Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul the Apostle, is now a mostly modern industrial and commercial city on Turkey's eastern Mediterranean coast just west of Adana and east of Mersin. It is part of the Adana-Mersin Metropolitan Area, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Turkey with a population of over 3 million people. The Tarsus District forms an administrative district in the eastern part of the Mersin Province and lies in the core of Çukurova region. With a rich history dating back over 6,000 years, Tarsus has long been an important stop for traders and an important place to many civilisations. During the Roman Empire, Tarsus was capital of the province of Cilicia, the scene of the first meeting between Mark Antony and Cleopatra.
It has a historic city center that holds several places of interest:
Kilise Cami, or Baytimur Camii in the city center was built as a church about 300 AD. After a thousand years as a church, it was converted to a Mosque in 1415 when the city was conquered from the Byzantines by the Turks. The Roman-era Cleopatra's Gate is a monumental remnant of the ancient city's defensive walls. St. Paul Kuyusu (English: St. Paul's Well), this old stone well being the main reason many travelers stop in Tarsus as well as a few streets of historic houses near St. Paul's Well. They offer a glimpse at what the town may have looked like for much of its history during the last millennium.
The Tarsus Museum is housed in a 16th century medrese (theological seminary). The Roman Causeway or Ancient Road (Turkish: Antik Yol), a small but well preserved piece of a roman road. The Roman Bath ruins (Turkish: Roma Hamami), with a remarkable wall and the Makam Mosque (Turkish: Makam Camii) and the Grand Mosque (Turkish: Ulu Camii) with its 19th century Clock Tower (Turkish: Saat Kulesi) as well as the Bazaar (Turkish: Kirkkasik Bazaar) next door to the Grand Mosque
Getting to Tarsus is easy as it lies between Mersin and Adana which have good highways, frequent buses, minibuses and trains.
Fairly modern and very frequent trains from Adana and Mersin. The trunk line bypasses the city about a few kilometers to the east. Yenice is the nearest trunk line station and has daily connections to main centres of the country such as Istanbul and Ankara. Agriculture is an important source of income with half the land area in the district being farmland (1,050 km²) and most of the remainder being forest and orchards. The farmland is mostly well-irrigated, fertilised and managed with the latest in techniques and equipment. Karabucak Forest is a popular picnic area only a few kilometers south of the city center.