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Alexandretta

 

Alexandretta

İskenderun
City

The Iskenderun shoreline
İskenderun
İskenderun
Location of İskenderun within Turkey.

Coordinates: 36°34′54″N 36°09′54″E / 36.5817°N 36.1650°E / 36.5817; 36.1650Coordinates: 36°34′54″N 36°09′54″E / 36.5817°N 36.1650°E / 36.5817; 36.1650

Country  Turkey
Region Mediterranean
Province Hatay
AreaTemplate:Turkey district areas
 • District Template:Turkey district areas km2 (Formatting error: invalid input when rounding sq mi)
Elevation 4 m (13 ft)
Population (Template:Turkey district populations)Template:Turkey district populations
 • Urban Template:Turkey district populations
 • District Template:Turkey district populations
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 31
Area code(s) (0)326
Licence plate 31
Website http://www.iskenderun.bel.tr

İskenderun, sometimes called Scanderoon or Scandaroon, is a city and district in the province of Hatay on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. It was originally named Alexandretta (Greek: Ἀλεξανδρέττα) but its name was changed after its conquest by the Arabs.

The current mayor is Yusuf Hamit Civelek (CHP).

Names

At its founding, the city was named Alexandretta (Ἀλεξανδρέττα) in honour of Alexander the Great, a name which it retained during the Roman period. The city become known as al-ʼIskandarūn (Arabic الإسكندرون), the Arabic translation of the name, during the Islamic Caliphate, and then to simply İskenderun after the Ottoman conquest. In English, the city was often known as Scanderoon or Scandaroon, a corruption of its Turkish name.

Geography

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.

Climate

The climate on this stretch of the Mediterranean is (Köppen: Csa) hot and humid in summer, when people escape to the countryside or to the beach. 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. Winters are mild and wet.

Climate data for İskenderun
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 25.0
(77)
26.4
(79.5)
31.7
(89.1)
36.0
(96.8)
40.0
(104)
37.6
(99.7)
37.2
(99)
38.8
(101.8)
40.0
(104)
37.4
(99.3)
31.2
(88.2)
26.5
(79.7)
40
(104)
Average high °C (°F) 15.4
(59.7)
16.1
(61)
18.7
(65.7)
22.3
(72.1)
25.5
(77.9)
28.5
(83.3)
30.7
(87.3)
31.5
(88.7)
30.3
(86.5)
27.1
(80.8)
21.7
(71.1)
17.1
(62.8)
23.74
(74.74)
Average low °C (°F) 8.6
(47.5)
9.0
(48.2)
11.3
(52.3)
14.7
(58.5)
18.4
(65.1)
22.0
(71.6)
25.0
(77)
25.7
(78.3)
23.3
(73.9)
18.9
(66)
13.8
(56.8)
10.2
(50.4)
16.74
(62.13)
Record low °C (°F) −0.8
(30.6)
−0.3
(31.5)
0.4
(32.7)
5.1
(41.2)
11.2
(52.2)
14.8
(58.6)
18.6
(65.5)
18.6
(65.5)
15.4
(59.7)
2.5
(36.5)
2.4
(36.3)
0.8
(33.4)
−0.8
(30.6)
Precipitation mm (inches) 81.7
(3.217)
85.6
(3.37)
85.9
(3.382)
63.8
(2.512)
47.0
(1.85)
35.4
(1.394)
12.1
(0.476)
18.9
(0.744)
39.4
(1.551)
79.8
(3.142)
88.8
(3.496)
89.4
(3.52)
727.8
(28.654)
Avg. 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
 % humidity 61 63 66 69 72 74 74 72 67 65 63 63 67.4
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 [1]
Source #2: Weatherbase [2]

Cuisine

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.

History

Antiquity

İskenderun preserves the name, but probably not the exact site, of Alexandria ad Issum (İskender being the Arabic rendering of Alexander). 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. The importance of the place ever since has derived from its relation to this pass, the easiest approach to the open ground of Hatay Province and of Northern Syria, and the Romans who continued to fight with Persia for control of this area during their era of dominance.

Alexander camped in the high-lands 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.

Ottoman Era

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

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.[3]

Republic of Hatay


Main article: Hatay State

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.[4] This led to the foundation of the Republic of Hatay. In 1939, it joined with the Republic of Turkey, after a referendum.[5][6][7] (See Hatay Province for a detailed history of this era).

Main sights

  • Yakacık (Payas) - contains a splendid example of Ottoman architecture dating back to the 16th century; the Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Complex comprising a mosque, Turkish bath (hamam), Dervish lodge, bazaar, caravanserai, and madrasa.
  • Arsuz (Uluçınar), holiday town on the coast to the south of İskenderun, with beautiful sandy beaches, a very warm sea, and places of historical interest. The coast is lined with holiday homes and there is accommodation in hotels or guest houses.
  • The Cathedral of the Annunciation is the seat of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Vicariate of Anatolia.
  • Soğukoluk, mountain resort on the way to Antakya a quiet retreat from the heat of the coast in the summer months.
  • Bakras - The castle was built in antiquity and much restored since, a watchtower on the mountain road, 27 km (17 mi) from İskenderun on the road to Antakya.

Media

İskenderun is served by the Güney Gazetesi newspaper.

See also

References

  • Template:1911
  • İskenderun Guide

External links

  • İskenderun
  • İskenderun pictures
  • İskenderun News
  • Information on İskenderun (Turkish)
  • Catholic Church of İskenderun

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