Tarsus is a place hosting many people from different religions throughout history. Indeed, the historical and cultural heritage that both Mersin and Tarsus have, surprised me. On each side, it has a myriad of amazing works remained from both the Roman period and the Cilicia period.
One of the most important structures in Tarsus, town of Mersin, which comes to forefront with religious tourism is St. Paul Church. This place, which is an important center especially for Christians, attracts visitors from all over the world every period of the year.
It is thought that the church located on the south of Tarsus, in the Ulu Cami district, and dedicated to St. Paul, was built in the 11th and 12th centuries AD. The St. Paul Symposium and Ritual organized by the Vatican in 1992-93 is one of the reasons that have increased the importance of this place. So the St. Paul Monument Museum attracts attention of those who want to pilgrimage.
At the Paul Monument Museum, which was registered and protected by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 1994, restoration works started in 1997. The buildings around the church converted into a memorial museum with works completed in 2001, are also included in the scope of expropriation in order to serve tourism.
After the Emperor Constantinius officially recognized Christianity in the 4th century AD, the construction of the church was speeded up. In christian sphere, there are many churches made in the name of St. Paul, who struggles for the spread of religion.
Although Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul, one of the most important personalities of Christianity history, hosts a few of these churches, only one of the churches has reached the nowadays. Despite Saint Paul has traveled to Greece, Cyprus and Syria, among the places where he spread his teachings and spent most of his time were his birthplace Tarsus and Anatolian borders.
In Tarsus which is a very important settlement for the history of Christianity because of it is mentioned as Saul of Tarsus in Bible, there are many sacred places.
It is known that the church, which was emptied for a long time with the separation of Christians from Tarsus, was used for some purposes periodically with some additions.
The bell tower in the north-eastern side of the churche is still visible. The frescoes of Jesus, Yohannes, Mattios, Marcos and Lucas located on the center of the building ceiling are world famous. A landscape and angel portrayal on both sides of the window in the middle nave also hold the key for believers.
The fact that there is no another example of the church's marble, iconography and saint depictions with sacred ornamentations in the world is one of the factors that make it unique among belief centers.
In the church whose both north and south parts have a small door, symmetrical windows are used to provide interior lighting.
This magnificent building converted to a mosque by Ramazanoğlu Ahmet Bey in 1415, is a place which must be seen with its high and thich walls in Roman style, deep windows and thick columns.
Another sacred place dedicated to Saint Paul in Tarsus, St. Paul's Well is a place which is highly valued by christian sphere. Following extensive repair in 1862, the general architecture has convert its present state.
St. Paul Church which with an accurate promotional strategy thousands of people from all over the world can come, can also play a key role in the development of belief tourism in Turkey. The Church of St. Paul, which succeeds in attracting attention even though it was not introduced enough, is among the places to visit in Tarsus.