Adana is a major city in southern Turkey. The city is situated on the Seyhan river, 35 km (22 mi) inland from the Mediterranean Sea, in south-central Anatolia. It is the administrative seat of the Adana Province and has a population of 1.7 million, making it the fifth most populous city in Turkey. Adana-Mersin polycentric metropolitan area, with a population of 3 million, stretches over 70 km (43 mi) east-west and 25 km (16 mi) north-south; encompassing the cities of Mersin, Tarsus and Adana.
Adana lies in the heart of Çukurova, a geo-cultural region that covers the provinces of Mersin, Adana, Osmaniye, and Hatay. Home to six million people, Çukurova is one of the largest population concentrations in Turkey, as well as the most agriculturally productive area, owing to its large stretch of flat, fertile land.
Population: 1 700 273 (2016)
Currency: The Turkish lira (TRY) is the currency of Turkey.
Adana is located at the northeastern edge of the Mediterranean, where it serves as the gateway to the Çukurova plain, which has historically been known in the West as the Cilicia plain. This large stretch of flat, fertile land lies southeast of the Taurus Mountains.
From Adana, crossing the Çukurova westwards, the road from Tarsus enters the foothills of the Taurus Mountains. The temperature decreases with every foot of ascent, as the road reaches an altitude of nearly 4,000 feet (1,200 m). It goes through the famous Cilician 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 was constructed for hydroelectric power (HEP) and to irrigate the lower Çukurova plain. Two irrigation channels in the city flow to the plain, passing through the city center from east to west. There is another canal for irrigating the Yüreğir plain to the southeast of the city.
The 37th parallel north passes through the city.
Adana has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa) under both the Köppen classification, and a dry-hot summer subtropical climate (Csa) under the Trewartha classification. Winters are mild and wet and summers are long, hot and dry. The highest recorded temperature was on 8 July 1978 with 45.6 °C (114.1 °F). The lowest recorded temperature was −8.1 °C (17.4 °F).
Adana cuisine is influenced mainly from Yörük, Arabic and Armenian cuisine and the city has kept up its traditions. Spicy, sour and fatty dishes made of meat (usually lamb) and bulghur are common. Bulghur and flour are found in all Çukurova kitchens. In almost every home, red pepper, spices, tahini, a chopping block and pastry board can be found. The bulghur used in cooking is specific to Adana, made from dark colored hard wheat species with a preferred flavor.
Adana Kebab, called “Kebap” locally, is a kebab made from minced meat. Since it can be found at all kebab restaurants in Turkey and at most Turkish restaurants around the world, the Adana name still suggests kebab to many people. Adana Kebab is the most popular dining choice in Adana, although foods from other cultures are becoming increasingly popular. Besides many kebab restaurants, there are also many kebab serving vendors in the older streets of Adana.
Adana Kebab is usually served with onion salad, green salad or with well-chopped tomato salad. Rakı and Şalgam usually accompany it as drinks. There are many varieties of salads typical to the city. Radish salad with tahini is popular and it is found only in the Çukurova region. Şalgam and pickle juice are the drinks of the winter and aşlama (licorice juice) is the choice of drink in summer.
One of the famous sweets of Turkey called “Sweet Sausage” originated from Adana. It was invented by Sir Duran O. during the First World War, around 1915 Seker Sucugu.
Vegetable dishes are also popular in the city. Besides tomato paste, pepper paste is used in almost every dish. The city is also famous for its 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 jellied starch, rose water and sugar is served with crushed ice and consumed especially in summertime. 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.
Adana is a major health center to a wide region from Mediterranean to Southeastern Anatolia. There are four university hospitals, eight state hospitals and seven private hospitals in the city.
Hastaneler (Hospitals) area in the Seyhan district is home to hospitals lined up on both sides of the H. Ömer Sabancı Street. Numune General Hospital, Çukurova State Hospital, Hospital for Thoracic Diseases, Military Hospital and medical centers are healthcare facilities in this area.
Balcalı Hospital of the Çukurova University is a research hospital that was founded in 1987 after the Faculty of Medicine moved to the main campus. The hospital has 1050 inpatient beds in 47 service units, a 58-bed intensive care unit and 17-bed emergency unit. It is the largest hospital in Southern and Southeastern Anatolia and one of the major hospitals of Turkey.
A new health campus is expected to open in Yüreğir by 2014, which will include a 600-bed General Hospital, 200-bed Heart and Stroke Hospital, 250-bed maternity hospital, 100-bed oncology hospital, 150-bed Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Center, 100-bed Psychiatry Hospital. The campus will have a capacity of 1400 inpatients in total and will be connected to Hastaneler area of the Seyhan district through a bridge over the Seyhan river which will create one big campus.
Adana is on the major route that connects Europe to the Middle East. In the 16th century, Adana was a port city where ships could navigate on Seyhan River to the port just south of Taşköprü.
Şakirpaşa Airport lies just west of the old town. Together with the Central Bus Terminal and the Central Train Station, the three are the main locations for intercity transportation.
Şakirpaşa Airport, located within the city, is an international airport serving the Çukurova region. It is the sixth busiest airport in Turkey for passenger traffic, with 5.4 million passengers in 2015.There are international flights to major cities of Germany, to Beirut, Jeddah, Erbil and Nicosia (TRNC), frequent domestic flights to Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Antalya, Trabzon, Bodrum and Van.
Turkish State Railways (TCDD) runs five long distance lines that connect Adana to Ankara, Kayseri, Karaman, Konya and Elâzığ. All these lines are served at the Central Railway Station; some are also served at the other railway stations of the city—Şehitlik and Şakirpaşa stations at the west, Kiremithane, İncirlik and Yakapınar stations at the east. TCDD also runs three regional lines in Çukurova. Adana-Mersin Line runs as a commuter train with 27 train times daily. Train service from Adana to Osmaniye-Islahiye and to Iskenderun run once daily. Regional trains stop at all city stations.
Although they lost their popularity as private airlines introduced inexpensive flights to major cities, coaches are still the major form of transportation to and from Adana. Adana has two intercity coach terminals providing service to almost all the cities and towns in Turkey. Coach companies that serve transportation to cities west of Adana, depart from Central Coach Terminal, whereas the buses that serve cities east of Adana depart from Yüreğir Coach Terminal. A shuttle service is provided between the two terminals. Regional bus services from Adana to other places in Çukurova are plentiful and carried by bus and minibus co-operatives. Seasonal bus services to the high plains of Tekir, Bürücek and Kızıldağ run in summer, due to high demand of Adana residents escaping the heat of the city.
There is an extensive motorway network (O50-O59) in the region, connecting Adana to as far as Erdemli in the west, Niğde in the north, Şanlıurfa in the east and Iskenderun in the south. Traffic runs smoothly throughout the day; driving can take as little as 40 minutes to Mersin and two hours to Gaziantep.
Local transport in Adana is provided by Adana Transit Corporation (a division of the Metropolitan Municipality) and by dolmuş and bus co-operatives. Transit Corporation runs the metro and the municipal buses.
Adana Metro is a rail rapid transit system that extends 14 kilometres (9 miles) from the north-west to the city center and then to Yüreğir. The metro serves 13 stations and can transport 21,600 passengers per hour one-way, a complete journey taking 21 minutes. The second line of the metro will run from Akıncılar to Çukurova University in the Sarıçam District. It will be 9.5 kilometres (6 miles) long and will have seven stations. The project is contracted in January 2010 and the construction is expected to start after the funding is received from the Ministry of Transportation. Adana Metro will eventually extend to 23.5 kilometres (14.6 miles) and serve 20 stations.
Adana Transit Corporation serves the city with 229 buses, eight of them designed specifically for disabled users. Payment is collected by Kentkart Smartcard system. Six Bus Co-operatives (known as Can buses) serve the city with 411 buses. Kentkart and cash are accepted at these buses. 18 Dolmuş Co-operatives, with a total of 1,086 minibuses, provide service even to secondary streets. The only form of payment is by cash.
Cycling and walkability
The city of Adana is mostly flat and the warm weather makes it convenient for all year cycling and walking. The square shape of the city, city center’s location right at the center of the square and the river running straight north-south in the middle of the city create further advantage for cycling as a means of transportation. Compact urban form due to dominance of high-rise buildings that are closely built, especially in Seyhan and Çukurova districts, make cycling from any end of the city to the city center to take less than 40 minutes. Despite all the advantages, car-oriented urban planning since the 1950s caused cycling to take a minor part in commuting to work or school. There are no bike lanes, but there are two bike paths, one along Fuzuli Street, the other along M. Kemalpaşa Boulevard—the latter not used by cyclists at all. Bicycles for commuting are currently only used by residents of low-income neighborhoods. Bicycle use for transportation is low all over Turkey,but when compared to cities like İzmir, Konya and Eskişehir, Adana is less bicycle friendly.
Car-oriented urban planning became even more extreme since the 1980s, pedestrians seeing part of the sidewalks of the city’s popular streets being converted into car-parking spots. The rise in car ownership not only caused high traffic, but also led to drivers parking their cars on the sidewalks. The city currently has no car-free squares or streets other than a few narrow ones. There are plans to convert both ends of Taşköprü to squares and widen the sidewalks in the old town where it is difficult to walk at the peddler-invaded narrow sidewalks. By far the most pedestrian friendly street of the city is Turgut Özal Boulevard; Kenan Evren and other major streets in Çukurova district are also very convenient for walking.