Mersin, also known as Icel, is one of the most modern provinces of the palm lined avenues, city park and modern hotels and a good base for visiting the nearby historical sites and beaches in the southeastern part of Turkey. Mersin is the largest port on the Turkish Mediterranean region, and one of the most crowded cities of Turkey with approximately 1,8 million population. There is also a Free Trade Zone here and it is a business center. In Mersin you may find all the comforts of a modern city and all the characteristics of the Mediterranean cities. Fish is abundant as well as most delicious in this region and in the Mersin fish market you will find inexpensive fish restaurants which are really enjoyable for those who love fish and “Raki” or wine. Although Mersin dates only from the 19th century, it occupies an extremely ancient site. At Mount Yumuktepe the excavations proved that there had been twelve successive settlements beginning from the Neolithic Period.
Icel has also hunting, fishing, picnicking, mountaineering and caving attractions for sports fans. In June 2013, the 17th edition of the Mediterranean Games, known as the Olympics of the countries sitting around the Mediterranean Sea, is organized in Mersin.
The Mersin lies on 18m above sea level The climate here is mild, and generally warm and temperate. In winter, there is much more rainfall in Mersin than in summer. The climate here is classified as Csa by the Köppen-Geiger system. The average annual temperature is 19.0 °C | 66.1 °F in Mersin. Precipitation here is about 655 mm | 25.8 inch per year.
Mersin (Mercin), Turkey (Administrative unit: Mersin) – last known population is ≈ 915 700 (year 2014). This was 1.181% of total Turkey population. If population growth rate would be same as in period 2011-2014 (+2.13%/year), Mersin population in 2020 would be: 1 038 940*.
How to get Mersin:
There are fairly modern and air-con trains every hour or more frequently during the rush hours to and from Adana and Tarsus. The journey time is between 45-80 minutes, depending on the number of stops. The price is 5,5 TL for one way and 9 TL for a roundtrip. There is an option to buy an unlimited card for 110 TL, valid for a month. The price is 80 TL for students. You should buy the ticket before you enter the train, otherwise the price is doubled.
There are trains to and from Istanbul, Eskisehir and Ankara with a stop-over and change at Yenice, east of Mersin.
The only international train link is from Syrian city of Aleppo, from where weekly trains depart at 3AM on Fridays, and arriving in Mersin about nine hours later, at 12:18PM. They cost € 14 pp. (This train is halted indefinitely for a while, so it is wise to check before planning the trip)
There are flights to and from Istanbul and Ankara to the closest airport, Adana Sakirpasa Airport. There are shuttles from the airport to Mersin.
There is a bus station in eastern part of the city. There are city buses running between the city center and the bus station. Usually each bus company has its own shuttles running between city center, western (coastal part) and the bus station. From the bus station there are buses to almost every city in Turkey and to small cities and villages in Cilician Mountains (the rest of Mersin Province), including buses from Gaziantep (5hrs, 25TL) and Silifke (2hrs 10TL)
What to Eat
Tantuni, finely minced fried meat and onion wrap, is one of the most famous food in this region. Don’t leave the city without tasting it. In the center of the city, you will see several small local restaurants with this special fantastic food.
Haslets are very common ingredients of the food in Mersin. There are dishes made with intestines, lung, liver, kidneys, stomach, brain. Even though there are restaurants serving this food all through out the day, this type of food can be found easily late at nights. Especially soups with inner organs are drank late at night after consumption of alcohol.
Cezerye is a mix made of carrots and fig and lots of spices may also include nuts depending on where you buy it from.
Kerebic is dessert unique to this area. It is a dough filled with pistachios and served with vegetarian cream on top of it.
Künefe is also another dessert completely unique to the arabic influented areas. Its oven baked shredded pastry with salt-free cheese filling in thick syrup. Although its really requires a developed taste, it carries the spirit of the vicinity.
Şalgam can be found on every street in Mersin even though it is a drink from Adana. Good examples of local brands are Serafressh (with double s) and Turnib (with b, not p). Since the cities in Çukurova all have similar cuisines taste of Salgam doesn’t differ that much.
In the past there were many Boyan (licorice drink) sellers in the city center. Such drink still exists but cannot be found easily.
Kaynar is another local drink, generally served to celebrate a newborn. It is usually served hot with cinnamon and walnut. The ingredients of kaynar can be found in some stores and can be a cheap exotic gift.
Where to eat
Appropriately located on Mersin Marina, Turkish restaurant Iskele Marin serves up its signature seafood dishes alongside beautiful sea views. Start with tempting first courses like lakerda, a popular mezze dish of pickled bonito or salt marinated mackerel. Follow this with entrees of pan-fried jumbo prawns, seafood pie or swordfish skewers. If meat is more your thing, fear not – Iskele Marin cooks up plenty of traditional Turkish meat dishes too. There is everything from lamb or eggplant and meatball kebabs to et tava, a flavorsome casserole made with hearty chunks of beef fillet steak.
A cafe-bistro nestled next to a plot of Mersin’s famous citrus trees, the cozy Café Betül is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It serves an eclectic range of dishes. Breakfast fare includes the likes of omelets and pancakes. At lunchtime food like soups, sandwiches and local cheese platters make the perfect midday meal. Guests eating at dinner can expect main courses like pepper steak and grilled sea bass with spicy tomato-caper sauce. There are also plenty of Italian-inspired pasta dishes. Decadent desserts include New York-style cheesecake and sütlaç, a Turkish take on rice pudding.
Opened in 2003, the family-owned Hatay Restaurant serves, as its name might suggest, food typical of southeast Turkey’s Hatay province. This is a flavorful, eclectic type of cuisine with Turkish, Middle Eastern and French influences. Start with tempting mezze-style dishes like sigara böreği (cheese and herb filled filo pastry) or hummus topped with Turkish bacon or içli köfte (stuffed meatballs). Meaty main courses include kebabs, hearty stews and steak. Finish with künefe – a classic local Hatay dessert – for a truly authentic dining experience.
A delightful restaurant with a charming, retro interior and a picturesque patio and garden perfect for a spot of al fresco dining is Gattini Bistro. This place has been one of Mersin’s most popular restaurants since first opening its doors six years ago. Mouthwatering Mediterranean cuisine is Gattini Bistro’s focus, with early morning dishes like Turkish sucuk sausage and menemen.This is followed by plenty of dishes perfect for lunch or dinner. These range from octopus casserole and seafood salad to köfte and lamb shanks. Other options include pasta dishes like penne arabiata and fettucine with porcini mushrooms.
Hacıbaba Et Lokantası
In business in Mersin since 1988 and still owned and operated by its original owner’s family, Hacıbaba Et Lokantası is the place to head in town for meat lovers. The restaurant’s huge menu features meat dishes like Adana kebabs and Arnavut ciğeri (Albanian-style liver). There’s also poultry options – think chicken schnitzel and chicken tandoori. Other choices include lahmacun and more köfte than you can shake a stick at, alongside plenty of rice dishes and traditional Turkish soups. There’s even a few veggie-friendly dishes like eggplant salad and kapuska, a Turkish cabbage-based stew.
Seafood is the specialty at Rina Restaurant and with many guests hailing its fish dishes as the best in all of Mersin, the restaurant is a must-try for any self-proclaimed pescatarians. Grab a seat on the restaurant’s gorgeous terrace and soak up the sun while dining on a selection of delicious mezze to start. Choose from dishes like smoked salmon, haydari (a tangy Turkish yogurt dip) or eggplant salad. Try dishes like salt-baked grouper, swordfish skewers or fish-stuffed manti for after.
Brothers and burger fanatics Erdinç and Emre Anay decided to open Otto Burger to satisfy their, and Mersin’s, need for delicious burgers. It looks like the plan is working. Since opening its doors in early 2014 the hip, retro-style spot has welcomed a steady stream of guests who leave raving about its gourmet burgers. Chef Umut Özdemir gets creative with burger recipes like the ‘Baconotto’. This is topped with veal bacon and cheddar. There’s also the ‘Mantarotto’ with smoked cheese, creamy mushrooms and barbecue sauce. There’s even a vegetarian variety featuring grilled halloumi topped with eggplant puree, salad, mushroom and pickles.
Ada Et Döner
A family-friendly restaurant specializing in döner meat cooked on an oak wood-fired rotary grill, Ada Et Döner is sure to satisfy any diner hankering for meat. The restaurant’s menu is short and sweet but delicious nonetheless. Options include iskender kebabs and döner wraps and sandwiches served with sides like salad, pickles and rice. These are perfect finished with a slice of ekmek kadayifi (Turkish bread pudding). Wash it all down with a glass of ayran, a yogurt-based beverage, considered Turkey’s national drink.
A relative newcomer to Mersin’s dining scene, Buğday opened its doors in late 2014. The trendy, retro little cafe-bistro is already gaining quite the name for itself. Mediterranean cuisine crafted from organic, natural ingredients are the focus. Mouthwatering dishes include lasagna, karniyarik (eggplants stuffed with ground lamb) and bulgur pilaf with pickles. On top of that, Buğday’s delicious sweet treats are far too tempting to ignore. Choose from desserts like cupcakes, brownies and homemade strawberry cheesecake.
Where to buy
- PALM CITY MERSİN SHOPPING CENTER
With a land area of 94,266 sq m and leasable area of 34,000sq m, Palm City Mersin Shopping Center is managed by CEFIC, leader in Turkey for leasing and shopping center management. Offering a rich product variety with 62 different local and international brands, Palm City Mersin Shopping Center incorporates CarrefourSA Hypermarket, LC Waikiki, Teknosa, Playland, Defacto, Flo and many other attractive brands. In April 2014, Decathlon, as the largest sports shop in the Mediterranean Region with an area extending to 4,000 square meters, has been added to the distinguished shop mix of the shopping center.
Palm City Mersin Shopping Center, with its entertainment environment and in particular with its movie house, having 10 halls operated by Cinemarine, as well as its terrace area of 1,200 square meters and wide and spacious catering areas, is an indispensable meeting point for the people of Mersin.
Selected among the most prestigious projects in Cityscape Awards, in which the most successful projects of the developing countries are nominated, Palm City Mersin was among the finalists in retail category. It was also granted the “Jury Special Award” in “Best Shopping Center” renovation category at the “8th Global RLI Awards” held in London in 2013 and which is among the most prestigious awards of the world retail and entertainment sector, and received its award in June 2013 pulling ahead of international projects from many countries including Singapore, China and Canada. Lastly, it was granted two separate awards in the categories of “Best Retail Area Development” and “Best Commercial Renovation and Redevelopment” in the International Property Awards.
Palm City Mersin Shopping Center, with its services including an open car park with a capacity of 1,155 cars as well as baby care rooms in two separate points for families with children, a prayer room, ATMs, and dry cleaning, is the primary address for comfortable and pleasant shopping for its visitors.
Land Area : 95,000 sq m
Total Leasable Area : 34,000 sq m
Total Number of Stores : 62
Total Capacity of Car Park : 1,155
Opening Date : April 2003
- Soli Center
You can’t find a place like this anywhere else in the world…everything you could ever want in one place for a day, night, or quick half hour of fun. Grocery options beyond your wildest dreams at Migros and Groseri…more options just down the street. Soli Center is the place to be. Don’t miss it!
- Forum Mersin
With an area of 72,000 m2 available for leasing, there are 11 different driving force stores each with an area of more than 1000 m2. These are Migros hypermarket, Koctas, Zara, Mudo, Cinemaximum, Boyner, YKM, L.C. Waikiki, Ayakkabi Dunyasi, Marks & Spencer and Europe’s biggest electronics and white goods retailer Media Markt.
Cafes and Restaurants:
Akif Sekereme, Barkem Tobacco, Bek Tobacco Shop, Binsan Sekerleri, Bk Cafe, Burger King, Caribou, Choco Waffle, Cook Seker, Corn In Cup, Daily Fresh, Danone Dondurma, Dolomiti Dondurma, El-Mexico, Gonul Kahvesi, Gundogdu Kebap, Harbiye Cafe, Hd Iskender, Home Store, Kahve Dunyasi, Kfc, Komegena Cigkofteci, Mado Cafe, Mc Donald’s, Miss Chicken, Otantik Kumpir, Pizza House, Popeyes, Sarper Lahmacun, Sbarro, Simit Sarayi, Sisko Fast, Starbucks, Umut, Unluoglu Cici, Viking Cafe, Yaprak Tantuni.
Entertainment zone: Forum Mersin offers cinemas, bowling alleys and amusement areas in terms of entertainment within its borders.
Location and accessibility: Forum Mersin is located strategically which makes it easy to access for both local customers and also for bypassing customers. It is right next to the highway, in the city centre and within the area where public transportation options are available. It is possible to reach the mall within 20 minutes within the city center.
- City hospital of Mersin
- MEÜ Sağlık Araştırma ve Uygulama Hastanesi
- Toros Devlet Hastanesi
- Özel Mersin Forum Yaşam Hastanesi
- Mehmet Adnan Özçelik Aile Sağlığı Merkezi
- Medical Park
- Özel Doğuş Hastanesi
- Cami Şerif Aile Sağlığı Merkezi
- Tece Aile Sağlığı Merkezi
- Ömer Sayar Hastanesi