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News > A look into Adana's history
A look into Adana's history

Posted 2/20/2009   Updated 2/20/2009 Email story   Print story


by Mehmet Birbiri
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs host nation advisor

2/20/2009 - INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Adana is the capital of the Adana province and also the largest city in the Mediterranean Region of Turkey. It is situated in the middle of the Cukurova Plain. Turkey's main highway, D-400, most commonly known as old E-5, goes west through Adana in the east-west direction and the Seyhan River runs north-south. Adana surrounds D-400 and the Seyhan River, approximatly 50 kilometers inland from the Mediterranean Sea. 

The Cukurova Plain has the reachest soil in Turkey and, although cotton is the main product, almost every kind of vegetable and fruit grows in and around Adana. Since cotton is the main product here, Adana is the center of the textile industry, one of the leading industries of Turkey. 

The northern part of D-400 is called New Adana and the southern part is called Old Adana. Shopping in Old Adana can be very interesting: in some shops you can see the craftsmen making the goods they sell. In many cases the craft has been handed down through generations. 

According to legend, Adana was originally founded by Saurus and Adanus, the sons of of the Greek mythology god Uranus, who, in Greek mythology, represented the great bear. Thus Adana derives its name from Adanus and the Seyhan river from Saurus. Because the city was situated on a main trade route it was subject to constant invasion. Excavations made in the vicinity show that the region, as the rest of Turkey, has been inhabited since early times. 

Adana and its surroundings were first occupied by the Hittites in 15th century B.C. and later by the Assyrians. In 6th century B.C. it became part of the Persian Empire, and was later then captured by Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. Later in the 1st century B.C., it was conquered by Pompey and became part of the Roman Empire.

In 704 A.D. the area was captured by Muslims, then by the Byzantines and in 1082 the Seljuk Turks concured the area from the Byzantines. In 1097 the first Crusaders took Adana. In 1375 the Seljuk Turks retook it and, the Ramazanoglu principality ruled the area between 1377-1517. In 1517 the region was captured by Sultan Selim I and became part of the Ottoman Empire. Following World War I, Adana was occupied by the French. On Jan. 5, 1922, Adana became part of modern Turkey.

Historical Monuments in Adana
(Roman Bridge) was built across the Seyhan River by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century A.D. and repaired by the Byzantine Emperor, Justinian, in the 6th century. It is 319 meters long and had 21 arches of which 14 are still standing. The bridge is open for pedestrian traffic only. 

The historical monuments of Adana are mainly on both sides of the main street that goes from the city's small slock square toward the big clock tower. 

BIG CLOCK was built in 1882 by Ziya Pasa, Governor of Adana, as a symbol of modernization.
AGCA MESCID was built in 1409. It's the first and oldest mosque built in Adana.
CARSI HAMAMI (Turkish Bath) was built in 1529 and is still in use. It is located by the Big Clock Tower.
IRMAK HAMAMI (Turkish Bath) was built in 1594 and still in use. It is located towards the end of the main street of old Adana.
MESTAN HAMAMI (Turkish Bath) was built in 1703 and still in use. It is located by the Small Clock Square on your right .
YAG CAMI (Old Mosque) was built in 1501. The entrance door is of yellow and black colored stone and is an important work of art. It is renovated five years ago. It is between the big clock and small clock towers.
ULU CAMI (Grand Mosque) was built in 1513. It is a mixture of Seljuk, Mameluk and Ottoman architecture. Its minaret is Mameluk style (octagonal). When you look to the left from the big clock tower you will see the park by the mosque first and the mosque itself.
COVERED BAZAAR was built in the 15th century. It is on the left before the big clock tower. Mainly handcrafted textile items are sold in the Covered Bazaar. It is a unique place and gives you the feeling of old time markets with its small shops and shop owners with warm smiles on their faces.
SABANCI MOSQUE was built between 1988 - 1998. Although it is not old; it is a place that should be visited while in Adana. It is the largest mosque in the Middle-east and Balkans with a 28,500 capacity. It is located on the western side of the bridge on the D-400 highway.

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