Adana (pronounced [aˈda.na]; Ancient Greek: Άδανα) is a Cilician city in southern Turkey. The city is situated on the Seyhan River, 35 km (22 mi) inland from the north-eastern coast of the Mediterranean sea. It is the administrative seat of the Adana Province and has a population of 1.77 million.
Adana lies in the heart of Cilicia, a distinct geo-cultural region, at a time, was one of the most important regions of the classical world by being crossroads for religions and civilizations. Home to six million people, Cilicia is one of the largest population concentrations in the Near East, as well an agriculturally productive area, owing to its large fertile plain of Çukurova. Adding the large population centers surrounding Cilicia, almost 10 million people reside within two hours' drive from the Adana city center.
One of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements of the world and with a name unchanged for at least four millennia, Adana was a market town at the Cilicia plain and one of the gateways from Europe to the Middle East. The city turned into a powerhouse of Cilicia with the Turkic takeover in 1359. It remained as the capital of the Ramadanid Emirate until 1608, and then the regional center for the Ottoman Empire, Turkey and shortly for the French Cilicia. The city boomed with the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, and emerged as a hub for international cotton trade. Traditionally a town populated by Armenians and Turks; influx of Assyrians, Greeks, Circassians, Jews and Alawites during this period made the city one of the most diverse cities of the Empire. Economic, social and cultural growth was halted by the Adana massacre, the Armenian Genocide, and the 1921 Cilicia evacuation, all of which devastated the city in the early 20th century. After the eviction of Christian community, most of the city's private properties, value-wise, were confiscated in 1923 and were granted to the Muslim Turks who recently had migrated into the city. After a standstill period, city's economy again boomed in the 1950s with the construction of the Seyhan Dam, and the growth continued until the 1980s.
In the 21st century, Adana is a center for regional trade, healthcare, and public and private services. Agriculture and logistics are significant sectors of the city. The economic decline caused by national policies and de-industrialization since the 1990s is reversing, as the city is gaining momentum with the fairs, festivals and entertainment life. The rivalry between the city's football clubs, Adanaspor and Adana Demirspor, is getting attraction as being a derby that is rooted in socio-economic divisions.
One theory holds that the city name originates from a hypothetical Indo-European term; a danu (English: on the river). Many river names in Europe were derived from the same Proto-Indo-European root: Danube, Don, Dnieper and Donets.The earliest time Adana was mentioned was around 2000 BC in the Hittite tablets. With a history of at least four millennia, Adana is one of the oldest continuously used place names and had only pronunciation changes under different rules.
In Homer's Illiad, the name of the city is mentioned as Adana. For a short while during the Hellenistic era, the city was known as Ἀντιόχεια τῆς Κιλικίας (English: Antioch in Cilicia) and as Ἀντιόχεια ἡ πρὸς Σάρον (English: Antioch on Sarus). On some cuneiforms, the city name was mentioned as Quwê, and as Coa in some other sources which could be the place Solomon had obtained his horses as per Bible (I Kings 10:28; II Chronicles 1:16). Under the Armenian rule, the city was known as Ատանա (Atana) or Ադանա (Adana). An ancient Greco-Roman legend mentions that the name of Adana originates from Adanus, the son of the Greek god Uranus, who founded the city next to the river with his brother. His brother's name, Sarus, was given to the river. An older legend, in Accadian, Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian and Hittite mythologies, originates the city's name to the Storm and rain god Adad who lived in the surrounding forests. There are Hittite manuscripts that were founded in the region regarding this legend. The legend had survived as the Storm and rain god continued to create rain and abundance. The locals had great admiration towards the God and called the region Uru Adaniyya (English: Adana region) in his honour. The city inhabitants were called Danuna.
According to Ali Cevad's Memalik-i Osmaniye Coğrafya Lügatı (English: Ottoman Geography Dictionary), Muslims of Adana originated the city's name to Ebu Süleym Ezene, who was appointed as Wali by Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid. Other than Ezene, Ottoman and Islamic resources also mention the city as Edene, Azana and Batana.
Adana is located on the 37th parallel north at the northeastern edge of the Mediterranean, where it serves as the gateway to the Cilicia plain. This large stretch of flat, fertile land lies southeast of the Taurus Mountains. From Adana, crossing Cilicia westwards, the road from Tarsus enters the foothills of the Taurus Mountains, eventually reaching an altitude of nearly 4,000 feet (1,200 m). It goes through the famous Cilician Gates, the rocky pass through which armies have coursed since the dawn of history, and continues to the Anatolian plain.
The Seyhan River (formerly called the Sarus) that passes through Adana, occasionally flooded the city until embankments were built in the 1900s. The north of the city is surrounded by the Seyhan reservoir. The Seyhan Dam, completed in 1956, was constructed for hydroelectric power and to irrigate the lower Çukurova plain. Two irrigation channels in the city flow to the plain, passing through the city center from east to west. There is another canal for irrigating the Yüreğir plain to the southeast of the city.
Adana has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa) under both the Köppen classification, and a dry-hot summer subtropical climate (Csa) under the Trewartha classification. Winters are mild and wet. Frost does occasionally occur at night almost every winter, but snow is a very rare phenomenon. Summers are long, hot, humid and dry. During heatwaves, the temperature often reaches or exceeds 40 °C (104.0 °F). The highest recorded temperature was on 8 July 1978 at 45.6 °C (114.1 °F). The lowest recorded temperature was −8.1 °C (17.4 °F).
Adana is considered to be the oldest city of Cilicia, and with a history of 8-millennia, it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of the world. The history of the Tepebağ tumulus dates back to the Neolithic, to around 6000 B.C., the time of the first human settlements. A place called Adana is mentioned by name in a Sumerian epic, the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Roman statues at Adana Archaeology Museum
First known people living in Adana and the surrounding area were the Luwians. They controlled the Mediterranean coasts of Anatolia roughly from 3000 BC to around 1600 BC. Hittites took over the region which came to be known as Kizzuwatna. Inhabited by Luwians and Hurrians, Kizzuwatna had an autonomous governance under the Hittites protection, but they had a brief independent period from the 1500s to 1420s. According to the Hittite inscription of Kava, found in Hattusa (Boğazkale), Kizzuwatna was the kingdom that ruled Adana, under the protection of the Hittites by 1335 BC. Beginning with the collapse of the Hittite Empire c. 1191–1189 BC, Adana native Denyen sea peoples took control of the plain until around 900 BC. Neo-Hittite States founded in the region then after and Quwê state was centered around Adana. Quwê and other states were protected by the Neo-Assyrian Empire, though they had independent periods. After the Greek migration to Cilicia in the 8th century BC, the region was unified under the rule of Mopsos dynasty and Adana was established as the capital. Bilingual inscriptions of the ninth and eighth centuries found in Mopsuestia were written in hieroglyphic Luwian and Phoenician. Assyrians took control of the regions several times until their collapse in 612 BC.
Cilicians founded the Kingdom of Cilicia in 612 BC with the efforts of Syennesis I. The kingdom was independent until the invasion of Achaemenid Empire in 549 BC, then after, became an autonomous satrapy of Achaemenids until 401 BC. The uncertain loyalty of the Syennessis during the rebellion of Cyrus the Younger led Artaxerxes II to abolish the Syennesis administration and replace it with a centrally appointed satrap. Archeological remains of a procession reveals the existence of Persian nobility in Adana.
Minted coin of Adana, c.250 BC
Alexander had an unexpected entry into Cilicia in 333 BC through the Cilician Gates and appointed the Syennesis dynasty to re-administer the region. His death in 323 BC marked the beginning of the Hellenistic era, as Greek replaced Luwian as the language of the region. After a short time under the Ptolemaic dominion, Seleucid Empire took control of the region in 312 BC. Adanan locals had adopted a Greek name for the city, Antioch on Sarus, to demonstrate loyalty to the Seleucid dynasty. The adopted name and the motifs illustrating the personification of the city seated above the river-god Sarus on city's minted coins, reveal appreciation to the rivers which were strong part of the Cilician identity. Although the Adana area were into international trade, coasts of rugged Cilicia were under the heavy plunder of the Cilician pirates. Seleucids ruled Adana for more than two centuries until weakened by the civil war which led them to offer allegiance to Tigranes II, the King of Armenia who conquered a vast region in the Levant. Cilicia became a vassal state of the Kingdom of Armenia in 83 BC and new settlements were founded by Armenians in the region.
Pompey took over entire Cilicia and organized it as a Roman province in 64BC. Adana was of relatively minor importance during the Roman's influential period, while nearby Tarsus was the metropolis of the area. During the era of Pompey, the city was used as a prison for the pirates of Cilicia. The Sarus bridge was built in the early 2nd century, and for several centuries thereafter, the city was a waystation on a Roman military road leading to the East. After the permanent split of the Roman Empire in 395 AD, the area became a part of the Byzantine Empire, and was probably developed during the time of Julian the Apostate. With the construction of large bridges, roads, government buildings, irrigation and plantation, Adana and Cilicia became the most developed and important trade centers of the region.
Achilles' Sarcophagus 170–190 AD
Adana was a Christian bishopric, a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Tarsus, but was raised to the rank of autocephalous archdiocese after 680, the year in which its bishop appeared as a simple bishop at the Third Council of Constantinople, but before its listing in a 10th-century Notitiae Episcopatuum as an archdiocese. The Bishop Paulinus participated in the First Council of Nicaea in 325. Piso was among the Arianism-inclined bishops at the Council of Sardica (344) who withdrew and set up their own council at Philippopolis; he later returned to orthodoxy and signed the profession of Nicene faith at a synod in Antioch in 363. Cyriacus was at the First Council of Constantinople in 381. Anatolius is mentioned in a letter of Saint John Chrysostom. Cyrillus was at the Council of Ephesus in 431 and at a synod in Tarsus in 434. Philippus took part in the Council of Chalcedon in 451 and was a signatory of the joint letter of the bishops of Cilicia Prima to Byzantine Emperor Leo I the Thracian in 458 protesting at the murder of Proterius of Alexandria. Ioannes participated in the Third Council of Constantinople in 680. No longer a residential bishopric, Adana is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.
At the Battle of Sarus in April 625, Heraclius defeated the Sasanian Shahrbaraz forces that are stationed at the east bank of the river, after a fearless charge across the Justinian bridge (now Taşköprü). Byzantines defended the region from encroaching Islamic Caliphates throughout the 7th century CE, but it was finally conquered in 704 by the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik. During Umayyad rule, Cilicia became a no man's land frontier between Byzantine Christian and Arab Muslim forces. In 746, profiting by the unstable conditions in the Umayyad Caliphate, Byzantine Emperor Constantine V took control of Adana in 746. Abbasid Caliphate took over the rule of the region from Byzantine after Al-Mansur's inauguration to caliph in 756. With the Abbasid rule, Muslims for the first time started settling in Cilicia. Abandoned for more than 50 years, Adana was garrisoned and re-settled from 758 to 760. To form a Thughūr on the Byzantine frontier, Cilicia was colonized with the Turkic Sayābija tribe from Khorasan. The city had seen rapid economic and cultural growth during the reign of Harun al-Rashid and Al-Amin. Abbasid rule of the city continued for more than two centuries, and the Byzantines retook control of Adana in 965. The city became part of the Seleucia theme. After the defeat at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, the emperor Romanos IV Diogenes was removed from reign by a coup. He then gathered a troop to regain his power, though got defeated and had to retreat his troop to Adana. He was forced to surrender by the garrison in Adana upon receiving assurances of his personal safety.
Suleiman ibn Qutulmish, the founder of the Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate, annexed Adana in his campaign in 1084. Cilicia had been criss-crossed by invading armies and the crusades during this period until it was captured by the forces of the Armenian Principality of Cilicia in 1132, under its king, Leo I. It was taken by Byzantine forces in 1137, but the Armenians regained it around 1170. Armenian era had evolved Adana to a center for handicrafts and international trade. The city was the center of a large trading network from Minor Asia to North Africa, Near East and India. Venetian and Genoese merchants frequented the city to sell their goods that were brought through Ayas port. In 1268, the devastating Cilicia earthquake destroyed much of the city and 80 years later in 1348, Black Death reached the region and caused severe depopulation. Adana remained part of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia until 1359, when the city was ceded to the Türkmen supported Mamluk Sultanate who marched into Cilicia and captured the plain. Most Armenians of the city fled to Cyprus after the ceding.
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|Currency used||Turkish Lira (TL)|
|Area (km2)||1,945 km²|