Mersin, a rising star of world tourism, is set on a long coastline in the eastern part of the Turkish Riviera and boasts the cleanest seawater along this coast.

Mersin is a city of long beaches and enchanting inlets with the Taurus Mountains rising immediately behind them. Mersin is one of the important ports of the Mediterranean and a centre of maritime commerce, just as it was during ancient times. The plains of this city are resplendent with some of the best lemon and orange groves in Turkey and its countless vineyards curl up into the low foothills of the mountains.

According to GoTurkey.com, Mersin is a sun-kissed city, so let’s see for ourselves!

You are probably thinking, “Wait, what?  Mersin?  Never heard of it!”

Mersin: near all the cool places in the Middle East.

Mersin: near all the cool places in the Middle East.

If you are driving on state road D400 east from Adana, you can’t miss it.

A white gem on the Mediterranean Sea.

A white gem on the Mediterranean Sea.

Mersin

Mersin is home to Turkey’s largest seaport, and. though lacking pearls, is nicknamed Akdeniz’in İncisi by the Turks. Let’s take a walk along the shore in this well-managed jungle.

Let me out!

Let me out!

For reasons known only to the Mersinians, there is a door-less cage along the boardwalk.  There is no sign telling of its history or use, so, we’ll just go with “it’s a cage.”

Wait!  This isn't Copenhagen!

Wait! This isn’t Copenhagen!

A mermaid, her bronze hair carefully covering her bronze breasts, sits alone on a rock, waiting for a fountain to turn on. 

Everybody was Kung Fu fighting...

Everybody was Kung Fu fighting…

We don’t know if it’s Belle or Cinderella, but it looks like she might have been holding an umbrella at one point.  Or perhaps a samurai sword…?

Why doesn't he have legs?

Why doesn’t he have legs?

Aladdin stands watch over the town of Mersin, happy to be a Disney character of Middle-Eastern origin.

Smile and say, "peynir".

Smile and say, “peynir”.

Awwwww.  We take a too-close-up selfie. 🥰

Mersin İdman Yurdu Meydanı is round.

Mersin İdman Yurdu Meydanı is round.

This mini Arc de Triomphe celebrates Mersin’s sports club, Mersin İdman Yurdu.

“Mersin İdman Yurdu or Mersin İdmanyurdu (abbreviated as Mersin İY or MİY) was a Turkish sports club from Mersin, Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean Region. The team played in the Turkish first division for 11 seasons, and after the 1983–84 season the football team played in the Turkish second and third divisions. The team was promoted to the Turkish second level division after the 2008–09 season. MİY became the champions of the Turkish second division during the 2010–11 season and earned promotion to the Turkish Süper Lig during the 2011–12 season. Previous ground of the team was 10,125 capacity Tevfik Sırrı Gür Stadium. In 2013, their new 25,534 person capacity stadium, Mersin Arena, was inaugurated on 23 March 2013 with a TFF First League match against Gaziantep Büyükşehir Belediyespor. Their main rivals were Adana Demirspor, Adanaspor and Tarsus İdmanyurdu, and were friendly with Bucaspor.”

Celebrating the Founding Father of Turkey.

Celebrating the Founding Father of Turkey.

The park hosts a monument dedicated to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, with plaques that read:

Bağımsızlık ve Özgürlük Benim Karaterimdir.
Yurtta Barıs Dünyada Barıs.
Türk her şeye tahammül edebilir.
Fakat milliyet ve şerefine:
tecavüz edilmesine asla.

Please remove your shoes while sleeping.

Please remove your shoes while sleeping.

A young woman and man enjoy the summer day, actually speaking to each other instead of texting other people.  Kids these days….

Let's go swimming!

Let’s go swimming!

Although these women enjoy sitting in the sand and letting the surf wash over them, some people swim very far from shore, far enough that is seems dangerous, given the lack of lifeguards.

Now that's warm water!

Now that’s warm water!

In fact, the water is not only warm, but very, very salty.  So salty that you float, even if you don’t want to.  You might get tired, but you won’t sink.

Mersin Archaeological Museum

In a nation as rich in history as Turkey, you can expect to find archaeological museums everywhere.

Wow!  You can read Turkish!

Wow! You can read Turkish!

“The visitors enter a time tunnel, in which various stages in paleolithic, neolithic, chalcolithic, bronze and iron ages are displayed in chronological order. Then there are replicas (diorama) of neolithic dwellings, ancient olive presses and a pool of amphoras. In the upper floor, findings from Yumuktepe, Soli, Elaiussa Sebaste and many other places are exhibited. Some items are exhibited in showcases. There is also a Hellenistic inscription from Bozyazı, i.e., ancient Nagidos and various statues as well as column headings. In ethnography section, exhibits about later-era-Yörüks (nomadic Turkmens) and the replica of a hug, a primitive dwelling found close to Yumuktepe are exhibited.”

We beat the crowds!

We beat the crowds!

The museum has many artifacts unprotected by rope or glass, plus murals depicting fanciful ideas of the past.

The famous blue thing of Mersin!

The famous blue thing of Mersin!

We can peer into a square hole to see, well, all kinds of interesting things on a tv screen.

They probably looked nicer when they were new.

They probably looked nicer when they were new.

You are probably thinking, “Can you tell us a bit more about the museum’s artifacts instead of just making snarky comments?”

This was written before spellcheckers were common.

This was written before spellcheckers were common.

In fact, there is not a lot of information on the plaques.  I think the museum is more about quiet contemplation than factual knowledge.

Where have I seen this before...?

Where have I seen this before…?

Did you ever wonder how modern corporations are inspired to create their logo?  Well, Starbucks coffee drinkers, wonder no more! 

Weapons of single destruction.

Weapons of single destruction.

The museum provides a display of swords, knives, firearms, and such, without a context. We can assume that some Turkish guys used these for something at some time.

Pretty things for the ladies.

Pretty things for the ladies.

And here we have a collection of hats, belts, bracelets, earrings, and more, without a context. We can assume that some Turkish girls used these for something at some time.

Roman gods once blessed this area with their divine love.

Roman gods once blessed this area with their divine love.

“Dionysos the god of wine is dressed in gazelle skin (nerbis) and wore boots on his feet, wine leave on his head and grape bunches over his cheeks.  Pan was the god of forests.  Hunters and shepherds worshipped Pan. He was generally portrayed with goat horns, bearded and has goat feet.  He holds a hunter stick (Lagoblan) on his left shoulder.”

Just another day on the job.

Just another day on the job.

The museum has an animated display showing what it must have been like for early settlers in Mersin.  That guy in the tree is not crucified, but rather is shaking down olives.

Behold, the wonders of the universe!

Behold, the wonders of the universe!

This might be a god, or it might be a shepherd; we don’t know. But he is animated and rhapsodizes at length in a language we do not understand.

A Turkish baby coffin.  Or maybe a baby Turkish coffin.

A Turkish baby coffin. Or maybe a baby Turkish coffin.

“The sarcophagus has been unearthed from a grave under the Theatre building of Elaiussa Sebaste ancient site.  It has a sliding lid and ornamentations.” And that’s all we know.

It's like they are sisters!

It’s like they are sisters!

Art should inspire, and we are inspired to imitate the faces of those long dead.  Pretty accurate, don’t you think?

Well, this museum is entertaining, even if it lacks a bit of depth.  When in Mersin, right?

Mersin HiltonSA

We are staying at the Mersin HiltonSA, noted for wonderful service and an outdoor swimming pool very close to the beach.

 

A hotel pool befitting a sea-side resort.

A hotel pool befitting a sea-side resort.

The pool is uncrowded and quiet, just the kind of place to relax after a long day of fun and adventure.  But what’s this?

Turks don't worry about things like this.

Turks don’t worry about things like this.

It’s cool to have a bar attached to the pool.  What’s strange to us is that drinks are served in glass containers and bottles.  Well, perhaps Turkish people don’t drop things…

 

It's me!

It’s me!

In every other place we have been in Turkey, the men and women dress conservatively.  Mersin is different, which we appreciate.  I mean, how can you swim covered in layers of fabric.  Even this swimsuit is a bit cumbersome, if you ask me.

Cats

We hear that the Turks enjoy cats, so we decide to take a stroll to see if we can find any.

Just another day in paradise.

Just another day in paradise.

The weather does remind us of our home in southern California, the biggest difference being the lack of people.  Perhaps the locals take this beauty for granted?

But wait.  What’s with those rainwater drains in the sea wall?

Hello, Kitty.

Hello, Kitty.

It’s a wee kitty, living the good life, enjoying a one-room apartment overlooking the ocean, with all the sea-food it can eat.

A cat-sized man-cave.

A cat-sized man-cave.

On closer examination, we see a cozy cat-cave, similar to Cappadocia, with evidence of the cat ordering take-out.  He probably has a TV somewhere in the back.

Is that a mouse?

Is that a mouse?

There are, in fact, cats everywhere.  After all, this is the Mediterranean, where the weather is mild and the people are generous.  Yup, plenty of cats for everyone!

Wait!  Is that hair??!!??

Wait! Is that hair??!!??

Apparently, Mersin is more liberal than many parts of Turkey, given the wanton display of female head-hair.  Oh, my!

A Tortoiseshell cat slowly walks towards us.

A Tortoiseshell cat slowly walks towards us.

There is an abundance of other critters here, including tortoises.  One good thing about photographing tortoises is that you have plenty of time to get just the right angle.

Miyav Park

The Turks, being the kind and thoughtful people they are, created a world-class catio in Miyav Park.

“The ‘Miyav Park’ (Cat Park) project, which Mersin Metropolitan Municipality initiated for street cats, continues to be the center of attention, especially for children.  The number of cats visiting Miyav Park exceeded 100,000 in its first year.  The park, where cats benefit from both shelter and feeding facilities, is the first in our country and in the world.”

A wonderland for cats in Mersin, Turkey.

A wonderland for cats in Mersin, Turkey.

The cat park in enclosed to protect the kitties.  If you look closely, you will see small cat-sized entry/exit doors along the bottom of the wall.

This place has EVERYTHING!

This place has EVERYTHING!

Where are the 100,000 cats?  Well, maybe they are summering in Greece. However, when they return, they will have a wonderful time in their home.

Fun distractions for all the critters.

Fun distractions for all the critters.

Yes, it is in slight need of repair but that’s what happens when you have a home overlooking the sea.  Still, I wish I could build something this nice for my own kitties…😕

Wow!  Cats can read Turkish!!

Wow! Cats can read Turkish!!

There is no evidence of cat-droppings, so, obviously, there is a daily routine of cleanliness provided by the folks of Mersin.

Awwwwwww...

Awwwwwww…

Two kittens snuggle in the warm summer morning.  There is nothing better than being a cat in Mersin.

Cool cats.

Cool cats.

The cat doors are small enough to prevent any curious dog (or child) from entering the park.

I wanna be a cat!

I wanna be a cat!

We would love to go inside and play with our feline friends, but, wisely, it is not allowed, because the kitties need a place to call their own.

Sadly, it’s time to leave Mersin and continue on our adventures.  Until next time…

awa Travels Tip: A trip to a random town in Turkey taught us a lesson in how we should care for our own homeless cats.  “Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince