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Cilician Plains

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Cilician Plains

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Cilician Plains, or Çukurova in modern Turkish, is in Mediterranean Turkey.



  • Adana — undoubtedly capital of the region, a riverside city with some industry
  • Çamlıyayla — a town up in the mountains, once used by people of Mersin as a summer retreat to escape hot weather
  • İncirlik — town east of Adana with a NATO air base and a heavy American presence
  • Karataş — a sea-side resort mainly enjoyed by locals of the region
  • Mersin — a rapidly growing industrial city with pleasant palm-lined park on the waterfront; this is the region's major window to the sea
  • Osmaniye
  • Tarsus — a fairly large city between Mersin and Adana, with a well-preserved old quarter and sites related to Biblical personalities such as St Paul (one of the residents of the town)
  • Yumurtalık — a town on the coast

Other destinations[edit]


Cilician Plains are the largest lowland of Turkey with the occasional rocky hill topped by a Crusader castle. In modern political terms, Cilician Plains extends over all of Adana and Osmaniye Provinces, and the eastern third of Mersin Province. The Plains are bordered by Cilician Mountains to west, Central Anatolia to north, Southeastern Anatolia to east, and Hatay to southeast. There is a shoreline on the Mediterranean to the south, too, but unlike its westernly neighbours, this section of the coast is not renowned for beaches.

The main industries of the past were (and to some degree, still are) cotton and citrus growing. Today some heavy industry has also entered the scene, as well as the oil and gas pipelines coming from the Caucasus and Caspian Sea and reaching the Med coast here.


Get in[edit]

Varda Bridge, spanning over a ravine in Taurus Mountains, and built in 1912 as part of BerlinBaghdad railway project, still conveys freighter and passenger traffic between interior Turkey and Cilician Plains.
  • Adana's international airport is so far the only airport in the region.
  • Adana and Mersin is well served by intercity buses and trains (you will need to transfer to a local train for Mersin, though, as the main trunk line bypasses the city).
  • The region is connected by the motorways O-21 to north (Central Anatolia), O-51 to west (Cilician Mountains), O-52 to east (Southeastern Anatolia), O-53 to south (Hatay). There are also toll-free highways that are in fairly good condition from all directions.

Get around[edit]

The highway D400, which traverses through major cities and towns of the region, and 8-lane motorway/toll-road O-51/O-52/E90, which lies a few km north of D400 (and thus bypassing the cities and towns), form the backbone of local traffic.

However, due to the reports of banditry on quite desolate O-51/O-52, especially in the section between Adana and Osmaniye, drivers are advised not to stop even on the orders from someone seemingly police or to help what is seemingly an accident on the edge of the road, as these are usual tricks known to make drivers stop and easily rob them of valuables.

Fairly frequent and modern (best of all, air-con) trains connect Mersin with Adana, also calling at Tarsus, the other major city of the region, and Yenice, town with the station on the national rail network, on the way. Services east from Adana (towards Toprakkale and Osmaniye) are spotty at best, with seemingly vintage passenger cars dating back to 1950s.

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  • Şalgam suyu or fermantated hot carrot juice, though possible to find at kebab joints and some supermarkets nationwide nowadays, is originated from this region.

Stay safe[edit]

Cilician Plains is the last part of the country where malaria has not been totally eradicated—it was indeed a common disease in the region until up to 1980s, and it's reported that there are still (weakened) populations of P. vivax in the region. While you will most likely be safe, take usual precautions (i.e., apply insect repellents liberally) at visits May through October, when mosquitoes are active, and go see a doctor if you happen to perceive the symptoms within two weeks after your visit to the region.

Be careful while driving on the quite desolate motorway between Adana and Osmaniye, as mentioned at "get around" section.

Get out[edit]

  • For a change in scenery, and beaches that you will be the only human being for kilometres, head west to Cilician Mountains.
  • You will certanly start to feel Middle-Eastern influences in culture, cuisine, and architecture while in Cilician Plains; for a lot more, head south to Hatay, from where trips further on to Syria can be arranged easily (keep the visa issues in mind, though).
  • Southeastern Anatolia to east is another destination with much Middle-Eastern influences, and with impressive ancient towns.
  • Just north of the mighty Taurus Mountains, across the Gülek Pass (known by Cilician Gates in ancient times), Cappadocia awaits.

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