The Berdan River, also called the Tarsus River (Latin:Cydnus), is a river in Mersin Province, south Turkey. The historical city of Tarsus is by the river.


The main headwaters are in the Toros Mountains. There are two main tributaries: Kadıncık and Pamukluk (its upper reaches are called Cehennem Deresi). Total length of the river is 124 kilometres (77 mi) (including Kadıncık). Although the river is quite short, the average flow rate[1] is 42 m3/s, which is higher than most short rivers in the vicinity. The drainage basin is 1592 km2. It flows to the Mediterranean Sea at 36°28′N 34°30′E / 36.47°N 34.50°E / 36.47; 34.50. Just north of Tarsus there is a waterfall on the river, which is a popular picnic area for Tarsus residents.


There are four dams on Berdan. These are used both for controlling floods and for producing electricity.[2] But the lower reaches of the river flow in an agricultural area, and because of the pollution caused by fertilisers the dams in the lower reaches are not used for drinking water.

Name of the dam Construction date Installed power, MW [3]
Kadıncık I 1971 70
Kadıncık II 1974 56
Berdan 1996 10
Pamuk 2003 23.9


The Berdan River flows in one of the warmest regions of Turkey, but its upper reaches in the Toros Mountains make the water much cooler than the surrounding streams. History has two very well known accounts of heath problems caused by swimming in the river. In 333 BC Alexander the Great and in 833 AD Caliph Al-Ma'mun both swam in the river and both fell ill (pneumonia?); Al Mamun died of the illness.


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