hidden europe 16


by hidden europe


We stop off at an unusual Turkish port, a place where Melkites and Maronites once lived alongside Jews, Chaldeans and Anglicans. It is as cosmopolitan as ever today.

Ancient trading ports, places with harbours that have been sidelined by history, are wonderful spots to wander for a day or two. Iskenderun is just such a port. Set in that little corner of Turkey that nudges down between northern Syria and the Mediterranean, Iskenderun, formerly known as Alexandretta, was for centuries a linchpin of Levantine trade. Ships came from near and far, their crews always a little fearful as to what diseases might befall them - for the malaria ridden marshes around the port had what the Victorian novelist William Ainsworth referred to as "a melancholic celebrity".

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