İSKENDERUN was founded by Alexander the Great to commemorate his victory over the Persians at the nearby battle of Issus and, as Alexandria ad Issum, it became a major trade nexus during Roman times. Under the Ottomans, İskenderun became the main port for Halab (Aleppo), now in Syria, from where trade routes fanned out to Persia and the Arabian peninsula. The town was known as Alexandretta during the French-mandate era and is now essentially an industrial, military and commercial centre. Although there is little of historical interest left to see in İskenderun, the town centre is visually appealing, with its broad promenade and the magnificent backdrop of the Amanus mountains. A group of churches provides the main focus of a visit, while a trip to the nearby hill-town of Belen is rewarding for birdwatchers, lying as it does on a major migration route.
Don’t leave town without a stroll along the newly renovated seafront park, where kiosks, canals and gardens partially shield the industrial landscape across the bay and provide a lovely atmosphere for a picnic or a stroll.Read More