İskenderun (Arabic: الإسكندرونة‎, Greek: Αλεξανδρέττα "Little Alexandria"), historically known as Alexandretta and Scanderoon[3][4][5], is a city and the largest district in Hatay Province on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.

Promenade of İskenderun
Promenade of İskenderun
İskenderun is located in Turkey
Location of İskenderun within Turkey
Coordinates: 36°34′54″N 36°09′54″E / 36.5817°N 36.1650°ECoordinates: 36°34′54″N 36°09′54″E / 36.5817°N 36.1650°E
 • MayorSeyfi Dingil (AKP)
 • District636.75 km2 (245.85 sq mi)
4 m (13 ft)
 • Urban
 • District
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
Area code(s)(0)326
Licence plate31


The city was founded as Alexandria (Αλεξάνδρεια) and named after Alexander the Great.

Starting in the Middle Ages, Western pilgrims used the diminutive Romance form Alexandretta.[6]

After the Muslim conquest of Syria, it was named al-ʼIskandarūn (Arabic الإسكندرون), the Arabic rendering of the original "Alexandrou"; this name was further turkified into Ottoman Turkish as İskenderūn (إسكندرون), which in turn was preserved in its current modern Turkish form as İskenderun.


İskenderun is located on the eastern Mediterranean coast on the Gulf of İskenderun, at the foot of the Nur Mountains (Amanos Mountains).

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 hot and humid in summer. Winters are mild and wet (Köppen: Csa). 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.

Iskenderun mean sea temperature[9]
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
17.6 °C (63.7 °F) 16.4 °C (61.5 °F) 16.6 °C (61.9 °F) 17.6 °C (63.7 °F) 20.9 °C (69.6 °F) 24.8 °C (76.6 °F) 27.5 °C (81.5 °F) 28.5 °C (83.3 °F) 27.8 °C (82.0 °F) 25.4 °C (77.7 °F) 21.5 °C (70.7 °F) 18.9 °C (66.0 °F)


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.


Ruins of Bagras Castle on the Nur (Amanos) Mountains near İskenderun


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 highlands 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 the Syrian Gates, the easiest approach to the open ground of Hatay Province and Aleppo.

Ecclesiastical history

Antioch Alexandria and Seleucia
The Peutinger Map showing İskenderun and Seleucia in the 4th century.

The bishopric of Alexandria Minor was a suffragan of Anazarbus, the capital and so also the ecclesiastical metropolis of the Roman province of Cilicia Secunda. Greek menologia speak of Saint Helenus, and the martyr saints Aristio and Theodore as early bishops of the See. But the first documented one is Hesychius, who took part in the First Council of Nicaea in 325 and in a synod at Antioch in 341. Philomusus participated in the First Council of Constantinople in 381. Baranes is mentioned in connection with a synod at Antioch in 445. At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, Julianus was represented by his metropolitan, Cyrus of Anazarbus. Basilius was at the synod in Constantinople in 459 that condemned simoniacs. In 518, Paulus was deposed by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian for supporting the Jacobite Severus of Antioch.[10][11]

The district center and Gulf of İskenderun

No longer a residential diocese, Alexandria Minor is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[12] In that list it was long named Cambysopolis,[13] but the Annuario Pontificio now gives the correct ancient name.

Ottoman era

İskenderun şehitlik
The Martyrs Monument in İskenderun

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 Celali revolts. The Ottomans continued to fortify the city and the remains of the 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 Belen Pass and attack Anatolia through here were the Egyptians of Muhammad Ali in 1832.

View of the Mediterranean Sea from the promenade of İskenderun

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.[14]

Ultimately the British decided not to attack the Ottoman Empire via Alexandretta because on 8 February 1915 the French foreign minister, Théophile Delcassé, protested to Britain's Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, citing an undertaking Britain made in 1912 that it had no designs on Syria.[15] This was unfortunate because the German field marshall, von Hindenberg, subsequently admitted that "Perhaps not the whole course of the war, but certainly the fate of our Ottoman Ally, could have been settled out of hand, if England had secured a decision in that region, or even seriously attempted it. Possession of the country south of the Tauras [mountains] would have been lost to Turkey at a blow if the English had succeeded in landing at Alexandretta".[16]

Republic of Hatay

Turkish forces under Colonel Şükrü Kanatlı entered İskenderun on 5 July 1938

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.[17] This led to the foundation of the Republic of Hatay. In 1939, it joined with the Republic of Turkey after a referendum. The referendum was, and still is, regarded as illegitimate by Syria.[18][19][20]

Main sights

Panoramic view of the Gulf of İskenderun from İskenderun's district center
Panoramic view of the Gulf of İskenderun from İskenderun's district center


The city has two football clubs. One of them is Körfez İskenderunspor. The other, more successful team İskenderunspor folded in 2006, however a phoenix club İskenderunspor 1967 has been founded in 2009.

The city's basketball team is called İskenderun Belediyesi Spor Kulübü.


İskenderun is served by the Güney Gazetesi newspaper.


İskenderun is notable for its appearance in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as an important starting point for the Grail map.

Notable natives

See also


  1. ^ "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  2. ^ "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.
  3. ^ Cpt. Charlewood (1871). "Euphrates Valley Railway". Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature and Art. 4 (2): 428.
  4. ^ Parsons, Abraham (1808). "Travels in Africa and Asia". The Critical Review, or, Annals of Literature. 3:14: 135.
  5. ^ Justice, Alexander (1707). A General Treatise of the Monies and Exchanges of all trading Nations. S. and J. Sprint, and J. Nicholson. p. 232.
  6. ^ Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd edition, s.v. Iskandarūn
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Iskenderun, Turkey Travel Weather Averages (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase.
  9. ^ Ltd, Copyright Global Sea Temperatures - A-Connect. "İskenderun Sea Temperature May Average, Turkey - Sea Temperatures". World Sea Temperatures.
  10. ^ Michel Lequien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, Paris 1740, Vol. II, coll. 903-906
  11. ^ Siméon Vailhé, v. Alexandria minor ou Alexandrette, in Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Géographie ecclésiastiques, vol. XII, Paris 1953, coll. 287-289
  12. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 829
  13. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908, s.v. Cambysopolis
  14. ^ David Fromkin (1989). A Peace to End all Peace. p. 149.
  15. ^ James Barr (author) (2011). A line in the sand. p. 15.
  16. ^ A.J. Barker (1967). The neglected war: Mesopotamia 1914-1918,. p. 472.
  17. ^ Sarah Shields, Fezzes in the River Oxford University Press, 2011
  18. ^ 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
  19. ^ 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
  20. ^ 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


External links


Arsuz (Arabic: أرسوز‎, Greek: Αρσούς), also known as Uluçınar is a city in Hatay Province, southern Anatolia (Asian Turkey), and under its Ancient name Rhosus (Ancient Greek: Ῥῶσός) a former bishopric and titular see.


Bagras or Baghrās, ancient Pagrae (Πάγραι) (Armenian: Պաղրաս, translit. Paġras), is a town and its nearby castle in the İskenderun district of Turkey, in the Amanus Mountains.

Strabo's Geographica mentions it as being on the borders of Gindarus, "a natural stronghold" leading to the Amanian Gate or Amanides Pylae over the Amanus Mountains.

Gulf of Alexandretta

The Gulf of Alexandretta or İskenderun (Turkish: İskenderun Körfezi) is a gulf of the eastern Mediterranean or Levantine Sea. It lies beside the southern Turkish provinces of Adana and Hatay.

Hatay Province

Hatay Province (Turkish: Hatay ili, pronounced [ˈhataj]) is a province in southern Turkey, on the eastern Mediterranean coast. The administrative capital is Antakya (Antioch), and the other major city in the province is the port city of İskenderun (Alexandretta). It is bordered by Syria to the south and east and the Turkish provinces of Adana and Osmaniye to the north. The province is part of Çukurova (Cilicia), a geographical, economical and cultural region that covers the provinces of Mersin, Adana, Osmaniye, and Hatay. There are border crossing points with Syria in the district of Yayladağı and at Cilvegözü in the district of Reyhanlı.

Sovereignty over the province remains disputed with neighbouring Syria, which claims that the province was separated from itself against the stipulations of the French Mandate of Syria in the years following Syria's independence from the Ottoman Empire after World War I. Although the two countries have remained generally peaceful in their dispute over the territory, Syria has never formally renounced its claims to it.

Huzurkent railway station

Huzurkent railway station (Turkish: Huzurkent istasyonu) is a railway station in Huzurkent, Turkey, on the Adana-Mersin railway. The station consists of a side platform on the eastbound track. TCDD Taşımacılık operates daily regional train service from Mersin to Adana, İskenderun and İslahiye, with a total of 14 daily trains stopping at Huzurkent, in each direction.Huzurkent station has two side platforms serving two tracks.

Issus, Cilicia

Issus (Phoenician: Sissu, Ancient Greek: Ἱσσός or Ἱσσοί) is an ancient settlement on the strategic coastal plain straddling the small Pinarus river (a fast melt-water stream several metres wide) below the navigationally difficult inland mountains towering above to the east in the Turkish Province of Hatay, near the border with Syria. It can be identified with Kinet Höyük in the village of Yeṣilköy near Dörtyol in the Hatay province of Turkey. Excavations on the mound occurred between 1992 and 2012 by Bilkent University. It is most notable for being the place of no less than three decisive ancient or medieval battles each called in their own era the Battle of Issus:

The Battle of Issus (333 BC); Alexander the Great of Macedonia defeated Darius III of Persia. This battle is occasionally called the First Battle of Issus, but is more generally known simply as the Battle of Issus, owing to the importance of Alexander's victory over the First Persian Empire and its impact on subsequent history of the region, including all the successor polities.

Battle of Issus (194), or Second Battle of Issus — between the forces of Emperor Septimius Severus and his rival, Pescennius Niger.

Battle of Issus (622), or Third Battle of Issus — between the Byzantine Empire and the Sassanid Persian Empire.Whether Issus is still present within a modern settlement is hotly debated among researchers. Regardless of which mountain brook was the locus of the battles, the old town was situated close to present-day İskenderun, Turkey, in the Gulf of İskenderun. Today, no town exists on both sides of the Pinarus river, which may or may not have been called Issus.

Although Issus was once considered to have been an episcopal see, there is no evidence to support that idea: Issus is not mentioned in the "Notitiae Episcopatuum" of the Patriarchate of Antioch, to which the Roman province of Cilicia belonged.

Karacailyas railway station

Karacailyas railway station (Turkish: Karacailyas istasyonu) is a railway station in Mersin, Turkey, on the Adana-Mersin railway. Located within the Akdeniz district in Mersin, the station is the easternmost station within the city. TCDD Taşımacılık operates daily regional train service from Mersin to Adana, İskenderun and İslahiye, with a total of 12 daily trains stopping at Karacailyas, in each direction.Karacailyas station has two side platforms serving two tracks.

Kerem Gönlüm

Kerem Gönlüm (born November 22, 1977) is a former Turkish professional basketball player. In 2019 January, he started punditry on a local radio station.

Körfez İskenderunspor

Korfez İskenderunspor is a sports club located in Iskenderun, Hatay Province, Turkey. The football club plays in the Hatay Amateur Leagues.

List of populated places in Hatay Province

Below is the list of populated places in Hatay Province, Turkey by the districts. Unlike most other provinces of Turkey, in Hatay the capital of the province and the province don't bear the same name. The capital of the province is Antakya. In the following lists first place in each list is the administrative center of the district.


Myriandrus (Greek: Μυρίανδρος, Myríandros) was an ancient Phoenician port on the Mediterranean Sea's Gulf of Alexandretta. Its ruins are located near the modern city of İskenderun in southern Turkey.

Herodotus records the entire Gulf of Alexandretta as Marandynian Bay, after Myriandrus. (Later classical geographers would subsequently name the bay after nearby Issus.)

Xenophon claimed that Myriandrus was the border town between Cilicia and Syria. (Herodotus, meanwhile, placed the line further south at Ras al-Bassit in what is now Syria.In 333 BC, Alexander the Great intended to lay an ambush of Darius III of Persia at Myriandrus, but in the end the battle took place near Issus.

Taşkent railway station

Taşkent railway station (Turkish: Taşkent istasyonu) is a railway station in the Mersin Province of Turkey, on the Adana-Mersin railway. Though legally located within the Dikilitaş neighborhood of Mersin, the station is just east of the city. TCDD Taşımacılık operates daily regional train service from Mersin to Adana, İskenderun and İslahiye, with a total of 24 daily trains stopping at Taşkent, in each direction.Taşkent station has two side platforms serving two tracks.

Tırmıl railway station

Tırmıl railway station (Turkish: Tırmıl istasyonu) is a railway station in Mersin, Turkey, on the Adana-Mersin railway. Located within the Akdeniz ilçe (district) in east Mersin, the station is located at the west end of Tırmıl yard. TCDD Taşımacılık operates daily regional train service from Mersin to Adana, İskenderun and İslahiye, with a total of 12 daily trains stopping at Tırmıl, in each direction.

USS Boyd

USS Boyd (DD-544) was a Fletcher-class destroyer of the United States Navy, named for Joseph Boyd, who took part in Stephen Decatur's expedition into Tripoli harbor during the First Barbary War.

Boyd was launched 29 October 1942 by Bethlehem Steel Co., San Pedro, California, sponsored by Mrs. C. W. Styer, wife of Captain Styer, and commissioned 8 May 1943, Lieutenant Commander Ulysses S. G. Sharp, Jr. in command.

İskenderun Belediye Gençlik ve Spor

İskenderun Belediye Gençlik ve Spor is a football club located in İskenderun in Hatay, southern Turkey. The team competes in Hatay Amateur Leagues.

İskenderun Naval Museum

İskenderun Naval Museum is a museum in İskenderun, Turkey.

The museum is situated on Atatürk Boulevard, İskenderun ilçe (district) of Hatay Province, at 36°35′39″N 36°09′49″E.

The building was purchased by the Turkish Naval Forces in 1942. Till 2008 it was used as an office. On 26 June 2009, it was opened as a naval museum.

There are six exhibition halls. The first hall is the memorial hall of

Tayfur Sökmen (1892-1980), who was the president of the short-lived Hatay Republic, which was soon merged into Turkey in 1939. The second hall is the memorial hall of Şükrü Kanatlı (1893-1954)

who was the first Turkish commander in Hatay. The third hall is named after Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa. Barbaros (1478-1546)

was the famous Ottoman admiral of the 16th century. The fourth hall is Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Paşa Hall. Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Pasha (1713 (?)-1790)

was an able admiral of

the 18th century. The fifth hall is Savarona Hall. MV Savarona was formerly the Turkish presidential yacht

in which Atatürk, the founder of Turkey

spent his last days in 1938. The sixth hall is named after Rauf Orbay (1880-1964) who was the commander of the Ottoman cruiser Hamidiye and one of the last naval Ministers of the Ottoman Empire. He was also an active figure during the establishment of the Turkish Republic.

İskenderun railway station

İskenderun station (Turkish: İskenderun istasyonu) is the main railway station in the city of İskenderun, Turkey. The station is located at 36°35′18″N 36°10′54″E. The bus station is to the south west and the harbor is to the north of the station. İskenderun is a port city in the Hatay Province and the station is the southern terminus of the Toprakkale-İskenderun branch line which connects the province to the main line between Adana and Gaziantep. The line was opened to service in 1913 during the Ottoman Empire era.

İsmail Köybaşı

İsmail Köybaşı (born 10 July 1989) is a Turkish professional footballer who plays as a left-back for Süper Lig club Fenerbahçe.

Şakirpaşa railway station

Şakirpaşa railway station (Turkish: Şakirpaşa istasyonu) is a railway station in Seyhan, Adana, on the Adana-Mersin railway. The station consists of two side platforms serving two tracks. There is no station building, only a small shelter on each platform. TCDD Taşımacılık operates frequent regional rail service from Mersin to Adana, along with further service to İskenderun and İslahiye. Together with regional trains, two intercity trains stop at Şakirpaşa as well; the Erciyes Express to Kayseri and the Taurus Express to Konya.

Climate data for İskenderun
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 25.0
Average high °C (°F) 15.4
Average low °C (°F) 8.6
Record low °C (°F) −0.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 81.7
Average 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
Average relative humidity (%) 61 63 66 69 72 74 74 72 67 65 63 63 67
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[7]
Source #2: Weatherbase[8]
İskenderun in Hatay Province of Turkey
Hellenistic/Macedonian colonies

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