Mersin and the coast has been inhabited since the 9th millennium BC. Excavations by John Garstang of the hill of Yümüktepe have revealed 23 levels of occupation, the earliest dating from 6300 BC. A fortification was put up around 4500 BC, but the site appears to have been abandoned between 3200 BC and 1200 BC.
In the following centuries the city became a part of many states and civilizations including the Hittites, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, the Macedonians of Alexander the Great, Seleucids, Lagids. Later, the area became a part of the Roman province of Cilicia, which had its capital at Tarsus, while nearby Mersin was the major port.
In 395 the Roman Empire was split in two and this area fell into the half ruled by Byzantium (later Constantinople), which became the centre of trade in this part of the world, drawing investments and trade, and causing Mersin to lose its attractiveness.
The city has been a Christian enclave, then came the Arabs, Egyptian Tulunids, Seljuk Turks, Mongols, Crusaders, Armenians, Mamluks, Anatolian beyliks, and finally the city was conquered by the Ottomans in 1473.
During the American Civil War, the region became a major supplier of cotton to make up for the high demand due to shortage. Railroads were extended to Mersin in 1866 from where cotton was exported by sea, and the city developed into a major trade center.
Called Byzantium and later Constantinople, Istanbul is the only city to span two continents. It sits on the Bosphorus, the ...