Adana (the ancient Antioch in Cilicia or Antioch on the Sarus) is the capital of Adana Province in Turkey. The city administrates two districts, Seyhan and Yüreğir, with a total population of 1,530,257 and an area of 1,945 km². It is the fifth most populous city of Turkey (after Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir and Bursa).
Adana is named among the 25 European Regions of the Future for 2006/2007 by Foreign Direct Investment Magazine. Chosen alongside Kocaeli for Turkey, Adana scored the most points for cost effectiveness against Kocaeli's points for infrastructure development, while Adana and Kocaeli tied on points for the categories of human resources and quality of life.
One of the largest and most dynamic cities in Turkey and situated thirty kilometers (nineteen miles) inland, Adana is the gateway to the Cilician plain, now known as the Çukurova plain, the large stretch of flat and fertile land which lies to the south-east of the Taurus Mountains. This is possibly the most productive area in this part of the world.
From Adana, crossing the Çukurova going west, the road from Tarsus enters the foothills of the Taurus Mountains. The temperature decreases with every foot of ascent; the road reaches an altitude of nearly . It goes through the famous Cilician or Çukurova Gates, the rocky pass through which armies have coursed since the dawn of history, and continues to the Anatolian plain.
The north of the city is surrounded by the Seyhan reservoir and HEP, which was completed in 1956. The dam has constructed for hydroelectric power (HEP) and to provide irrigation water to the lower part of Çukurova plain, agricultural cultivating area located in the south part of the city. Two irrigation channels in the city flow to the plain passing through the city center from east to west. Also there is another canal for irrigating the Yüreğir plain to the southeast of the city.
The name of the city is believed to have come from a legend that Adanus and Sarus, two sons of Uranus, came to a place near the Seyhan River where they built Adana.
Alternatively, it is believed that Adad (Tesup), the name of the Hittite Thunder God that lived in the forest was given to the region. The Hittites ideas, names and writings have been found in the area so this is a strong possibility. The theory goes that since the Thunder God brought so much rain and this rain in turn brought such great abundance in this particular region, this god was loved and respected by its inhabitants and, in his honor, the region was called the 'Uru Adaniyya'; in other words 'The Region of Ada'.
Adana's name has had many different versions over the centuries: Adanos, Ta Adana, Uru Adaniya, Erdene, Edene, Ezene, Batana, Atana, Azana, Addane.
According to the Hittite inscription of Kava, found in Hattusa (Boğazkale), Kizzuwatna was the first kingdom that ruled Adana, under the protection of the Hittites by 1335 BC. In that time, the name of the city was Uru Adaniyya, and the inhabitants were called Danuna.
Beginning with the collapse of the Hittite Empire, c. 1191-1189 BC, invasions from the west caused a number of small kingdoms to take control of the plain, as follows: Kue Assyrians, 9th century BC; Cilician Kingdom, Persians, 6th century BC; Alexander the Great in 333 BC; Seleucids; and the pirates of Cilicia and Roman statesman Pompey the Great.
During the era of Pompey, the city was used as a prison for the pirates of Cilicia. For several centuries thereafter, it was a waystation on a Roman military road leading to the East. After the split of the Roman Empire, the area became part of the Byzantine Empire, and was probably developed during the time of Julian. With the building of large bridges, roads, government buildings, and irrigation and plantation, Adana and Cilicia became the most developed and important trade centers of the region.
The Byzantines recaptured Adana in 964. After the victory of Alp Arslan at the Battle of Manzikert, the Seljuk Turks overran much of the Byzantine Empire. They had reached and captured Adana sometime before 1071 and continued to hold the place until Tancred, a leader of the First Crusade, captured the city in 1097.
In 1132, it was captured by the forces of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, under its king, Leo I. It was taken by Byzantine forces in 1137, but the Armenians regained it around 1170. In 1268 there was a terrible earthquake which destroyed much of the city. Adana was rebuilt and remained a part of the Kingdom of Cilician Armenia until around 1360, when the city was ceded by Constantine III to the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt in return for obtaining a peace treaty. The Mamluks' capture of the city allowed many Turkish families to settle in it. The Ramazanoğlu family, one of the Turkish families brought by the Mamluks, ruled Adana until the Ottomans captured the city.
In the 1830s, in order to secure Egypt's independence for the Ottoman Empire, the army of Muhammad Ali Pasha, the viceroy of Egypt, invaded Syria on two occasions, and reached the Adana plain. The subsequent peace treaty secured Egypt's independence, but (at the insistence of Great Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia) required the evacuation of all Egyptian forces from Syria, and its return to Ottoman sovereignty. In the aftermath, Adana was established as a province in its own right.
In 1909 Adana was the location of the Adana massacre. Turkish scholars and some others refer to the event as the Adana rebellion, based on a thesis of its underlying causes.
After World War I, the Ottoman government surrendered control of the city to French troops, and an Armenian troop equipped by French was sent to occupy the city. During the Turkish War of Independence, Adana was strategically important. Mustafa Kemal came to the city on October 31, 1918, and stayed there for eleven days. As a result, he decided to fight against the Allies, and the idea of Kuvayi Milliye was born.
Turkish nationalists fought against Allied forces, and on October 20, 1921, the Treaty of Ankara was signed between France and the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Based on the terms of the agreement, France signified the end of the Cilicia War; afterwards French invasion troops together with the Armenian volunteers withdrew from the city on January 5, 1922.
On 30 January 1943, Adana played host to Winston Churchill, determined to secure Turkey's entry into the Second World War on the side of the Allies, for a conference with the President İsmet İnönü (Adana Conference). The Turkish neutrality and İnönü's policy based on rationing concessions to both sides meant that the conference remained without substantial results.
The city of Adana today is administered by three district council authorities: Seyhan, Yüreğir, and Karaisalı. Seyhan is the more developed part of the city on the west bank of Seyhan river, Yüreğir is located on the east bank. Karaisalı is best-known for growing myrtleberries (myrtus communis).
The city is also famous for its cuisine, including; the Adana kebab; şalgam, a salty fermented juice made from turnips; Şırdan a kind of home-made sausage stuffed with rice, and eaten with cumin; paça, boiled sheep's feet; bicibici (pronounced as bee-jee-bee-jee) made from diced semolina, rose water and sugar and served with crushed ice, consumed especially in summer time. Furthermore, the city has a number of famous desserts, such as Halka Tatlı a round shaped dessert and Taş Kadayıf a bow shaped dessert. Several types of fruit, including the apricot, are native to this area.
NATO's Incirlik Air Base is located in town of İncirlik, east of Adana. Shopping in Adana is enhanced the 'American bazaar' a street market selling new and second-hand goods that have seeped out of the Incirlik Air-base.