Ken Grubb

Things to Do While Living in Adana, Turkey

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If you're in or around Adana, might be at Incirlik Air Base which is about 10 or so kilometers east of there. Honestly I found Adana to be a bit bleak compared to other Turkish cities, but there are things to do.

Adana is a working, industrial city that doesn't particularly cater to tourists. There's a large lake (Seyhan Gölü) with a road going along the shore where there are a some very pleasant restaurants. Nice place to relax. There are also a few places around the lake where you can drive up and hang out on the "beach," or go for a swim.

There's also the M1 mall where you'll find modern conveniences, shopping, and restaurants. There are some good restaurants and night clubs in city center as well. The city has a few top-notch hotels including the Hilton.

The Mediterranean Sea is a mere 25 minutes away, Karataş being the closest beach town. It's a rather sleepy fishing village on the shore. Better beaches are to be found west of Adana, by taking the highway to Mersin and driving along the coastal road.

You're not far from Cappadocia, which is absolutely worth the visit! Allow three days for that, there are many wonders to see there!

Mersin reminded me of a more touristic city. It is definitely worth a visit for its seafood restaurants and the lovely promenade along the shore.

Tarsus, where the apostle Paul was born, is very close to Adana, and any tourist coming to Adana probably comes for that! Or perhaps the absolutely huge mosque there built by one of the richest families in Turkey, the Sabancı family. The patriarch of the family is from Adana, and he decided to build a mosque there. It rivals the Blue Mosque in Istanbul and you shouldn't miss it.

If you're going to Adana, I've lived there and would be happy to answer your questions.

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Any idea if it has a decent bead and jewellery shop? I can't understand the web sites since my Turkish is limited. I will ask my fella before he returns to get me some beads. Ah, how can I get a Turkish male to shop for beads? Watch me! I just can't find from searching a decent address or location that's not far from the city center or base areas. Random but you may know someone who also has some random hobby like me, that's making jewellery. If I do visit him there, whats worth doing in 2 days? I hear old mosques, some ancient bridge. Anything else?

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Didn't find Adana very exciting when I went but that was about 10 years ago, maybe it's changed a bit now.

There's a bit of information on this site:

Turkey Travels: Adana

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For the most part the title of this Forum is a true statement, but this can also be debatable. In my younger years, I would have probably drove through Adana and never would have thought twice about it. Since I am held captive here for a year I have learned to make the best of it. I see things a little different now that I am more mature and a little wiser.

A lot of the people that have seen my photos claim that they have never been to the locations that I have gone to when in fact they have, but they saw nothing that interested them therefore kept rolling.

What's funny is the people that claim to have never been to the places that I have taken these photos were actually with me while I was taking the picture. In a sense the saying "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is true. If you look closely enough you will see something that most people would skip and then look back and say "Wow!"

Just to let you guys/gals know, I am not a photographer nor did I study photography. I just love taking pictures and enjoy hearing others reactions to my photos. So here are a couple photos of Adana that I enjoy sharing:

The Sabancı Mosque at night. Taking this photo was a challenge for me especially trying to incorporate the moon on a cloudy night.

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Along the same road heading north I stopped to take this picture. All I know is there's a restaurant at the top of that water fall which I thought looked gorgeous.

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Now here is the same back ground just zoomed in more.

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Up close:

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Further down the road we (a couple of friends) eat at a restaurant that was near the shore line of this lake. I wish I knew the name of the lake, but I don't.

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In a car rental, I was brave enough to just cruise the streets and see what was available. The Ataturk Park really caught my eye which I knew I had to stop since I will never be able to find it again. So I did and came up with these pictures:

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I guess if you were going to compare Adana to Cappadocia, Alanya, etc., and all the other towns/cities which have a beach or historical claim, well then yes, there would be not much to see. However, if you stop and spend the time to appreciate whats here, you'll have a better appreciation of things.

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Thank you for those great pictures Islander. Yes, Adana has changed since I visited it. The mosque was there but I didn't see it at night which certainly is dramatic.

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Great Pictures Islander, Adana is not a bad place to be stuck for a year. I have been there many times and should be back by mid December of this year. I hope to stay at least a year or two this time. You are right though, it is the type of city that one can miss much of its beauty.

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These are great photos IslanderX. Some of these places I haven't seen, thanks for posting them, my experience with Adana was mostly in the more "bleak" areas of Adana, in the industrial areas. That's mostly what I saw, so thanks for enlightening all of us on the prettier parts.

I checked out your photo gallery as well, you're quite a photographer... very professional photos.

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Check the main navigation bar at the top and click "Photos." There's around 10,000 photos of various things in Turkey in a many albums. Feel free to share your own there as well, you can upload hundreds of images in the gallery, but there's a limit in the forum posts (10 photos) since that's what the gallery is for.

You can also link directly to any photo in the gallery since it supplies the code to copy and paste in your posts, or you can just link to your gallery. A nice feature I think.

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Adana looks like a beautiful city. My dad was born there, but unfortunately I've never visited during all my years in Turkey!

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I sometimes find that I have to take back my words when someone replies to my comments about a particular place, oh well, it generates conversation, and that's what forums are for! I spent far too much time in the local bars and hangouts on the alley and should have gotten out more like IslanderX!

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Ben, I so agree with you on this. I have been in the Adana/Incirlik area at least on for occasions for a total of at least three years. I also got stuck into one thing. For me it was playing a tambourine at the Seyhan hotel and even at times at paviyons. Funny how we just get caught up in one are and miss most of that city's beauty. I may one day post a picture of me doing just that.

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You're right, I think IslanderX has shown me how wrong I was about Adana. There is so much I could have seen in the area that I didn't see, always either on business only, or hanging out in the alley. I'm a good example of how NOT to do things! :)

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OK, I will be speaking here from a female perspective on living in Adana. To begin, if you enjoy the water you will love the lake. For the most part the only people that use that lake are the fishermen, "villager" picnickers and an occasional kayak group from Çukorova. Its a HUGE lake so you really feel like you have the entire place to yourself. It is so underutilized and there are some really gorgeous, private spots. I even found a baby hawk that was stranded in the water and was able to return him to be released a couple weeks later.

There is nature in Adana, you just have to get away from all the Turks that see it as something to throw stones at. The disadvantages are that the other side of the lake if QUICKLY being built up, no more little roadside fish restaurants, now everyone is trying to develop these sort of faux-elegance places, not my thing.

Like the rest of Turkey is is heartbreaking to see the litter that washes onshore, or was left at some of these lovely spots. I also found it difficult to find people who were interested in going out onto the lake, "that water pulls you down" (not salt water) so as a female, it is less fun kayaking alone. I know few Turk females who are interested in 1adventure1, which is a whole other topic.

While kayaking people were extremely nice to me, but I do not like to be a spectacle and there is no way a woman going out alone (or stranger yet, taking her dog) was going unnoticed. BUT it is a big bonus to living in Adana.

There is also now a paved road the entire stretch around the lake (although explore by car first to learn the route), a great (long-maybe 10 miles?) bike ride (again if you are a female riding draws too many stares, no fun) just be careful as it seems relatively safe (Turkish standards) now, but as the population increases, I anticipate this pleasure will be lost too. Even if you do not speak the language, there is a theatre that is excellent, it is in the area of the Archeology museum. It has a wide variety of productions, including international performances and is super cheap, something like 6 YTL. Even if you think theatre is not your thing, I highly recommend it.

There is also the symphony orchestra in Adana, not my thing, but popular with others. If you are into the arts, it's a mixed bag as there is really close to nothing to see gallery wise but what they do have seems well funded (meaning cheap for you). Yes, there is the M1, I have no idea why anyone finds this to be of any interest. Especially if you hate overpriced poor quality stuff, large chaotic crowds and over-indulged children.

Yearly there is also an international film festival, there were a number of films I wanted to see but unfortunately I missed last years as tickets sell out fast. There is the Blues Fest which I find super depressing. I enjoy the Blues, but something about attending such a concert at the Hilton seems so wrong. The American Consulate occasionally has lectures and artists, you have to get on their mailing list.

I have struggled to find places places with low key atmosphere, but do have a couple of favorites. Rooms Cafe is my favorite place in Adana, has great music, serves beer, there are a couple of dogs that live there, tasteful decor, unpretentious, really wonderful staff, outside garden with really comfy chairs and there is also a small room you can rent to have a mini film fest with friends. Its hard to find, runs parallel to Gaza Paşa, but worth finding!

The other bar (really its a bar where you can go as a female without being starred at like you are a bit loose) it is on Turk Ozel in the area of Metropol, called Muhabets (or something like that). They serve food (standard Turk, but good quality for bar food) has a full bar, often simple live music and very small and welcoming atmosphere. Its also inexpensive and my friends, Turk and American appreciate being introduced to these places. Living in Adana really is what you make of it to a large degree. For me, its cultural issues that have been difficult, especially being an independent, single, foreign female. I am on my way out of Turkey, but have no regrets about my two years here.

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Thanks Glovid for that interesting article. If I ever get there again I'll have to explore some of the places you mentioned.

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Well, I picked up my truck today, so this weekend I am going to go get lost in Adana. Not too lost I hope, but I do have the GPS so it should help me explore the city pretty well. I will try to take pictures as well so I can share them with everyone on here.

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Places to see in/near Adana:   Kizkalesi (Maiden Castle ) is a favorite for Europeans and Americans as well as for the Turks of course.  There also beaches in Yurmatalik, Karatas (With a remote USAF radar site you'll see on the main drag driving there).  You also have Erdemli, Mersin, Tasacu and Silifke for the other beaches.   You can also go to Snake castle which is just a 20 minute drive from Incirlik air base.  Adana lake (Biraj) is great too.  Tarsus is a biblical city that the Turks allowed the city to keep it's namesake name.   In Ephesis (Near Selcuk/Izmir they changed the name to "Efes" which is good enough for me...   Lot's of scuba diving in the Adana area if you get into that.   Just make sure you have permission to go to the dive sites.   A lot of times the areas are only open to restricted diving which means you can dive it once you get permission but usually when this happens you're escorted with Turkish authorities.   Good luck!

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