|• Mayor||Mithat Nehir (2009-) (ÖDP in 2009, CHP in 2014)|
|• Kaymakam||Cahit Çelik (2014-)|
|• District||445.60 km2 (172.05 sq mi)|
|Elevation||72 m (236 ft)|
|• District density||290/km2 (750/sq mi)|
Samandağ (Arabic: السويدية, as-Sūwaydīyah) 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 (CHP).
Samandağ was formerly known as Yukarı Alevışık, Levşiye and Süveydiye (Armenian: Սվեդիա Svedia) and was officially named Samandağ (Seman Dağ, Turkish for Jabal Sem'an: St Symeon 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 turtle Caretta caretta.
Majority of its population is composed of Arabic speakers who adhere to the Alawite sect of Shia Islam. There are also Sunni Arabs, Turkmens and Kurds. There are 3 Armenian and Antiochian Greek Christian communities in the district, with around 2,000 people. 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 with 34.20% of the votes (the CHP candidate got 31.77%, the AKP one 14.07%) he was then the sole victorious ÖDP candidate in the entire republic. In September 2013, he joined the CHP under which banner he successfully contested the next 2014 local elections.
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.
- Turkish: "Samandağ Kaymakamı Cahit Çelik Görevine Başladı", Samandağ Ayna, 16 January 2014
- Turkish: "Kılıçdaroğlu Mithat Nehir'e rozeti taktı", Akşam, 22 September 2013
- "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
- Turkish: "Hatay Samandağ İlçesi - Adayların Oy Dağılımı" (Electoral results of the 2009 local election), Hürriyet, 2009
- All About of Samandag
- Governorship of Samandag
- photo album of Samandağ
- info on Seleucia Pieria (English)
- Seleucia Pieria
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