Mersin is a large city spread along the Mediterranean coast, with large hotels, an opera house and many other modern urban amenities but not like the long-established nightlife and culture of İstanbul or İzmir. Turkey's second tallest skyscraper - the 52-floor Mertim Tower was the tallest skyscraper in Turkey for 13 years between 1987 and 2000, until the completion of the İş Bankası Towers in Istanbul.The Mediterranean seaside of Mersin is the longest in Turkey as well as in the Eastern Mediterranean. Mersin is a large city and a busy port on the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey. The metropolitan area in the entire Mersin Province had a population of over 850,000 in 2010, making it Turkey's tenth most populous city. Mersin is important for Turkey's economy and contains its largest port. Known as the Pearl of Mediterranean, Mersin will host the 2013 Mediterranean Games.
Atatürk visited Mersin ten times and stayed in Mersin five times. He said, 'Mersin is the most important trade area in Turkey between Turkey and The World'. The house Atatürk occupied is now Atatürk Museum and it is still used as a museum.
Mersin has a typical Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and cool and wet winters. Mersin has its highest rainfall in winter - mainly December and January. The driest months are summer with hardly any rainfall at all.
The Mersin Municipality is now trying to rescue the sea front with walkways, parks and statues, and there are still palm trees on the roadsides by the cafés and patisseries of smart neighbourhoods such as Pozcu or Çamlıbel. These are established neighbourhoods where there are many well-known shops and restaurants. The city center is a maze of narrow streets and arcades of little shops and cafes, with young people buzzing around on scooters. The old quarter near the fish market is where you will find the stalls selling tantuni and grilled liver sandwiches. One of the most distinctive features of the city as a whole is the solar heating panels which are everywhere on top of every building.
Turkey now plans to construct its first nuclear power plant some 80 miles west of Mersin. In March 2008, Turkey opened the bidding for the construction of the plant, but environmental groups such as Greenpeace vehemently oppose this plan.
Because the city has been a crossroads for centuries, the local culture is a mixture of civilizations. Mersin has a State Opera and Ballet which is the fourth largest in Turkey after Istanbul, İzmir and Ankara. Mersin International Music Festival was established in 2001 and takes place every October. The photography association Mersin Fotograf Derneği (MFD), is one of the most popular and active cultural organizations in the city. Some cultural activities are sponsored by the İçel Sanat Kulübü (Art club of Mersin) There is a great museum in the city center and the Roman Catholic Co-Cathedral of St. Anthony of Padua. The beaches at Kızkalesi, Ayaş, Susanoğlu lying about 50–70 kilometers to the west are popular with families while young people prefer Akyar, Yapraklıkoy, Narlıkuyu or quieter bays along the coast.