TARSUS, the birthplace of St Paul and the city where Cleopatra met Mark Antony and turned him into a “strumpet’s fool”, lies about 30km east of Mersin, across the factory-dotted cotton fields of the Çukurova. St Paul was born as Saul in Tarsus about 46 years after the meeting between Cleopatra and Antony. He returned after his conversion on the road to Damascus, fleeing persecution in Palestine. Proud of his roots, he is described as having told the Roman commandant of Jerusalem “I am a Jew, a Tarsian from Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city.”

Nowadays, the Antik Şehir or “old city” has been exposed by excavations, but although there remains a good section of black-basalt main street and some underground stoas and temples, only a few reminders of the town’s illustrious past survive.


Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Turkey features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
The film that will inspire your next trip to Turkey

The film that will inspire your next trip to Turkey

The allure of Istanbul is hard to beat. This thrilling city bridges two continents with a history spanning more than 2000 years. And with Istanbul’s Atatürk …

05 Aug 2015 • Eleanor Aldridge videocam Video
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook