaş|
|• District||553.95 km2 (213.88 sq mi)|
|Elevation||120 m (390 ft)|
|• District density||32/km2 (84/sq mi)|
Yumurtalık (meaning "egg nest") is a small city and a district in Adana Province of Turkey. It was formerly called Aegeae, Ayas, or Laiazzo. It is a Mediterranean port at a distance of about 40 km (25 mi) from Adana city. Yumurtalık's population does not exceed 5,000 in winter, but in summer, it rises to 30 to 40,000 people since many inhabitants of Adana have holiday homes here. There are also many daily visitors during the holiday season.
Yumurtalık has a large free economic zone housing the production units of up to thirty companies presently in operation or in phase of being built. Fields of activities include industries ranging from petrochemicals, synthetic fibers and steel industry, and there are also plans for establishing a major shipyard.
The port has a long history, at least to 2000BC. Hittite pottery of the 17th century BC has been found in the mound of Zeytinbeli Höyük.
This Cilician port city is mentioned by Pausanias under the name Aegeae. a name that appears also in its coinage (Αἰγέαι in Greek), It was located on the Gulf of Issus (modern Gulf of İskenderun). Tacitus' Annals XIII:8 also mentions it in its account of the war between Armenia/Rome and Iberia/Parthia. Apollonius of Tyana (c. 15 – c. 100) made his early studies at Aegeae, when the city was at its cultural height.
Christianity came early to Aegeae, to judge by the numerous martyrs recorded in the Acta Sanctorum and the Greek menologia, of whom the most famous are Saints Cosmas and Damian, commemorated in the Roman Martyrology under 26 September.
The martyr Zenobius is traditionally considered to be the first bishop of Aegeae. Tarcodimantus, an Arian, was bishop at the time of the First Council of Nicaea (325). Patrophilus was a correspondent of Basil the Great; another unnamed bishop of Aegeae was an adversary of John Chrysostom; Eustathius was at the Council of Chalcedon (351) and was a correspondent of Theodoret; Julius was expelled from his see by Byzantine Emperor Justin I in 518 because of supporting Monophysitism; Thomas was at a synod in Mopsuestia in 550; and Paschalius was at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553. As indicated in a 6th-century Notitiae Episcopatuum, the see itself was a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Anazarbus, the capital of the Roman province of Cilicia, to which Aegeae belonged. No longer a residential bishopric, Aegeae is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.
In the Middle Ages, and particularly in the 13th century, Aegeae grew to become an important harbour city of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. The Venetians called Aegeae Aiazzo or (incorporating the initial of the definite article) Laiazzo, and it became known locally as Ayas (Armenian: Այաս). The fall of Acre and the silting up of the harbour of Tarsus made it became the centre of trade between West and East, benefitting from its good roads eastward. Marco Polo disembarked here to begin his trip to China in 1271. The Battle of Laiazzo in 1294, in which the navy of the Republic of Genoa overcame that of the Republic of Venice, is thought by some to be that in which Marco Polo later became a prisoner of the Genoese. Within the city a quarter and trading post belonging to another of the Italian maritime republics, Pisa, was also established. The city was increasingly oppressed by the Mamluks and fell definitively into their hands in 1347, and when European trade routes with the East moved away from the Mediterranean, the city and its harbour lost importance. Later, it was ruled by the Anatolian beylik of Ramadanids and after the 16th century, by the Ottoman Empire.
In 1974, actor and film director Yılmaz Güney was arrested at Yumurtalık after a shooting incident that involved the murder of a Yumurtalık judge.
The sea is clean and there is still a relaxed feel to this coast, so Yumurtalık is a holiday and weekend retreat for the people of Adana and of other cities in Çukurova region, who come to stay in seaside holiday flats generally built in compounds. There are also small hotels and guest houses for occasional visitor who can swim during the day and stroll along the beach or into the village in the evenings. The public beaches are not very well kept by the municipality, and they are sometimes covered with litter. But the holiday villages have private beaches which are kept clean and can also be used by outsiders for a small daily entrance fee.
A number of beaches in Yumurtalık are also the nesting places for loggerhead sea turtle caretta caretta breed. In fact the amount of beach-front holiday property is also part of the problem, even though the sand is clean the turtles won't lay eggs in these busy beaches with neon-lit discothèques blasting out all night. Adequate protection for the turtle's nesting habitat continues to remain a critical question. These endangered species lay eggs only in Yumurtalık, in Akyatan beach in neighboring Karataş district and in İztuzu Beach in Dalyan in southwestern Turkey. In fact, the very name Yumurtalık means, among other things, egg nest in Turkish language.
As well as tourism, the fertile agricultural lands that extend behind the coast are also a key factor in local economy and quality tomatoes, watermelons and other fruits and vegetables are extensively produced in Yumurtalık.
Just outside Yumurtalık is the Botaş oil and natural gas terminal. It is the end of the Kirkuk–Ceyhan Oil Pipeline running from Northern Iraq, which was opened in the 1970s. Refined oils are also imported through here by sea. Immediately to the southwest, there is the oil terminal for crude oil pipeline from Baku, opened in 2006. Further in the same direction, there is a recently built and coal-fired power plant.
Places of interest
- Ayas castle is reported to be the dock used by Marco Polo when sailing back from Asia.
- The tower of Suleyman
- Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) beaches.
There are also picnic areas, a beach and birdwatching facilities in the lagoon.
- "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.
- Täuber, Hans (Vienna). "Aegeae." Brill’s New Pauly. Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and Helmuth Schneider. Brill Online, 02 October 2014
- "En büyük tersane (The largest shipyard)" (in Turkish). Lojiport.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece, v.21.11
- Andrew Burnett, Michael Amandry, Pere Pau Ripollès, Ian Carradice, Roman Provincial Coinage, Supplement 2 (2006), Nos. 4030–4046
- Martyrologium Romanum (Vatican 2001 ISBN 978-88-209-7210-3)
- Michel Lequien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, Paris 1740, Vol. II, coll. 893-896
- Sophrone Pétridès, v. Aegae ou Aegaeae, in Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Géographie ecclésiastiques, vol. I, Paris 1909, coll. 645-647
- Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 885
- Erdal Eser, "From the Roman Settlement of Aigai to Ayas" in VAMZ, 3.s., XLII 421–441 (2009), pp. 421–441
- Quarterly Review, vols. 125–126, Leonard Scott Publishing Company, NY (1868)
- Leonardo Olschki, Marco Polo's Asia (University of California Press 1960), p. 103
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