İskenderun, Turkey

Reading Time: 4 minutes

İskenderun, Turkey

Region: Hatay

Geographic Coordinates: 36.581700, 36.165000
Temperature Range: 10.0°C to 35.0°C (50°F to 95°F)
Climate: Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters.
Population: 297943
Language: Turkish

İskenderun is a charming coastal city situated in the southern part of Turkey, On the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Close to the Syrian border. It has a rich cultural heritage dating back to ancient times, And during the Ottoman Empire era it was known as Alexandretta and served as an important port for trade between Europe and Asia. The Hatay Archaeology Museum is one of İskenderun’s most famous landmarks, Exhibiting an impressive collection of artifacts from various periods including Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman eras. Visitors can admire valuable items such as mosaics, Sculptures, Coins, Glassware and pottery.

İskenderun also offers several beautiful parks where visitors can relax among greenery with stunning views of coastline. Kordonboyu Park runs along the seafront while Atatürk Park boasts many trees and flowers. Food lovers will enjoy İskenderun’s vibrant food culture with many delicious local dishes such as künefe (a sweet dessert made from cheese), Lahmacun (Turkish pizza), Kibbeh (meatballs stuffed with bulgur wheat) and baklava (sweet pastry). The city also has many restaurants serving traditional Turkish cuisine along with international options.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities in İskenderun such as hiking trails in nearby mountains or water sports like jet skiing or parasailing on one of its pristine beaches. History buffs can explore several historical sites around town by foot or bike including Çevlik Castle ruins dating back to 2000 BC. İskenderun is an amazing destination for anyone looking for a mix of history, Culture and natural beauty all wrapped up into one incredible location!

Important Landmarks

  1. Iskenderun Castle
  2. Hatay Archaeological Museum
  3. Saint Pierre Church
  4. Titus Tunnel
  5. Harbiye Waterfalls
  6. Arsuz Beach
  7. Payas Castle
  8. Kaptan-i Derya Monument
  9. Iskenderun Sea Port and Marina
  10. Topcam Beach

Primary Industries

  1. The major industries and businesses in Iskenderun, Turkey include:
    • Steel production
    • Petrochemicals
    • Energy production
    • Logistics and transportation
    • Agriculture
    • Fishing
  2. The city is home to several large companies:
    • Erdemir Group (steel production)
    • Petkim (petrochemicals)
    • Colakoglu Metalurji (steel production)
    • Iskenderun Enerji Uretim ve Ticaret A.S. (energy production)
    • Mersin International Port (logistics)
  3. Additionally, the region is known for its:
    • Olive oil production
    • Citrus fruit production

Noteable History

  1. The city of Iskenderun, originally known as Alexandretta, was established by Alexander the Great in 333 BC.
  2. During World War I, French forces occupied the city and it became part of the French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon.
  3. In 1938, a referendum held among its population resulted in the city being ceded to Turkey.
  4. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk visited İskenderun in 1937 and delivered a speech at the local stadium.
  5. Adnan Menderes served as Prime Minister of Turkey from 1950 until his overthrow in a military coup in 1960; he is also associated with İskenderun.
  6. In recent years, conflict in neighboring Syria has affected İskenderun; it has become an important transit point for refugees fleeing the war-torn country.
  7. The city boasts several historical landmarks such as ancient ruins dating back to Hellenistic times and a medieval castle built by Crusaders during their occupation of the region.

Museums and Things To See

  1. İskenderun Museum of Archeology and Ethnography
  2. Hatay Archaeological Museum
  3. Saint Pierre Church
  4. Kırıkhan Castle
  5. Payas Castle (Kalaat el-Mudik)
  6. Harbiye Waterfalls and Daphne Ancient City
  7. Titus Tunnel (Vespasianus Tunnel)
  8. Antakya Mosaic Museum
  9. The Great Mosque of Antakya (Ulu Camii)
  10. Seleucia Pieria Ancient City

Cultural Events

  1. İskenderun International Film Festival
  2. Hatay Kültür ve Sanat Festivali (Hatay Culture and Art Festival)
  3. İskenderun Sea Fest
  4. Antakya International Music Festival
  5. Altın Portakal Film Festivali (Golden Orange Film Festival)
  6. Hatay Gastronomy Days
  7. Hıdırellez Şenlikleri (Hidrellez Festivities)
  8. İskenderun Jazz Days
  9. Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Tournament
  10. Hatay Olive Harvest and Oil Production Festivities


  • İskender kebab: This dish consists of thinly sliced grilled lamb or beef served over pita bread with tomato sauce, yogurt, and butter. Some popular restaurants that serve İskender kebab are Karadeniz Sofrası and Çınaraltı Kebap Salonu.
  • Lahmacun: A thin crust topped with minced meat, vegetables, and spices. It is often served as a snack or appetizer. Some popular places to try lahmacun are Şahin Usta Lahmacun Salonu and Efsane Lahmacun.
  • Manti: A type of Turkish dumpling filled with ground meat or cheese and served with yogurt sauce. Some popular restaurants that serve manti are Akdeniz Mantı Evi and Kebapçı Halil Usta.
  • Seafood: As Iskenderun is a coastal city, seafood is very popular here. Some recommended seafood restaurants include Balıkçı Lokantası Gazi Baba and Limon Cafe & Restaurant.
  • Baklava: A sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and honey syrup. The most famous baklava shop in Iskenderun is Güllüoğlu Baklavacısı which has been operating since 1871.
  • Ayran: Ayran is a traditional Turkish drink made from yoghurt mixed with water and salt. It goes well together any meal but especially great for spicy dishes like kebabs. You can find ayran in almost every restaurant in Iskenderum.
  • Künefe: Künefe is a dessert made from shredded phyllo dough stuffed with cheese, baked till crispy then soaked into sugar syrup flavored by rose water. One of the best places to try künefe in Iskenderun is Hacı Dayı Künefe.

  • Parks and Recreation

    1. Atatürk Park: This is a sizable public park located in İskenderun’s center, boasting walking paths, playgrounds, and picnic areas.
    2. Sahil Park: Situated along İskenderun’s coast, this park includes a promenade for walking or cycling and cafes and restaurants.
    3. Güzelyalı Beach: Popular for swimming and sunbathing during the summer months.
    4. Kaptan-ı Derya Observation Deck: Offers panoramic views of İskenderun Bay and surrounding mountains.
    5. Archaeology Museum: Showcases artifacts from ancient civilizations that once inhabited the region around İskenderun.
    6. Sütçü İmam Mosque: Dates back to 1789 and features Ottoman architecture.
    7. Taşköprü Streets: In the historic district of İskenderun, these streets are lined with traditional houses and shops selling local goods such as spices, textiles, and handicrafts.
    8. Cennet-Cehennem Caves: Located on a hill overlooking İskenderun Bay, offering stunning views of the sea below.


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