Located in southernmost Turkey and marked as the thirteenth most populous city in the country, Hatay has its territory on the Mediterranean coastline. It is known that, especially Roman civilizations prevailed in this city remain a lot of architectural work there.
Also, during the First World War, this place remained under French occupation for a long time. This situation caused French works to be influential in the city. The only Armenian village in Turkey is also in Hatay: called Vakifli Village. This city, which is at the top of the list of places to visit in Turkey, is a cosmopolitan area where different religions and traditions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism are lived together.
Known as the center of the city, Antakya historically has the name of “Antiocheia.” Another feature that distinguishes the city from others is a river flows in the opposite direction of the normal flowline: Asi (Rebellious) River. Check out the rest of our content to get to know the city better and go on a small virtual tour!
Cradle Cave: Explore The Antique Cemeteries
This cave, which is thought to be built in the 1st century BC, will impress you very much. You will see many cemeteries carved out of the rock inside the cave. If you wish, you have the chance to go inside and examine the cemeteries closely. Cradle Cave is located in Hatay’s Samandag district. The main purpose of constructing this place was to protect local people from natural events such as floods. When you look at the walls, you will see that there are many artworks here.
Titus Tunnel: Antique Way of Water
Are you ready to meet a real natural wonder? Those looking for a Turkey cultural tour will love this mysterious area, also called Vespasianus. The tunnel is described as the ancient water tunnel. According to the researches, it is thought that the tunnel was built during the CE period between the 1st century and the 2nd century. The tunnel located between the Nur Mountains is 35 kilometers from the city center. You can also see Seleucia Pieria, which was used as a very busy port city in ancient times around the tunnel.
- The length of the Titus tunnel is 1380 meters.
- The tunnel has a height of approximately 7 meters.
- While walking through the tunnel, you will notice that this place is quite wide. This place has a width of 6 meters.
Saint Simeon Monastery: Mysterious Sorrow of St. Simeon
This monastery is located 29 kilometers southwest of Antakya and is protected as a ruin. It is thought that the monastery was opened in the 6th century. It is currently exhibited as a monastery museum. There are many crosses made of cut stones in this area belonging to the Christian faith. According to the rumors, the monk named St. Simon lived here alone on a stone for ten years. St. Simeon is also the founder of a sect called Stylites. The monastery is located on a hill with an altitude of about 480 meters.
Saint Pierre Church: The First Church of Christianity
Which is the first church of Christianity in the world? If you encounter this question somewhere, you will now be able to answer immediately! Those who ask the question of “Where to go in Turkey?” decide to go to Hatay first when they hear the Church of St Peter. This church has a depth of 13 meters. The structural length of the church is exactly 7 meters. This area, which has an extremely high ceiling, also has a width of 9.5 meters. Furthermore, the structure still looks extremely solid. This cave was converted into a church after Christianity was accepted as the official religion by the Roman state. In short, the building was used as a cave before. I have a gothic architectural understanding of the cave, and there are very detailed and special architectural details.
Hatay Archeology Museum: Meet the Endless Mosaics
So, what is in Hatay Archeology Museum? Hatay Archeology Museum is a place that houses very special historical artifacts, especially related to the Byzantine period. This museum is particularly popular for its mosaic collection. We are sure that you will be very impressed when you see the sarcophagi, special jewelry and money collections, and mosaic works stretching across meters.
Iskenderun Catholic Cathedral: An Active Catholic Church Middle of the Anatolia
Iskenderun Catholic Cathedral is one of the most special places where Easter is celebrated with a very special ceremony. This place is also known as the main center of the Anatolian Catholic Church. It should be noted that this place is not only a historical monument but also an active church.
Antakya Long Bazaar: Explore Traditional Gifts!
Antakya Long Bazaar can be the perfect destination to get to know the city’s cosmopolitan and historical culture. Some of the our Best Turkey Tour Packages include Hatay. Every touristic tour that comes to Hatay prefer to visit this wonderful bazaar.
Here, you can find very special spice varieties, special cottage cheese, and cheese paddy produced only in Hatay. It is also possible to find textile materials in shops belonging to different cultures. People who come here from abroad to experience a cultural journey often visit the secondhand booksellers or souvenir shops here.
What To Eat in Hatay, Turkey? UNESCO 2017 Gastronomy City!
Hatay is a very popular city known for its rich cuisine. Hatay’s iconic flavor, a registered Gastronomy City via UNESCO, is called Kunefe, a dessert made of kadayif. Kunefe is a dessert served with a piece of soft and unsalted cheese and hot must. The city is especially known for its spicy, hot, and exotic dishes. You will taste many different flavors, such as hummus and babagannuş, for the first time here.
Jewish Synagogue at the City Center (Antakya)
Hatay is an area where Jews can live freely live in a way that they can keep their own traditions. The Jewish Synagogue in Hatay is one of the most important examples of this. This synagogue has impressive architecture and is located right in the center of Antakya. You can get here by bus, on foot or in your private car. It is worth noting that the synagogue is still active.
The Kharan Relief, which is a very successful animation, is an area built right next to Petros Cave. Located next to a river with boiling muddy waters, this place has an incredibly pathetic feel. What this relief represents is an extraordinary human figure whose head is covered with a veil. The main purpose of this relief is to symbolize the Plague disease that caused many people’s death at that time. This disease was influential in the city during the Antiochos period.
Why Visit Hatay, Turkey?
Hatay is the most charming cities in Turkey, Hatay is an exciting area in terms of gastronomic, historical, and natural beauties. Especially those who want to explore Turkey or those who want to see historical sites in Turkey should definitely stop by here.
Writen By : Aybala Imer