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Samandağ(in English)

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Samandağ
Location of Samandağ within Turkey.
Location of Samandağ within Turkey.
CountryFlag of Turkey Turkey
RegionMediterranean
ProvinceHatay
Elevation 72 m (236 ft)
Population
- Town 106,754
- Urban 36,641
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
- Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 31
Area code(s) (0)326
Licence plate 31

Samandağ, is a town in Hatay Province of southern Turkey, at the mouth of the Orontes River on the Mediterranean coast, near Turkey's border with Syria, 25 km (16 mi) from the city of Antakya.

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Etymology

Samandağ was formerly known as Samanda, Yukarı Alevışık, Levşiye and Suwaidiyyah (Süveydiye) and was officially named Samandağ in 1948.

History

Samandağ lies near the site of the ancient Seleucia Pieria, founded in 300 BC by Seleucus Nicator a general of Alexander the Great, in the Seleucid era that followed Alexander's demise. Seleucia Pieria quickly became a major Mediterranean port of the Hellenistic era, although being slightly inland and therefore safer from pirates, the nearby city of Antioch eventually eclipsed Seleucia. But the port remained and was later used during the Crusades. See Seleucia Pieria for more details of the city in antiquity.

Geography

Samandağ itself is a small town of 35,000 people, close to the city of Antakya. The local economy depends on fishing and agriculture, especially citrus fruits, and Samandağ has the air of a country market town, with young men buzzing through the streets on mopeds. Around the village of Çevlik (derived from Seleucia) there is a long sandy coastline popular with daytrippers from Antakya, although the sea can be stormy and the beach is full of waste. This is an important nesting area of the endangered sea turtles Caretta caretta.

Much of its population are Arabic speaking and adhere to the Alawite sect of Shia Islam, which has many teachings related to Christianity. There are also Christian Arab communities in the district and the village of Vakıflı is Turkey's last remaining rural Armenian community. Politically Samandağ is traditionally left-leaning.

Places of interest

  • The tunnel of Vespasian, in the village of Kapısuyu , built as a water channel in the 2nd century.
  • The tomb of the Muslim saint Hızır.

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Samandağ(in English)
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