"A gift for Cleopatra"

The road from Mersin to Silifke closely follows the coast, passing by pine forests and orange groves. On one side lie the ruins of cities, basilicas and tombs, on the other a series of small secluded coves with sandy beaches. 13 km west of Mersin, a row of Corinthian columns that once lined the main street, remain at Viransehir (ancient Pompeiopolis), founded in 700 B.C. by Rhodians. At Kanlidivane are the ruins of ancient Kanytelis, with tombs resembling small temples, churches and sarcophagi dating from Roman and Byzantine times. The city itself and the ruins are all on the sides of a deep chasm.

Kizkalesi, a holiday resort and the ancient site of Korykos, has fine sandy beaches, motels and camp sites. The Castle of Korykos on shore faces another fort, Kizkalesi (Maiden's Castle), that stands on a tiny island 200 meters offshore. Formerly a sea wall joined the two fortresses.

Just beyond Kizkalesi, on a bay lined with fish restaurants at the little fishing village of Narlikuyu ,is a Roman mosaic depicting the Three Graces. Farther on are the deep chasms known as Cennet-Cehennem (Heaven and Hell). In the Vale of Heaven are the ruins of a fifth-century chapel. Nearby in the deep Narlikuyu Cave, full of stalagmites and stalactites, the humid air is believed to aid sufferers of respiratory diseases. The Mausoleum of the Fearless King (Mezgit Kalesi) is 12 km north of Susanoglu Beach and 2.5 km east of Pasli Village. The mausoleum facade is 8 metres high, with Corinthian columns and a 1 metre-high relief of Priapos on the base. It is the largest mausoleum and dates from Roman times.

Located slightly inland, Silifke (90 km from Mersin) spreads out at the foot of a hill. Crowned with a citadel this piece of high ground was formerly the acropolis of ancient Cilician Seleucia. In the town a Roman bridge crosses the ancient Calycadnos River, today called the Goksu. Ataturk once stayed in a local turn-of-thecentury house that has now been converted into the Ethnographical Museum. The Silifke Archaeological Museum, on the way to Tasucu, is filled with relies from all over the area. In Demircili ( the ancient Imbriogon), north of Silifke on the way to Uzuncaburc, there are well-preserved monumental tombs of the early Roman period.

The drive up the mountain road to the magnificent ancient site of Diocaesarea, Uzuncaburc, at 1200 meters, is lined with large tombs. The remains of the impressive Temple of Zeus Olbius, theTemple of Tyche, a monumental arch, theater, Byzantine church, and tower are outstanding. Four kilometers to the east, the ruins of Olba (Ura) - the Roman aqueducts, theater, and fountain -- make a quick tour well worthwhile.

Continuing along the coast road south from Silifke you come to Meryemlik (Ayatekla), a Roman necropolis with the tomb and church of St. Thecla, the first female martyr.

Tasucu, 18 km from Guney Dogu, with good accommodation for tourists, is a resort town with sandy beaches and a harbor. A regular sea bus and ferry boat service connects the town with Girne in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Ovacik, 44 km west of Tasucu, is a quiet spot wellknown for its fisherman's wharf and beach. The Reninsula (ancient Cavaliere) of Ovacik is one of the natural highlights of Turkey, an area ideal for diving. If this sport interests you, visit Kosrelik Bay and Kosrelik Island, Off the coast of Kosrelik Bay, you will find Roman ruins and beautiful mosaics in Afrodisias, 18 km southeast of Ovacik. Aydincik, to the west of Ovacik, clearly marks the surrounding sailing waters ensuring safety for the yachts that ply this breathtaking stretch of coast. The shore road that clings to the pine-clad mountain slopes, which plunge steeply down to the sea, offers spectacular views of cliffs, coves and the brilliant turquoise waters of the Mediterranean.

Another 36 km to the west of Aydincik, Bozyazi is a holiday center with clean and roomy camping sites along its wide beaches.

The fine, well-preserved Anamur Castle, set between two curving sandy beaches, commands a splendid view of the coastline. Originally built by the Crusaders in the Middle Ages, it later served as an Ottoman stronghold.

138 km from Silifke and a few km inland, the town of Anamur, is nestled in the mountains with banana plantations surrounding it. Just west of town on a beautiful beach are the ruins of the ancient Anamorium with double ramparts, a theater, odeon, bath and necropolis.