Summary Information About Hatay

Hatay Province is the southernmost province of Turkey. It is situated almost entirely outside Anatolia, along the eastern coast of the Levantine Sea. The province borders Syria to its south and east, and the Turkish provinces of Adana and Osmaniye to its north. It is part of Çukurova, a large fertile plain along the cultural region of Cilicia, and its administrative capital is Antakya.


Sovereignty over the province remains disputed with neighbouring Syria, which claims that the province had an demographic Arab majority, and was separated from itself against the stipulations of the French Mandate of Syria in the years following Syria’s occupation by France after World War I. Although the two countries have remained generally peaceful in their dispute over the territory, Syria has never formally renounced its claims to it.


Until annexation, Turkish and Arabic were both spoken, after Atatürk’s Reforms, however, the use of Arabic began to decline. Less than a generation ago, a child of an Arabic-speaking family would start school unable to speak Turkish; these days, most children of Arabic families start school unable to speak much, if any, Arabic.




5403,00 km 2










History of Hatay

Settled since the early Bronze Age, Hatay was once part of the Akkadian Empire, then of the Amorite Kingdom of Yamhad. Later, it became part of the Kingdom of Mitanni, then the area was ruled by a succession of Hittites and Neo-Hittite peoples that later gave the modern province of Hatay its name.


The area was conquered by the Rashidun Caliphate in 638 and later it came under the control of the Umayyad and Abbasid Arab dynasties. From the 11th century onwards, the region was controlled by the Aleppo-based Hamdanids after a brief rule of Ikhshidids. In 969 the city of Antioch was recaptured by the Byzantine Empire.

It was captured by Suleiman I, who was Sultan of Rum (ruler of Anatolian Seljuks), in 1084. It passed to Tutush I, Sultan of Aleppo (ruler of Syria Seljuks), in 1086. Seljuk rule lasted 14 years until Hatay’s capture by the Crusaders in 1098.

At the same time, much of Hatay was part of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, who subsequently allied with the Mongols and took control of the Principality of Antioch in 1254. Hatay was captured from the Mongol-Armenian alliance by the Mameluks in 1268, who subsequently lost it to Timur (Tamerlane) at the start of the 15th century.


By the time it was taken from the Mameluks by the Ottoman Sultan Selim I in 1516, Antakya was a medium-sized town on 2 km² of land between the Orontes River and Mount Habib Neccar. Under the Ottomans the area was known as the sanjak (or governorate) of Alexandretta. Many believe that Alexandretta had traditionally been a part of Syria. Maps as far back as 1764 confirm this.


After World War I and the Turkish War of Independence, the Ottoman Empire was disbanded and the modern Republic of Turkey was created, and Alexandretta was not part of the new republic, it was put within the French mandate of Syria after a signed agreement between the Allies and Turkey, the Treaty of Sèvres, which was neither ratified by the Ottoman parliament nor by the Turkish National Movement in Ankara. Despite this, a Turkish community remained in Alexandretta, and Mustafa Kemal said that Hatay had been a Turkish homeland for 4,000 years. This was due to the contested nationalist pseudoscientific Sun Language Theory prevalent in the 1930s in Turkey, which presumed that some ancient peoples of Anatolia and the Middle East such as the Sumerians and Hittites, hence the name Hatay, were related to the Turks.


Hatay State, also known informally as the Republic of Hatay, was a transitional political entity that existed from September 7, 1938, to June 29, 1939, in the territory of the Sanjak of Alexandretta of the French Mandate of Syria. The state was transformed de jure into the Hatay Province of Turkey on July 7, 1939, de facto joining the country on July 23, 1939.

On 29 June 1939, following a referendum, Hatay became a Turkish province.

Districts of Hatay

  • Altınözü
  • Antakya
  • Arsuz
  • Belen
  • Defne
  • Dörtyol
  • Erzin
  • Hassa
  • İskenderun
  • Kırıkhan
  • Kumlu
  • Payas
  • Reyhanlı
  • Samandağ
  • Yayladağı

Point of Interests in Hatay

  • World’s second-largest collection of Roman mosaics in the Hatay Archaeology Museum at Antakya.
  • Habib-i Najjar Mosque where two saints are buried and visited by Muslims.
  • Rock-carved Church of St Peter in Antakya, a site of Christian pilgrimage.
  • Gündüz cinema, once parliament building of the Republic of Hatay.
  • Titus Tunnel of Vespasian, in Samandağı, built as a water channel in the 2nd century.
  • Castles: Koz Castle, Bakras Castle, Payas Castle, Mancınık Castle, Cin Castle, Darbısak Castle
  • Hatay is featured in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where it was portrayed as the final resting place of the Holy Grail in the fictitious “Canyon of the Crescent Moon” outside of Alexandretta.


  • Hatay is warm enough to grow tropical crops such as sweet potato and sugar cane, and these are used in the local cuisine, along with other local specialities including a type of cucumber/squash called kitte. Well-known dishes of Hatay are its local variety of a widespread syrup-rich shredded pastry künefe (kanafeh), squash cooked in onions and tomato paste (sıhılmahsi), aubergine and tahini paste (Baba ghanoush), chickpea and tahini paste hummus and dishes such as kebab found throughout Turkey. Particular spice mixes and herb mixes are popular.
  • Animal products include spicy köfte (across western Asia and beyond, kofta): “oruk”; and spicy sun-dried cheese, surke.
  • Syrup of pomegranate (nar ekşisi) is Hatay’s hallmark salad dressing.


Let's see the cuisine of Hatay

  • Kombe
  • Katikli ekmek
  • Antakya kunefesi
  • Sac orugu
  • Humus
  • Abugannuc
  • Cevizli biber
  • Kabak tatlisi

For more information about Hatay



For more information, you may visit the official government website of HATAY


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