Taking refuge in a harbor is the dream of every traveler. Although the roads are full of adventures, every road eventually becomes in search of tranquility. Ports are the breathing stops of the roads, they are bridges. They unite geographies, people, cultures, and places, and our subject is the harbors opening to cities and other worlds in the Aegean, Mediterranean, and the Black Sea. Time to take refuge…
July, August, and Sinop
Sinop, built on a thin peninsula extending into the sea, is the only natural port in the Black Sea. For this reason, the city has had a voice in sea trade throughout history. For Sinop, which has a magnificent nature and a rich history, the sailors say: “There are three ports in the Black Sea; July, August, and Sinop.” Because when the Black Sea swells, the most important place where the sailors take refuge is Sinop Harbor. In addition to being a shelter for Sinop sailors, it is also the most popular holiday destination on the Black Sea coast with its beaches, lively cafes and restaurants on the docks. Sinop does not have only beaches, but it also has other natural beauties such as waterfalls, lakes, and caves, which can be seen through day trips that can be tempting for even those who never think of a beach holiday. The most prominent structure that adds character to Sinop is the city walls surrounding the peninsula from the north and south. They are still impressive. A large part of the walls do not exist anymore. Today, only two of the city gates are standing. One is Loncakapı, across the prison, and the other is Kumkapı, which looks like dungeon on the north shore, which seems as if it is going to fall into the sea. For the best view of Sinop, definitely go up to the tower in the harbor.
The oldest mosque of Sinop, Alaeddin Mosque from the 13th century, is worth seeing. In the rooms of Pervane Madrasa, which was built in memory of the liberation of the city from the enemy, today there are sales stands of local handicrafts such as wooden boat modeling and Sinop weavings. Archaeological Museum, İnceburun Lighthouse, which is the northernmost point of Turkey, the historic Sinop Prison, where the sound of the waves is heard from its cells, are among the spots you would regret it if you do not see.
Modern, cosmopolitan, and dynamic: İskenderun
We can attribute the fact that İskenderun is so modern and cosmopolitan to its port city character. İskenderun, where life has come alive in parallel with the trade in the city throughout history, may not be a large settlement, but thanks to its port located in İskenderun Bay, it has always been mentioned in international trade. After World War I, while Hatay was under the rule of France, a small port was built for İskenderun. The union of the Republic of Hatay with the Motherland takes place in 1939. In 1942, the port was connected to the State Railways. İskenderun Port plays an important role as a transfer port with its location in the northeast of the Mediterranean.
It is possible to attribute some type of nostalgia to every city. Today, it is a delightful city with palm trees on its boulevards, small bridges along the coast, green parks, walkways, pavements designed for the disabled. The position of İskenderun is impressive. The city got its share from the mountain and the sea. The horizon of the city, which is located at the foot of the Amanos Mountain at the southern end of the Taurus Mountains, is clear. In summer, the shelter of the people suffering from the dampness of the city, which is beyond endurance, is Erzin, or Yeşilkent plateaus, at an altitude of 1500 meters. Surrounded by Antakya to the south, the Mediterranean to the west, Dörtyol to the north and the Amanos Mountains to the east, İskenderun is located on a picturesque coastline despite all the structuring.Moreover, it has a remarkable history and a gulf suitable for the anchoring of yachts. The vitality of the city shows itself in the Fishermen’s Shelter and Balıkhane, which strengthen the city’s attachment with the sea. There are examples of civil architecture, mosques, and churches that can be seen in the center. One of the most important tourist destinations in the vicinity is Payas, which is of historical significance, and the other is Arsuz, which gives cooling opportunity in the burning heat of İskenderun.
For instance at ten o’clock, let’s meet at Kordon…
Everything that makes a city beautiful is in İzmir. But most of all, its port and Kordon do. Drinking tea in Pasaport Kahvesi, eating boyoz and hard-boiled eggs, getting to Karşıyaka by the ferry at sunset, enjoying a conversation at Kordonboyu are always among the beauties of this city. With its water, climate, cultural mosaic, 5 thousand years of history, and happy local people, İzmir has always been a city that has been missed and cared for.
It is not only the import gate of Central Anatolia and the Aegean Region but also an important trade port between the European, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries via rail and road connections. The port is also very important in terms of tourism. As İzmir is a city in an easily accessible location to the touristic riches of the Aegean Region, it is also very important that cruise ships come to the Alsancak Port. İzmir, the agricultural and industrial port of the Aegean Region, has a vital role in the country’s exports. The port has a large agricultural and industrial hinterland. The products of the fertile plains of the Aegean, tobacco, grapes, figs, and cotton were distributed from this port throughout the world for centuries. Today, tobacco has been replaced by olives. When maritime trade became important in the years following the 18th century, the city started to develop towards the port. The sea was filled because of earthquakes and sometimes by people. There is a famous song for Kordon, where the houses are moving away from the sea eventually: “Life without you my darling of İzmir / It seemed hard to me / It sounded you say to me / At a suitable time / For instance at ten o’clock / Let’s meet at Kordon…” The new generation does not know the famous composition of composer Necip Mirkelamoğlu of İzmir but its two most popular lines have been pretty popular among many people of İzmir. The neighborhood is at the peak of its liveliness today. The biggest contribution to this colorful atmosphere is İzmir’s warm climate.
The city that history made it move: Mersin
The abundance of the Mediterranean, the wealth of Mersin… The coasts have always been active throughout the ages, and economy, culture and tourism have reached prosperity through maritime trade. Mersin Port, which is a natural port, is one of the important ports of the Mediterranean. It is the import and export gate of Central Anatolia, Mediterranean, and Southeastern Anatolia regions. It is also the transit center of the Middle Eastern countries. Mersin, which is estimated to be founded as a small fishing town in 1836, has important turning points in the history of the city: timber needed during the construction of the Suez Canal and cotton required for the textile industry of Europe…
The fact that the port is in the center of the city today is a great advantage in terms of access to opportunities and needs. Mersin is fortunate with its position: A civilized city to live from the coast to the heights of the Taurus Mountains. People of Adana can escape from the heat and breathe in their summer houses. There are many ancient cities and pleasant coastal restaurants to be visited within 70 km from Mersin to Silifke. Viranşehir-Soloi (Pompeipolis), founded by the colonists of Rhodes in the 7th century BC, 14 km from Mersin, shows its glory with its columnar street. It is also worth spending time in the city center. Especially in the afternoon, the liveliness of Silifke Street is dazzling. Most of the monumental buildings in the old quarters of Mersin are Turkish-Islamic works; Bezm-i Alem Valide Sultan Fountain, Old Mosque, Mufti Mosque, Avniye Mosque, Ulu Mosque… Also, there are structures that point to the rich ethnic structure of this port city; Latin Catholic Church and Arab Orthodox Church… None of the baths, one of the important structures of the port cities, are used today.