Thursday, 9 May 2019

Adana: much more than a kebab


From Konya it was onward to Adana. Adana is a nice sized city of 1.75 million persons located 35 kilometers inland from the Mediterranean coast. The Seyhan River flows through the city.

It's not difficult to reach Adana. Intercity public buses ply regularly to Adana from Konya. There is also a Turkish Railways (TCDD) train – the Toros Express – which travels between the two cities daily in a six hour rail journey.

Photo: Imran Ahmed
As I always find train travel more comfortable than buses choosing the Toros Express was a no-brainer - despite knowing TCDD's old fashioned diesel electric locomotive trains are not fanous for their punctuality (arriving two hours late may be considered 'on time!').

A Turkish Railways diesel electric locomotive stands at the head
of the Toros Express train at Konya station (Photo: Imran Ahmed)
The Toros Express train reached Adana after dark and we took a taxi to the hotel. Sitting in the taxi observing the city on the drive to the hotel I felt a sense of panic and dread. The hotel seemed in the middle of nowhere surrounded only by commercial warehouses! After check-in all I could see from our hotel window were a few trees and total darkness!

Things are always clearer when the sun ishines, i.e. during daylight. So it was with Adana. It turned out the empty space across the hotel was a park and beyond the park flowed the Seyhan River. In other words, the hotel's location was perfect!

Adana was a great place to rest and destress. Sure, there are several sights worth exploring, such as the grand Sabanci Merkez Cami or Sabanci Central Mosque but at its heart, Adana is for rest and recreation not for visiting six different attractions daily over a weekend.

The Sabanci Merkezi Cami (Photo: Imran Ahmed)
Nonetheless, it's hard to miss the Sabanci Mosque – nor should one miss it. The mosque is built on the banks of the Seyhan River and it is huge! It can accommodate 28,500 faithful for prayers, has six minarets with the tallest being 99 meters. Those numbers may not mean much to many but trust me the mosque is large. In fact, at the time of writing it is the largest mosque in Turkey (though soon to be surpassed by the official opening of a new mosque in Istanbul).

The banks of the Seyhan River (Photo: Imran Ahmed)
Though there are sights other than the mosque, the recommended plan for Adana is walk around the bazaar, eat some Adana kebab and, most importantly, stroll along the promenade by the Seyhan River – past the Sabanci Merkez Mosque – stop for a Turkish cay (tea) and simply soak in the environment. In today's information filled, wired society the soothing sounds of Turkey's longest river flowing toward the Mediterranean Sea is enough to add Adana to any Turkey travel itinerary.


Imran is a Singapore based Tour Guide with a special interest in arts and history. Imran has lived and worked in several countries during his career as an international banker. He enjoys traveling, especially by train, as a way to feed his curiosity about the world and nurture his interest in photography. Presently, Imran is spending ten weeks (March – May 2019) in Turkey exploring the country. He is available on twitter (@grandmoofti); Instagram(@imranahmedsg) and can be contacted at imran.ahmed.sg@gmail.com.

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