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Travel: Hieropolis, Karatepe, Adana Turkey. Oct 18/2022

Part 5 of a trip to Southeast Turkey which started on Oct 12th (Part 1), Oct. 14 (part 2)

Oct 15 (part 3) Oct 16-17 (Part 4)

The Course of the trip

Departing early morning on the drive from Anatakia-Antioch to the town of Adana above the sea shore , subjected the group to a 3 hours bus ride through few known historical towns and the verdant steep Taurus a monotonous route,

On the Way

Cities we passed:

Iskenderun - Alexandreta (Tarsos-Tarshis) Sea Port City

The city was founded as Alexandria to commemorate Alexander the Great’s victory over the PersianDarius III at Issus (Cilicia) in (333 BC).

located on the eastern Mediterranean coast on the Gulf of İskenderun, at the foot of the Nur Mountains

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.

Furthermore from ancient time when presumably it was by Tarsos - Tarshish. where Iron and Silver were mined in the mountains, and then shipped rom its port.

The port was an outlet for the medieval and early modern overland trade from Iran, India, and eastern Asia before the development of alternate shipping routes around the Cape of Good Hope and later through the Suez Canal.

Osmaniye - Osman's City Where we stopped at supermarket Nigel’s buying food for a picnic lunch, and waited for the delayed bus, at the super parking lot.

Located on the eastern edge of the Çukurova plain in southern Turkey. at the center of a rich agricultural region,(known for growing peanuts.) and on one of the old Silk Roads.

It was was always a place of strategic importance since it straddled the main route between Anatolia and the Middle East.

Although Osmaniye was probably inhabited in turn by the Hittites, Persians, Byzantines and Armenians, there is nothing left to show their presence in the modern city. Issos - An ancient ruined town

Which Alexander he Great conquered along other shore towns to fight the Persian Empire.

The ancient settlement which was situated on the strategic coastal plain straddling the small Pinarus river that on its banks a decisive battle that Alexander won, took place, as well as 2 other Issos related known battles

The Battle of Issus (333 BC); Alexander the Great of Macedonia defeated Darius III of Persia.

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.

The Ruins of Castabala - Hieropolis

A visit to the ruins of this ancient city, at its picturesque location, was fascinating

This ancient city in southern Turkey, situated on the Cilicia Plain, near the

Pyramus/ Ceyhan River was originally one of the cities of the Late Hitite period.

Originally rulled by Hittati then Neohittati 10 BC up to 1 BC

it was captured by Persian Achaemenid Empire and then by Alexander the Great.

During the Hellenistic period and Roman period it was called Hieropolis, just like the famous Roman spa located at Pamukkale.

The ruins of Hieropolis Castabala, identified in 1890, are extensive and well preserved.

A steep hill, 35 meters high, rises above the city. In ancient times it was most probably functioning as the Acropolis of Castabala

Fortress towering over the city is referred to as Bodrum Kalesi, reminiscent of the well-known holiday resort on the coast of the Aegean Sea

Actually the fort remains are fro Seljuk castle from 11th AD meant to defendthe invasive Cilicia Pass.

The main passage axis of the city is a colonnaded street, (the Cardo) 200 meters long and 11 meters wide, its level rising gradually from S to N. The Corinthian columns of red conglomerate, many have been preserved to our times. Moreover, some of them are still decorated with capitals of Corinthian order.

The decumanus, however, is marked now only by a series of inscribed plinths for imperial statuary and has apparently no colonnade.

On the south of this street, there are the ruins of a Byzantine church

On the eastern side, a theater, with 15 rows of seats remaining. a stone-built and largely freestanding theater faces W, and the vomitoria and seating are still generally well preserved, but the orchestra is rather deeply buried. Archeological work over the thearer has been in progress for some time.

After the Islamic conquest of Cilicia only the acropolis was occupied, and it was still used as a stronghold and look-out post during the later and relatively short-lived periods of Byzantine and Armenian suzerainty. The site is now totally deserted.

Farther up the valley are a brick and concrete bath building, and the foundations of a temenos with a rectangular marble structure (almost certainly the Temple of Artemis Perasia) within it.

In 1 BC the city became a hub for Sea Pirates who raiding the ships from Tarsos disturbing the peaceful commerce Targimotos the ruling pirate

Approaching Karatepe-Aslantaş National Park

The Park beautiful Pines forested hill area was established in 1958. It is situated on the banks of Aslantaş Dam reservoir, in an elevated slightly rugged terrain between the foothills of Taurus Mountains and the plains of Çukurova, where Ceyhan River runs through. and it contains an archaeological open-air museum.

Karatape Black mountain - Open-Air Museum an Archaeological Site

Reached by a 1,200 m (long stone-paved trail from the entrance of the national park

the archeological site (excavated 1946 and 1952) which is called locally "Hitit Yarımadası" ("Hittite Peninsula"), is an ancient walled City settlement of the

Neo-Hittites dating back to the 8th BC

By the 8th c, the Neo Hittite Empire with the capital in Hattusas, had collapsed, in the turmoil of the so-called Sea Peoples invasion. It left behind a series of smaller kingdoms, scattered in the area of southeastern Asia Minor, mainly around Gaziantep, Malatya, and Osmaniye.

Formerly, this fortified citadel served as a border post on the trade route crossing the Taurus Mountains and linking the Anatolian Highlands with the southern lands.

The route was used by Hittites, Crusaders, and recently by the Yörüks

The Citywas built with a polygonal fortress wall with an upper and lower gateway of monumental proportions

The artifacts, stone statues and reliefs inside the ruined fortification, are left at their original place.

The Storm God

The gate chambers are lined with inscribed orthostates (carved stone slabs set against the base of a wall), which show traces of Assyrian and Egypto-Phoenician motifs and influences. Lion statues on stone (Turkish: Aslantaş) give the site its name.

Griffon- Mythological Creature A king is breastfed by a Goddes

The importance of Karatepe lies in its inscriptions.

A long Phoenician text was discovered. The gateways were found to contain extensive versions of the same text in both Phoenician script and Hieroglyphic Luwian.

The Karatepe Bilingual, inscriptions on Stone Stele with the same text in Phoenician alphabet and Hieroglyphic Luwian, which enabled the decryption of the Anatolian hieroglyphs, by comparing the two inscriptions, greatly increased archaeologists' understanding of the Hieroglyphic Luwian script and language.

The inscriptions mention the peace treaties made with various rebels and describe the increasing prosperity of the land.

According to the text, the founder and ruler of the city was Asitawandas- king of the Danunians, (a vassal of Awarikus of Adana). who claimed descent from the “house of Mopsus”; Mopsus is known in Greek legend as an emigrant from Ionia and founder of nearby Cilician Mopsuestia (modern Misis) Azatiwas is described as “the servant of the Storm God”..

The city most probably was destroyed by he Assyrians in about 700 BC, when the last remaining principalities in the region were subjugated.

Approaching Adana

Like in the other previous cities visited, many newest tall building construction welcomed our arrival

Adana - Agricultural Hub

A major inland city situated on the fertile delta of the Seyhan River, and with a population of over 2m inhabitants

In the heart of Cilicia, which at a time was one of the most important regions of the classical world, and one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements, as well as a market town, Adana served as one of the gateways from Europe to the Middle East.

It probably overlies a Hittite settlement that dates from approximately 1400 BC and its history has been profoundly influenced by its location at the foot of the Taurus Mountain important passes.

Conquered by Alexander the Great in 335–334 BC, it came under the rule of the ʿAbbāsid Arabs at the end of the 7th c and changed hands intermittently in the next 600 years until the establishment of the Turkmen Ramazan dynasty in 1378. then conquered by the Ottoman sultan Selim I in 1516.

Today it is an agricultural and industrial center and the country’s 4th largest city,

The area at large is an home to 6 Million people, and one of the largest population concentrations in the Levant, It is agriculturally productive area, owing to its large fertile plain of Çukurova . It emerged as a hub for the international cotton trade, as well as an administrative, commerce, logistic, and manufacturing (textile, cement, agricultural machinery, shipyard) centers

It serves as the transportation backbone as Adana lies on the rail line between Istanbul and Baghdad and is connected by a branchline to the Mediterranean port of Mersin,

(51 km) southwest, through which its products are shipped..

2 Million in produce's worth are transported via the commerce port.


We didn't explore the city only passed through it spending one night

A very good Sea Food restaurant

Hotel stayed one night at:

A modern comfortable


To be continued....


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