Biblical Turkey Guide
Tarsus, the birthplace of Saint Paul, is located in the south of famous pass, Cilician Gates, which was used by Paul and many other famous figures in the history of Anatolia. Being on the major trade routes and having an important harbor, Tarsus attracted many merchants and trade ships. Tarsus richness and importance was due to its harbor and major roads going to north west and to the east. Taken over by the Romans 104 BC, Tarsus became the major city of Cilicia after the victory of Pompey the Great over Mihridates, the king of Pontus (64.BC).
Visited by Caesar, Cassius, Marc Antony, the city had some privileges and obtained the rights of a free city. Of course, the most important visitor the city was Marc Antony who came to Tarsus 42 BC after the Phillipi war. Antony summoned Cleopatra who came to Tarsus in sumptuous way. Her boat with purple colored sails and silver oars followed the Cydnus river and got into Tarsus harbor. Tarsus was located in a fertile area where linen and linen cloth production was essential. In addition to Cilicium, a course material made of goat hair, linen cloth was also major material for tent making, which was the main occupation of Paul. Barnabas came to Tarsus for Saul to encourage him to join in the ministry in Antioch.
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