Infobox Settlement

settlement_type = Town
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = TUR
map_caption =Location of PAGENAME within Turkey.

official_name = Silifke

subdivision_name1 = Mediterranean
subdivision_name2 = Mersin| population_total =
population_as_of =
population_density_km2 =
area_total_km2 =
elevation_m =
latd = 36
latm = 22
latNS = N
longd = 33
longm = 56
longEW = E
postal_code_type=Postal code
postal_code = 33xxx
area_code = +90 324
leader_name =
blank_info = 33|blank_name=Licence plate
website = []

Silifke (Selefke; Greek: "Σελεύκεια", Seleucia or Seleukeia) is a town and district in south-central Mersin Province, Turkey, convert|80|km|mi|0|abbr=on west of the city of Mersin.

Silifke is near the Mediterranean coast, on the banks of the Göksu River, which flows from the nearby Taurus Mountains, surrounded by attractive countryside along the river banks.


Silifke was formerly called Seleucia on the Calycadnus (Latin: Seleucia ad Calycadnum) — variously cited over the centuries as Seleucia [in] Cilicia, Seleucia [in,of] Isauria, Seleucia Trachea, and Seleucia Tracheotis —.The ancient city of Olba or Olbasa, Olbia, Ourbanopolis was also within the boundaries of modern day Silifke.


The economy of the district depends on agriculture, tourism and raising livestock. The town of Silifke is as a market for the coastal plain, which produces beans, peanuts, sesame, banana, pineapple, mango, orange, lemon, lime, cotton, grapes, lentils, olives, tobacco, and canned fruits and vegetables. An irrigation project located at Silifke supplies the fertile Göksu delta. In recent years there has been a large investment in glasshouses for producing strawberries and other fruit and vegetables in the winter season. Silifke is also an industrial town, well-connected with other urban areas and producing beverages, chemicals, clothes, footwear, glass, plastics, pottery, and textiles.



Located a few miles from the mouth of the Calycadnus (Greek: "Kalykadnos", currently Göksu) River, Seleucia was founded by Seleucus I Nicator in the early 3rd century BCE, one of several cities he named after himself. It is probable that there were already towns called Olbia (or Olba) and Hyria and that Seleucus I merely united them giving them his name. The city grew to include the nearby settlement of Holmi (in modern day Taşucu) which had been established earlier as an Ionian colony but being on the coast was vulnerable to raiders and pirates. [Stephanus of Byzantium; Strabo, XIV, 670)] . The new city up river was doubtless seen as safer against attacks from the sea so Seleucia achieved considerable commercial prosperity as a port for this corner of Cilicia (later named Isauria), and was even a rival of Tarsus.

Cilicia thrived as a province of the Romans, and Seluecia became a religious center with a renowned 2nd century Temple of Jupiter. It was also the site of a noted school of philosophy and literature, the birthplace of peripatetics Athenæus and Xenarchus. [ [ Classical Gazetteer, page 312 ] ] The stone bridge was built by the governor L.Octavius Memor in 77 AD. Around 300 AD Isauria was established as an independent state with Seleucia as the capital.


Early Christian bishops held a Council of Seleucia in [(variously cited)] 325, 359, and 410. Seleucia was famous for the tomb of the virgin Saint Thecla of Iconium, converted by Saint Paul, who died at Seleucia, ["Acta Pauli et Theclae", an apocryphal work of the second century] , the tomb was one of the most celebrated in the Christian world and was restored several times, among others by the Emperor Zeno in the fifth century, and today the ruins of the tomb and sanctuary are called "Meriamlik" [("Denkschriften der k. Akadem. der Wissenschaft. philos.-histor. Klasse", Vienna, XLIV, 6, 105-08)] . In the 5th century the imperial governor ("comes Isauriae") in residence at Seleucia had two legions at his disposal, the Legio II Isaura and the Legio III Isaura. From this period, and perhaps later, dates the Christian necropolis, west of the town, which contains many tombs of Christian soldiers. According to the "Notitia Episcopatuum" of Antioch, in the sixth century, the Metropolitan of Seleucia had twenty-four suffragan sees [(Echoes d'Orient, X, 145)] .

In 705 Seleucia was captured by the Arab armies of Islam and was recovered by the Byzantines. Thus by 732 nearly all the ecclesiastical province of Isauria was incorporated into the Patriarchate of Constantinople; henceforth the province figures in the "Notitiae" of Byzantium, but under the name of Pamphylia.

In the "Notitiae" of Leo VI the Wise (ca. 900) Seleucia had 22 suffragan bishoprics [Heinrich Gelzer, "Ungedruckte . . . Texte der Notitiae episcopatuum", 557.] ; in that of Constantine Porphyrogenitus (ca 940) it had 23 [("Georgii Cyprii descriptio orbis romani", ed. Gelzer, 76)] . In 968 Antioch again fell into the power of the Byzantines, and with the Province of Isauria, Seleucia was allocated to the Patriarchate of Antioch [(Gelzer, op. cit., 573)] . We know of several metropolitans of this see, the first of whom, Agapetus, attended the Council of Nicaea in 325; Neonas was at the Council of Seleucia in 359; Symposius at the Council of Constantinople in 381; Dexianus at the Council of Ephesus in 431; Basil, a celebrated orator and writer, whose conduct was rather ambiguous at the Second Council of Ephesus and at the beginning of the Council of Chalcedon in 451; Theodore was at the Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553; Macrobius at the Sixth Ecumenical Council and the Council in Trullo in 692.

Seleucia remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church, the seat is currently vacant following the death of the last bishop in 1971. [ [ Seleucia in Isauria (Titular See) [Catholic-Hierarchy ] ]

The Turkish period

In the 11th century, the city was captured by the Seljuk Turks; they met with resistance and in 1137, Seluecia was besieged by Leon of Cilician Armenia. During this period of struggle between Armenians, Byzantines, Crusaders and Turks a stronghold was built on the heights overlooking the city. On June 10, 1190, the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa was drowned trying to cross the Calycadnus, near Seleucia during the Third Crusade.

In the 13th century Seleucia was in the possession of the Hospitallers, who lost it to the Karamanoğlu Turks in the second half of the thirteenth century, and then it ended up in the hands of the Ottomans under general Gedik Ahmet Pasha in 1471.

Until 1930 Silifke was a province of the Turkish Republic, but was reduced to being a district of Mersin as punishment for voting for the opposition party (Serbest Fırka) in the general election of that year.

Main sights

* The caves of "Heaven and Hell" ('Cennet ve Cehennem'), which have collapsed in two places revealing deep holes in the ground.
*"Narlıkuyu" is an attractive village, where people from Mersin come to eat fish and enjoy the seaside.
* The picnic place in the forest "Doktorun Yeri".
* The town of Silifke has many well preserved ancient ruins including:
** The prominent remains of the castle high on a rock above the town,
** The city walls,
** A large water tank cut into the rock,
** An extensive necropolis of rock-cut tombs with inscriptions.

Life and culture

The Turkmen community of Silifke has a strong tradition of folk music and dance including songs such as "The Yogurt of Silifke" (where the dancers imitate the actions of making yogurt) and another one where they wave wooden spoons about as they dance.

The cuisine includes breakfast of leaves of unleavened bread ("bazlama") with a dry sour cottage cheese (çökelek) or fried meats. Many other dishes feature bulgur wheat. The annual "Silifke Yoghurt Festival" takes place in May.

ee also

*Acacius of Caesarea
*Assyrian Church of the East
*Council of Rimini
*Eudoxius of Antioch
*Seleucid Empire


*Catholic|Seleucia Trachea

External links

* [ Silifke] tr icon
* [ Silifke] tr icon
* [ District governor's official website] tr icon
* [ District municipality's official website] tr icon
* [ Silifke Guide and Photo Album]
* [ Photo Albums]

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