Antakya / Antiocha

Center of Hatay province is Antakya. The city of Antakya has been built on Asi (Orontes) river. 30 km far from Mediterranean Sea. This city has been built by General Selevcos Nikator in B.C. 300. He was one of the generals of Alexander the Great. The city has been named “Antiochia” with an attribution of Antiochus, name of father of General Selevcos. City has controlled the caravan ways between Mediterranean Sea and Firat (Auphrates) river area.

During the time of Emperor I. Justinien two big earthquakes, a major fire and plague epidemic occured which devastated the city. City looted by the Persians. There are in fact two other ancient cities known as Antioch in Anatolia. One is Antiocheia in Pisidia, located in Yalvac township in the province of Isparta and the other is Antioch and Maeandrum, located at the banks of the Menderes (Meander) river between Denizli and Nazilli in the region known as Caria in ancient times.

Today a cave known as the Grotto of St Peter or Church of Saint Pierre is believed where the Apostle Peter preached when he visited Antioch and is considered to be one of the earliest Christian churches. This grotto-church, located on the Antakya- Reyhanli road, is sacred for both the Christian world and the cities of Rome or Jarusalem the followers of Jesus Christ were first called as ‘Christian” Pope Paul VI declared the church as a place of pilgrimage in 1983. St. Pierre’s day is annually celebrated as 29th Ture.

In addition to this early church, Antakya is also home to a Catholic Church and a Greek Orthodox Church. Museum of Archaeology (also known as the Mosaic Museum), the second richest collection of ancient mosaics in the world. Such attractions, combined with Antakya’s splendid scenery, Hatay is a center of Turkey’s tourism industry. Also Habib-i Neccar Mosque is one of the important examples of Ottoman structure.

With its cultural diversity, historical texture, it is an important place for faith tourism, cultural tourism and nature tourism. It attracts many people such as travellers, anthropologists. Asi River is like a border that separates and at the same time combines old and new, east and west, north and south. With lyrical flow, Asi River witnesses the history of the city. The laurel trees near the river are the soul and symbol
of Antakya.

The mosque is on the Kurtuluş Street it was the name of Antakya resident who was an early follower of Christ’s disciples so that he sacrificed his life for his belief In the northeast corner of the mosque 4 meters underground there is a tomb of Habib-i Neccar. The mosque was built during the ottoman times. It is surrounded with the madrasah (college for religious studies) rooms. In the courtyard there is a fountain dating back 19th century.

The museum is located on Cumhuriyet Square. The construction building was started in 1939 and it was completed in 1948. Finally it was opened to visit with its precious mosaic collection. It is the second mosaic museum in the world. Mosaics are from different periods such as prehistoric era, Iron Age,
Helenistic Period, Roman and Byzantine Era. White Tomb was discovered at Kislasaray in central Antakya during the construction of museum. The tomb was carved in Sidimera style it is from Roman Period.

The Church is located on the lower slopes of Habib-i Naccar Mountain, 2 km. far from city center, on the Antakya-Reyhanli road; it is in a natural cave. After the death of Christ (First century AD), one of his apostles St. Peter had come to the city of Antioch to spread the Christian gospel. Even the word of Christian was used for the first time in this church. And in 1983 POPE PAUL Declared the church as pilgrimage site for Christians, since then every year on June 29 the Catholic Church holds St. Peter’s festival in this church.

This tunnel is situated in the north of Cevlik village. It had a length of 1380 m., height of 7m and width of 6 m. The tunnel was designed in order to control the water and to prevent flood to the city. There is an inscription and an eye at the exit of the tunnel.

The ruins of the temple made of white marble is on the 2nd km of Kapısuyu village. Once upon a time, it was on the center of Selecuia city. lt was built as a temple of king to see whole city. lt remains parts of the temple columns, headers, marble bases.

One of the commanders of Alexander the Great, Seleucus Nicator, established the port city Seleucia Pieria in other words Selefkiye. According to the legend, here is a foundation place of Antakya whose name was taken by Antiochus, father of Nicator. Although, in time Antakya has become a place of
importance, Samandag was always the focal point as for as its harbour, military and commercial significance. This region has become so famous with its vegetation, agricultural wealth and people that the old historians called it “Fertile New Moon (Crescent)”.

These tombs are situated near Titus Tunnel. Here, there are 12 stone graves that were carved in chalky stones. Among these graves there is a famous grave that was named “Beşikli Mağara” (cave with crib).

Harbiye that is surrounded by greenery and waterfalls all around, is a holiday and a vacation place which
witnessed the love of Apollon and Daphne. Harbiye and its waterfalls, bearing the traces of an antique civilization, are well known for their natural beauties and historical structure.

Located only ten minutes away from St. Pierre Church, Huron is a carved stone relief dating back to the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (176-164 BC) in the Hellenistic Period. This relief is called as “the boatman of hell” in mythology. During to the reign of Antiochus IV, plauge stroke the city and the
people started to carve the relief as an offering to the Gods. However, the relief remained uncompleted when the epidemic ended.


St. Hannas Church
Arsuz ( Uluçınar)
Mass Hours: 06.00 – 09.00 a.m.


St. Pierre Church
Kurtuluş Caddesi (Reyhanlı yolu üzeri) Tel./Phone: 225 15 68
Mass Hours: 08.00 a.m. 05.30p.m.

Catholic Church
Kurtuluş Caddesi Kurtuluş Sokak Tel./Phone: 215 67 03
Mass Hours: 08.00 a.m. 05.00p.m.

Orthodox Church
Hürriyet Caddesi Kilise Sokak Tel./Phone: 215 77 71
Mass Hours: 18.00 – 09.00p.m.


St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
Şehit Pamir Caddesi No:43    Tel/Phone: 614 12 52
Mass Hours: Every Sunday 09.00 – 11.00 a.m.

St. George Church
Denizciler Caddesi No: 16  Tel/Phone: 614 12 52
Mass Hours: Every Thursday 09.30 -10.30 a.m.

Karasun Manuk Armenian Church
Savaş Mahallesi 52. Sok. No:2    Tel/Phone: 613 87 46
Mass Hours: Every Thursday 09.00- 12.00 a.m.

Latin Catholic Church
Mithatpaşa Caddesi    Tel/Phone: 613 84 63
Mass Hours: Every Sunday 11.30 a.m.         Other days I8.00p.m.

Rum Katolik Kilisesi
Ziya Gökalp Caddesi

Süryani Katolik Kilisesi
Ziya Gökalp Caddesi



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Developments in the art of cooking are parallel with developments in the history of civilization. The transition from the cave man, who began picking up and eating roots, first eating uncooked meat, to man today, and to various cuisines of the world which cater to his developed tastes, took quite a long time. During this period, cooking which was originally regarded as a way to satisfy one’s hunger, later became an art from all its own. Turkish Cuisine is one place in the world where this art form gains a definite character. Among the rich specialities of Turkish cuisine are the roast and lamb meat dishes of Middle Asian Turks; vegetable dishes and especially vegetables dressed with rice, onions and peanuts, etc. of Seljuk Turks, which were improved in West Asia, as well as the cold dishes of the Ottomans prepared with olive oil.

Some countries which were under the sovereignty of the Empire for a long period have adopted specialities of Turkish Cuisine as a natural consequence and have laid claim to the world as their own. Besides the French, Italian and Far east countries which are known and enjoyed by many people today, the Turkish Cuisine, which has a cooking technique and a very good alternative to those who regard eating, a delight. Turkish Cuisine, which has a long history and cooking methods all its own, is a subject where extensive research can be carried out.

Even though it should be easy to find most of the recipe ingredients outside Turkey, it still may be difficult to find some.

Kiyma Kebap: Chopped meat and chopped onion with spices, cooked around a sewer on charcoal.
Tepsi Kebap: Chopped meat, onion, red and black pepper and some other spices all mixed up and cooked in owen in a round metal tray.
Kagit Kebap: Chopped meat, onion, red and black pepper mixed with other spices put on a special paper and cooked in owen.
Doner kebap: Pieces of lamb packed tightly round a revolving spit.
Sis Kebap: Pieces of meat threaded on a skewer and grilled.

Patlican salatasi: Smashed eggplant mixed with little olive oil.
Coban salata: Mixed chopped salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc.
Zeytin salatasi: Green olives chopped and mixed with tomato, green or dry onion, tomato and pepper paste.

Mercimek corbasi: Lentil soup prepared with onion and cumin
Iskembe corbasi: Chopped tripe served with yogurt and egg yolk.
Paça corbasi: Sheep’s trotters dipped in flour and boiled in water.
Yayla corbasi: Mutton soup with yogurt.

Vegetable Dishes
Patlican tava: Fried eggplant usually served with yogurt or tomato sauce.
Hummus: Boiled chickpea crushed to be a paste mixed with sesame oil, then spices on top.
Tarator: Sliced parsely mixed with sesame oil and yogurt.
Muhammara: Red pepper or pepper paste with a kind of cooked wheat produce and walnut, crushed and mixed altogether.

Baklava: Layers of flakey pastry stuffed with pistachio, walnut etc.
Kunefe: A very special kind of sweet pastry with a special kind of cheese and served hot on a round tray, on top melted hot sugar.

Icli kofte: An interesting meal made from pounded wheat and stuffed with meat, walnut, parsley, etc.

Turkey has produced one of the world’s most enviable cuisines and Hatay has produced one of the richest culinary traditions in Turkey. The kebaps, pilavs and casseroles in Hatay are flavored with savory and hot spices with sour juices too. But these seasonings are used for moderation, enhancing the flavor of the food without causing any discomfort for those eating it. Every edible plant which grows locally is used either as a main ingredient or as a seasoning. The ingredients are always carefully balanced to complement and enhance one another. Garden thyme, mint and parsley and other plants with healing characteristics are used in large quantities, both raw and in cooked dishes. In other areas garden thyme is used as a medicine. In Hatay it is put into a salad. Olives are prepared in many ways and used in many dishes and olive oil is virtually indispensable for dishes. It is certainly the most important natural cooking oil. Especially natural oil called su zeyti is valuable.

Curds, salty yogurt and a variety of local cheese and are the most common dairy products. They are used to make “katikli ekmek ” (bread made with cheese, spice and other toppings), borek (flaky pastries) and excellent salad. (Kunefe) cheese is an essential ingredient in (kunefe), a well-known Hatay dessert. There are also a number of dry and stretched cheeses. Pomegranate juice is an indispensable ingredient for many salads and cooked dishes. The common kebaps are found on the table of every family, rich or poor. Bulgur (a combination of bulgur wheat, olive oil and pepper) is the foundation of many meals. The best known of the corek (round breads) and kurabiye (sweet or salty cookies) is “kombe” which is prepared for religious holidays and other special occasions. Other types of corek and kurabiye found in Hatay are külçe, kerebiç, mamül, kake and semirsek. Oruk and spicy pilav dishes (or tart yogurt dishes) are well known dishes served many meats. They are difficult to make, demanding a good deal of time and certain mastery. Cigkofte, a kebab made of minced meat and usually served raw in most areas, is made with roasted meat in Hatay. Herise (keskek or assir) is a very old food which is still widely prepared in traditional way. Peynirli (cheese) kunefe is the queen of desserts. Other popular desserts made with cheese include hot senkoy helva (a sweet prepared with sesame oil, cereal and syrup) semolina helva and wheat helva. Also popular two types of Kadayif (a sweet pastry) billuriye (crystal) kadayif and tel (rock) kadayif.

Butchers and bakers play on important role in Hatay’s cuisine. The mastery of their work is readily apparent in such delicious dishes as katikli bread, pepper bread, tepsi, kagit kebab and kaytaz börek.

The most preferred hot drink in Turkey is Tea (Cay), which is a drink also in offices and shops on every occasion. It is sometimes served in semavers.
Coffee (Kahve), which is ordered sweet (sekerli), medium (orta sekerli), with little (az sekerli) or with no sugar(sade) is equally appreciated. Ayran is another favorite drink made of yogurt, diluted with water, which can be described “yogurtshake” Turkish people usually drink mineral water (maden suyu).

“Prawns are like birds. When the waters of Iskenderun Gulf cool down, they migrate towards the warm waters in flocks. Millions of prawns swim a long way to reach waters that are warmer…
When the Gulf starts warming up, the journey hack home starts as well. The Prawns grow in size as they cruise in the sea and their limbs fall off from back to the front. The ones that can reach the Iskenderun Gulf will only be left with two limbs and they are named as “JUMBO”.
“The most delicious Jumbo Prawns of the world reach a weight of 110-130 grams by the time they reach
Iskenderun Gulf and it will not be possible to find them anywhere else in the world. ”
This is how the “World’s Most Delicious Foods ” titled book that was co-written by the most famous cooks of France tells the story Jumbo Prawns…

A dessert that is special to Hatay: “KUNEFE”
Kunefe, is the best known dessert of Hatay that is also a very well-known cuisine in our country with all the delicious tastes it offers. If you want to savor the taste of Kunefe with cheese to its full extent, we suggest that you try it in either Iskenderun or Antakya.


Our natural care products are handmade They are the mixture of nature’s finest ingredients. There aren’t any synthetics. They are all pure, natural, and fresh. All of our products contain natural
ingredients derived from native plants grown in the southeast mountains of Turkey. We have natural soap making plants in the İskenderun. Natural olive oil soaps and daphne soaps are our specifıc
products. We produce/sell 100% natural Antakya Daphne Soaps, Olive Oil and Natural Foods. All of our products (daphne soaps) are hand-made. Our soaps are made of natural daphne oil and olive oil by using traditional methods, just like the old times… It is soft and gentle to the skin and does not contain artificial colours of perfumes. The ingredients are daphne oil, olive oil, water and mineral salts. It
contains neither animal oil nor extra supplement. It is healthy and easily melting and foaming structure in the water. Our soaps are the perfect solution for the problems of sensitive and dry skin.

Pomegranate fruit has been accepted as an antique fruit during the times when, humanity was still experiencing all forms of experiments whether or any edible fruit or vegetable was useful or harmful for the human body. This was also the time when scientific information was not at all available. The extract of this fruit has become an indispensable flavor in our cuisine. This local extract nowadays has been
traditionally produced bottled and served. Pomegranate as a symbol of fertility, was a legendary
fruit at the times of Roman and Hellenistic times.

Silk weaving is one of the oldest traditional handicraft businesses in the region of Harbiye, Antakya. İt is well known in Anatolia that the first silk fabric was woven in Harbiye and two out of four families that have been carrying on the tradition of producing natural silk continue doing so in Samandağ and the other two in Harbiye Although the silk weaving looms placed in small boutique type sales shops leave a nostalgic impression, they are not there just for decorative purposes but for actual weaving of silk.

The imitations of historical artifacts belonging to the old civilizations of Harbiye are reproduced by carving on stone. In our day, the small objects that are created as a result of the hand work of the stone carvers attract the attention of the visitors coming to the region and as a profession it is continued to be
performed on a small scale.

Olive oil soap is made of pure olive and laurel trees’ oils of Antiochia (Antakya), according to the custom of our ancestors, and it doesn’t contain any chemical ingredient. It is fabricated by hands without using any synthetic matter for color, foam and odor. It animates your dry skin, softens your hair and gives them a natural brightness.

The leaves of this tree never falls in its season, and it has been found in the coasts of the Mediterranean since hundreds of years. It is agreed that the smell of the leaves softens the lungs playing the role of
a medicine preventing coughing.


Uluslararası İskenderun Turizm ve Kültür Festivali / International Tourism & Culture Festival of İskenderun
5-9 Temmuz / July           Tel./Phone: 613 07 27

Antakya Festivali / Festival of Antakya
21-23 Temmuz / July   Tel./Phone: 214 21 66

Arsuz Festivali / Festival of Arsuz
Ağustos / August    Tel./Phone: 643 33 34

Dörtyol Festivali / Festival of Dörtyol
Haziran / June       Tel./Phone: 712 10 10

Yayladağı Festivali / Festival of Yayladağı
5-6 Ağustos / August   Tel./Phone: 471 33 00

Belen Yayla Şenlikleri / Festival of Belen
19 Ağustos / August      Tel./Phone: 441 2010

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