|• Mayor||Mithat Nehir (ÖDP)|
|• Kaymakam||Tahsin Kurtbeyoğlu|
|• District||445.60 km2 (172.05 sq mi)|
|Elevation||72 m (236 ft)|
|• District Density||290/km2 (750/sq mi)|
Samandağ, is a town and district in Hatay Province of southern Turkey, at the mouth of the Orontes River on the Mediterranean coast, near Turkey's border with Syria, 25 km (16 mi) from the city of Antakya. The mayor is Mithat Nehir (ÖDP).
Samandağ was formerly known as Samanda, Yukarı Alevışık, Levşiye and Süveydiye (Armenian: Սվեդիա Svedia) and was officially named Samandağ (meaning "Straw Mountain") in 1948.
Samandağ lies near the site of the ancient Seleucia Pieria, founded in 300 BC by Seleucus Nicator a general of Alexander the Great, in the Seleucid era that followed Alexander's demise. Seleucia Pieria quickly became a major Mediterranean port of the Hellenistic and Roman eras, the port of Antioch. But it was subject to silting and an earthquake in 526 finally completed its demise as a port. Samandağ, then called St Symeon, became the port of Antioch, and played an important role in the capture of the city by the Crusaders in 1098.
Samandağ itself is a small town of 35,000 people, close to the city of Antakya. The local economy depends on fishing and agriculture, especially citrus fruits, and Samandağ has the air of a country market town, with young men buzzing through the streets on mopeds. Around the village of Çevlik (derived from Seleucia) there is a long sandy coastline popular with daytrippers from Antakya, although the sea can be stormy. This is an important nesting area of the endangered sea turtles Caretta caretta.
Besides Turks, Samandağ has a sizable Arabic speaking population who adhere to the Alawite sect of Shia Islam. There are also Arab and Aramaic Christian communities in the district and the village of Vakıflı is Turkey's only rural Armenian community. Politically Samandağ is traditionally left-leaning. In the 2009 local elections, Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) candidate Mithat Nehir was elected mayor of the ilçe (the sole victorious ÖDP candidate in the entire republic).
Places of interest
- The tunnel of Vespasian, in the village of Kapısuyu , built as a water channel in the 2nd century.
- The tomb of the Muslim saint Hızır.
- "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.
- John H. Pryor, Logistics of Warfare in the Age of the Crusades, p. 303