Levent is an Agricultural Engineer who lives in Antakya directly on the Turkish Syrian Border. He is a member of the Global English Classroom Group. Here is his article about the region of Hatay.
Colours and scents are everywhere. Nature, gastronomy, cosmetic, art and entertainment is in our life. Let us discover this in Hatay. Hatay is an important station on the Silk Road. Hatay is the centre of flavours and spices as well as a city of civilizations. Different cultures meet and live here. Hatay is a painting with legends and discovers the green Defne tree. Hatay is established on ancient cities and historical secrets. So, let’s go and discover Hatay.
First, let us go to the Dover village. It is in the south of Hatay. Here is a green tableau. It is high in the mountains and a place to enjoy breakfast. You can see Antakya from there. We are in summer, but it is a little chillier than in Antakya. You can eat your breakfast freely in nature.
Harbiye. It is near Dover village. Close your eyes and hear the Harbiye waterfall, also known as the tears of Apollon. Open your eyes and see the green Defne trees and smell the air. There are many legends about Defne and Apollo. We make soap and shampoo from the Defne tree. We put the Defne leaves around cereal bowls because insects do not like their smell. Put your feet inside the cold water of the waterfall and eat Harbiye kebab.
Antakya Centre of Hatay. First, visit Sen Piyer Church. There is a story I heard in my youth, that Jesus and the Apostles visited three churches. One in Egypt, another in France and the other in Hatay, the Sen Piyer. İt is so an important place. There are Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox churches, synagogues and mosques. All of these buildings are historical and there are many historical stories.
There is the Mosaic museum. It is the world’s second-largest mosaic museum. A few months ago, the local government started to construct an underpass for cars. They discovered the underground mosaic. Written on the mosaic stones was “be merry, live your life “.
Samandağ South West of Hatay. There is St Simon. Built in the 6th century on the hill at 480m altitude. The monastery of Simon occupies an important place in the city’s faith tourism. The founder of “The Order of Styles”, which is accepted as the centre of early Christian pilgrimage. It was founded by Simon to provide religious education.
Titus Tunnel and Cradle Cave. It was built in the 1st century BC. To avoid life-threatening floods and floods from the mountains, the Roman emperor Vespasian ordered the construction of a tunnel that would circulate the city, thus changing the direction of the currents. Titus started building it in 69 A.D. and it was completed in 81 A.D. by his son and successor Roman legions and slaves worked on the construction of the tunnel. It is completely carved into the mountain and is 380 meters long, 7 meters high and 6 meters wide.
Beach. The town of Samandağ has one of the longest beaches in the world, 14 km long on the shores where the Asi River reaches the Mediterranean Sea. This beach is a public beach with a wide sandy beach. This beach is also one of the few spawning and breeding areas of endangered Chelonia Mydas and Caretta Caretta sea turtles in the world.
Regional cuisine. There are many kinds of spices, appetizers, foods. We take the cuisine of different regions and mix it. I advise you to taste it. We drink alcohol. We make our raki, at home. Come any time, our climate is mild. For water activities, the best time is in summer.