Geographic Coordinates: 36.085000, 35.980600
Temperature Range: 10.0°C to 30.0°C (50°F to 86°F)
Samandağ is a stunning coastal town situated in the southernmost part of Turkey, Close to the Syrian border. This place is famous for its breathtaking beaches, Clear waters, And fascinating history. Samandağ boasts several ancient ruins and historical sites that date back to the Roman Empire. One of the most popular tourist spots in Samandağ is Seleucia Pieria, An ancient city founded by Seleucus I Nicator, One of Alexander The Great’s generals in 300 BC. During Roman times, This city served as an important port and played a significant role in trade between Rome and Asia Minor.
Today visitors can explore this ancient city’s ruins including its marketplace (agora), Public building (basilica), Theater, And necropolis. Another must-see attraction in Samandağ is Vespasianus Titus Tunnel which was constructed during Roman times to provide water to Seleucia Pieria from nearby springs. Visitors can walk through this 1 km long tunnel that still carries water today. In addition to these historical sites, Samandağ also features several beautiful beaches such as Uzun Liman Beach with golden sand dunes stretching over 4 km along the coast surrounded by pine forests.
Other popular beaches include Kıyıköy Beach with crystal clear waters and Cevlik Beach which has shallow waters perfect for families with children. Nature enthusiasts will also enjoy hiking trails leading up to Mount Musa (Moses) where it’s said that Moses saw his first glimpse of the Promised Land before he died. The mountain offers panoramic views over Samandağ Bay and surrounding areas.
Apart from its natural beauty, Samandağ also has a vibrant culture with traditional Turkish cuisine served at local restaurants such as kebabs made from locally sourced meat grilled over open flames or fresh seafood caught daily from nearby waters. Overall, Samandag offers something for everyone – history buffs can explore ancient ruins, Nature lovers can hike up mountains and enjoy stunning views, And foodies can indulge in delicious Turkish cuisine. It’s a perfect destination for those looking to explore off the beaten path while enjoying the beauty of Turkey’s southern coast.
- Saint Simon Monastery: A historic monastery located on the top of a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
- Seleucia Pieria: An ancient port city that dates back to the Hellenistic period.
- Titus Tunnel: A Roman-era tunnel that was built to divert water from a nearby river to an aqueduct system.
- Harbiye Waterfalls: A series of cascading waterfalls surrounded by lush greenery and picnic areas.
- Cevlik Beach: A picturesque beach with crystal clear waters and golden sand, perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
- Hatay Archaeological Museum: A museum showcasing artifacts from various civilizations that have inhabited the region over thousands of years.
- Vespasianus Titus Tunnel Museum: An interactive museum dedicated to the history and engineering behind the Titus Tunnel.
- Karatepe-Aslantaş National Park: A protected area featuring ancient ruins, hiking trails, and scenic views of the surrounding landscape.
- Kırıkhan Castle: An imposing medieval fortress perched atop a rocky outcrop overlooking Samandağ Bay.
- Antakya Old City Bazaar (Uzun Çarşı): A bustling market district filled with shops selling local handicrafts, spices, textiles, and more.
- The major industries and businesses in Samandağ, Turkey include:
- Small-scale manufacturing
- Citrus fruits
- Historical sites like Seleucia ad Pieria
- Natural wonders like the Cevlik Beach
- Food products
- The city was founded in the 5th century BC by the Greeks, who named it Seleucia Pieria.
- Alexander the Great passed through Samandağ on his way to conquer Egypt in 332 BC.
- The city was later ruled by various empires, including the Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans.
- St. Peter is believed to have visited Samandağ during his travels in Asia Minor.
- The famous poet Homer mentioned Samandağ in his epic poem The Iliad.
- In 2010, a shipwreck dating back to ancient Roman times was discovered off the coast of Samandağ.
- Notable people from Samandağ include Turkish footballer Emre Belözoğlu and Turkish actress Tuba Büyüküstün.
- During World War I, a battle took place near Samandağ between Ottoman forces and British troops led by General Edmund Allenby.
- In recent years, there has been controversy over plans to build a coal-fired power plant in Samandağ that could harm local wildlife and disrupt tourism in the area.
- Today, Samandağ is known for its beaches, historic landmarks such as Seleucia Pieria ruins and its natural beauty including bird-watching sites like Amanos Mountains National Park which is home to over 300 species of birds.
- Seleucia Pier and Harbor: This is a historical site where the famous Roman general Pompey landed in 64 BC.
- Samandağ Museum: This museum showcases the cultural heritage of Samandağ and its surroundings.
- St. Simon Monastery: An ancient monastery carved into a mountainside, dating back to the 5th century AD.
- Vakıflı Village: This is the last remaining Armenian village in Turkey, known for its wine production and traditional architecture.
- Çevlik Castle: A medieval castle overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, built by the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century AD.
- İskenderun Museum of Archeology and Ethnography: This museum displays artifacts from various periods of history, including Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern times.
- Payas Castle: An impressive fortress built during the Crusades by the Knights Hospitaller.
- Hatay Archaeological Museum: This is one of Turkey’s largest museums showcasing artifacts from Hatay’s rich history spanning from prehistoric times to modern day.
- Antakya Old City Walls: These are ancient walls surrounding Antakya (Hatay), dating back to Hellenistic period (3rd century BC).
- Grottoes of Antiochus I at Daphne: These are ancient grottoes with well-preserved frescoes depicting Greek mythology stories located close to Harbiye Waterfalls near Samandag.
- Samandağ International Orange Blossom Festival: This festival is held annually in May to celebrate the blooming of orange trees and the production of orange blossom honey.
- Hıdrellez Festival: This ancient festival is celebrated on May 5th every year to welcome spring and symbolize rebirth.
- Ramadan: The holy month of Ramadan is observed by Muslims in Samandağ with fasting during daylight hours, special prayers, and community gatherings.
- Kurban Bayramı (Eid al-Adha): This important Muslim holiday is celebrated with prayer services, feasting, and the sacrifice of an animal as a symbol of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for God.
- Victory Day: On August 30th each year, Turks celebrate their victory over invading forces during the War of Independence in 1922.
- Republic Day: On October 29th each year, Turks celebrate the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923 with parades and other festivities.
- Christmas: Although not widely celebrated by Muslims in Samandağ, some Christians observe Christmas on December 25th with church services and gift-giving traditions.
- Balıkçılar Çarşısı: A seafood market where you can buy fresh fish and have it cooked on the spot.
- Kaptanın Yeri: A seaside restaurant that serves traditional Turkish dishes such as kebabs, meze, and seafood.
- Güneyköy Restaurant: A family-run restaurant that offers traditional Turkish breakfasts, grilled meats, and homemade desserts.
- Şahin Usta: Famous for its pide (Turkish pizza) with various toppings such as cheese, meat, and vegetables.
- Köfteci İsmet Usta: Known for its köfte (meatballs) made with locally sourced beef and lamb.
- Çınaraltı Kahve Evi: A cozy café that serves Turkish coffee, tea, pastries, and sandwiches under a large plane tree by the river.
- Aspava Kebap Salonu: Offers a variety of kebab dishes made with marinated meats cooked over charcoal fire in a traditional way.
- Hacı Dayı Lokantası: A no-frills eatery that specializes in homestyle cooking using fresh ingredients from local farms such as stuffed grape leaves (dolma), lentil soup (mercimek çorbası), and lamb stew (kuzu güveç).
- Harbiye Waterfall National Park – a beautiful park with a stunning waterfall, hiking trails, picnic areas, and restaurants.
- Kıyıköy Natural Park – a scenic park with sandy beaches and crystal clear water perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
- Arsuz Public Beach – a popular beach with white sand and turquoise waters ideal for swimming.
- Tarsus Gözlükule Open-Air Museum – an ancient archaeological site that offers visitors the chance to explore the ruins of an ancient city.
- Eski Samandağ City Center – a historic town center filled with shops, cafes, restaurants, and traditional Turkish architecture.
- Samandağ Nature Reserve – offers visitors the opportunity to see various species of birds such as flamingos and pelicans in their natural habitat.
- Sualtı National Park – it is one of the most important underwater national parks in Turkey where you can enjoy scuba diving or snorkeling while exploring its diverse marine life including sea turtles and dolphins among others.