Introduction

Mersin was earmarked a half-century ago as the seaside outlet for Adana and its rich agricultural hinterland. Today it is the largest port in Turkey, and for the most part a sprawling, workaday place that most travellers don't explore. But Mersin, with an official new name of İçel (also the name of the province of which it is capital), does have some attractions, despite the neglect: museums and food are but two of them. If you scrunch up your eyes, some of the streets near the sea almost have a Marseilles feel to them, and there are definitely worse ways to while away an afternoon than a lazy seafood lunch on the excursion boats lining the harbour.