FROM SELEUCIA TO SÜVEYDİYE
Seleucia had an important situation because of its strategic location. It has kept its characteristic of being the important harbour of Antakya for centuries. Although Seleucia was founded by Macedonian people, the people believed in Eastern Believes. After the earthquake in 526, it was damaged too much and because of the Persian and Arabic attacks; it completely disappeared from history. In time, there was a decrease in sea commerce and the commerce of Syria and Byzantium was made with caravans on the road going through Small Asia (Anatolia)
Only the names of the settlements around Seleucia during St. Simon Age are known. Before the invasion of the Arabs, it was called as Seleucia Region for the last time. The Arabs didn't forget the name "Seleucia" and they continued to call it as "SALUKİYA".
Although the name "Seleucia" was too much dealt later, the topic was not Seleucia Pieria, but St. Simon. In time, people started to call "Seleucia" as "Süveydiye".
The commander of Anatolian Seljuks, Kutalmışoğlu Süleyman Bey, captured Antiochia on 12th of December in 1084, which was under the rule of Byzantium. But in the struggle made with Dımışk (Şam) King Tutuş, who was the brother of the great ruler of the Seljuk Emperor, Sultan Melikşah, for dominating the region. Süleyman Bey was defeated and died in Halep.
After the bloody tragedies, Sultan Melikşah came to Antakya for restoring the order of the region throughout the end of December of 1086, and then he went to Süveydiye and reached the Mediterranean coast there. He watched the sea wilfully and enthusiastically, then he ran his horse towards the sea and plunged his sword into the sea three times, He prayed for God, took some sand from the coast and returned. He would then visit the grave of his father, Alpaslan, and would spread this sand on his grave.
Antakya was very important for the Christians. The Crusaders, who came together to take the dominion the city from the Muslims, blockaded the city on 21st October, 1097 when Syria Seljuks had many confusions. The Crusades captured the city on 3rd of June, 1098 although there was a big resistance. The Muslims could not succeeded after this period. Although Selahaddin Eyyubi blockaded the city and prevented the relations of the city with the outer world, he couldn't manage to capture the city. Meanwhile, Antiochia managed to stand still by providing the sea transportation by the help of El-Mina Harbour.
The Memeluke Sultan Baybars captured the city in 1268 and damaged Seleucia Harbour.
The Ottomans took the domination of the Hatay and its surroundings in 1517. Yavuz Sultan Selim captured the city in 1517 when he went to attack Egypt. The only Ottoman Emperor who came to Antakya during Ottoman Age was Kanuni Sultan Süleyman.
PİRİ REİS WAS IN SÜVEYDİYE
Süveydiye Harbour, Payas, and İskenderun Harbours were in use in Ottoman Period.
At the beginning of the 18th Century, in Piri Reis's book "Kitabı Bahriye", he mentioned Süveydiye as belove:
"Süveydiye Gulf was a gulf opposite the sunset. Many strong bleezes blow from the sunrise towards this gulf. Inner parts of this gulf is shallow. Asi River flows from these shallow places and pour into the sea. The sandals swim on this river. There is a small island 1 miles away from the river. This small island is a good harbour. They combine palamalar to small island and they throw iron to water of 10 fathoms. "Hızır Cape" is 20 miles away from this small island in the direction of sunset, northwest wind. The Hızır Cape is a huge cape. There is a stone at the top of the cape. İskenderun is 20 miles away from Hızır Cape in the direction of sunrise and north-east wind."
Since Antakya was located on the road combining the north and the south of the empire, the pashas and the governors who went to Syria or Arabia from or to Anatolia were met and entertained. They took rent called as "Kudumiye" and some other gifts from these guests. The soldiers and other soldiers also rested here and the convoys changed their horses in the halting places. Also during the war times, soldiers gathered in this city. The city was the centre of storing and transportation of food.
The goods of Antakya were generally coming to Süveydiye Harbour (or İskenderun) and the exported goods were sent from here. Sometimes weed was sent to İstanbul both from İskenderun and Süveydiye.
THE LAST ERAS OF OTTOMAN EMPIRE, THE EVENT OF MUSA MOUNTAIN
There were 22 villages of Süveydiye, which was a country of Antakya, at the beginning of the 20th Century. Seven of them were Armenian Villages. Kebusiye (Kapısuyu), Vakıf (Vakıflı), Hıdırbey, Yoğunoluk, Hacı Habipli (Eriklikuyu), Bitias (Batıyaz=Teknepınar), and Azir (it is a district of Vakıflı today)
The First World War started in 1914. The Community of Union and Progress was ruling the state in Ottoman Empire. Sultan Reşat seemed to ascend the throne, but in reality Enver Pasha was ruling the country. Enver Pasha was a supporter of Germans. The Ottoman Empire couldn't be successful in science and technology and became the tool of foreign capital. Even the army was ruled by foreign commanders. Imperialist states were trying to get rid of Ottoman Empire. But at first, they had to set the groups who lived and fought together in Balkans and Middle Asia before, at loggerheads so that the Ottoman Empire would be weaker. And then, they started to provoke and impel people living in the country. In 1915, a new law would cause some tragedies in the country. Some of these tragedies in Anatolia were used on behalf of the Imperialistic Countries and these events spread too much. The different ethnic groups who had lived together for centuries were set at loggerheads. At last "Deportation Law" was accepted for Armenians living in the East and SouthEast Anatolia. The ones living in Süveydiye were also included in this law.
İskenderun, Beylan, Cisrussuğur, Antakya countries and their villages in Halep were among the places which would be emptied except for the countries of the centre. The Armenian people would first be sent to Halep, then to other places which would later be determined. During the deportation of the Armenian people from Klikya, East and SouthEast Anatolia, there were some tragedies. When it was the turn of the Armenian People of Süveydiye, there was an unplanned rebellion. At those times, there were about 6000 Armenian People living in seven villages. 5000 of them went to the mountains with their food, guns and flocks to protect themselves. There were bloody struggles between them and Ottoman soldiers at the beginning of August who were sent there to defeat Armenians. The rebellion lasted about 40 days. Meanwhile, the Armenian people managed to communicate with the English and the French Navies. When they suffered from food shortage, the Armenians were transferred to Port-Said Harbour of Egypt by the English and the French ships. In the middle of September, Musa Mountain was completely empty.
A few years later, the changes in the political life of the world would provide the Armenians to return to their own lands.
The Ottoman Empire, who was defeated in the First World War, had to accept the hard conditions of Mondros Treaty (30th of October, 1918). One week after Mondros Treaty, an English Detachment came to Antakya for 5-6 days to capture the city. The Englishmen then made an agreement with Frenchmen in which the petrol areas would be in Mussel and Kerkük region. The Frenchmen then landed their troops to İskenderun on 12th of November, 1918. A French Battalion came to İskenderun on the 7th of December, 1918 and captured Antakya. The French Army took the domination on 30th of December.
After the Frenchmen settled in Hatay, Syria and Lebanon, they divided these regions into five parts: Lebanon Republic, Syria Government, Lazkiye Alaouite Government, Cebelbürus Government and Independent İskenderun County Government. These governments were like tools under the mandate of French Government. The currency of Lebanon Government was the same, the other currencies were determined as Syria Currency and Alaouite Government had its own coins. But all of these governments were under the rule of French Head Commissioner. They could not do anything without the permission of this commissioner. The customs and the pictures of these regions were gathered by a French Organisation called as "Masalihi Müştereke" in Beirut and the incomes of the customers were shared according to the populations of these governments.
VAKIFLI VILLAGE, THE RETURN OF THE ARMENIAN PEOPLE AND THEIR IMMIGRATION
The Armenians, who were taken to Part-Said Harbour of Egypt and who started to live there after the events in 1915, settled there throughout The First World War. At the end of the war, the Ottoman Empire was supposed to be defeated and with the Mondros Treaty, Hatay was attacked by Fine French Army. Five weeks after the treaty, the French Army took the domination of the city and transferred the Armenians to their own villages whom they took to Part-Said before with the English Navy. As a result of Ankara Agreement" signed in 1921, the boundary in Payas was accepted and the region was completely left to French dominion. In 1938 summer, an election was made in front of the representatives of people and as a result of this election, "Independent Hatay Republic" was founded and five Armenian Deputies were elected for the assembly.
The elections made after a treaty made with Frenchmen on 23rd of June, 1939, Hatay was involved in Turkish lands and most of the Armenian People, who supported Syria and Lebanon in these elections, came to Vakıflı and settled there.
YALNIZKÖY, THE HISTORY OF VAKIFLI
Today, Vakıflı Village is an Armenian Village in the boundaries of Turkish Republic in Samandağ county of Hatay. Its lands had been used as a farm of Yoğunoluk Village before the era of II.Mahmut (1808-1839), II.Mahmut gave one tenth of the lands of the village to a Christian Arab called Muhail. The village then separated from Yoğunoluk Village and was called as "Vakıflı" . The people of Vakıflı, who did not want to fight in The First World War, left their village and went to the mountains. They went to Part-Said by French and English ships, lived in a camp till 1918, and then during the years of treaty, they again came back to their villages.
Vakıflı Village was under the rule of France for 20 years, between 1918 and 1938, they were involved in Hatay Government and in 23rd of June, 1939, they were involved in the lands of Turkish Republic. Most of the Armenians, who voted for Lebanon and Syria in the election in 1938, immigrated and some families moved to Vakıflı and settled there.
The National Estate Office took the private goods of the ones who left the village. A research made in 1964 showed that The National Estate Office had 150 denim of land in Vakıflı Village.
Although the villagers owned some of the lands in time, where they had given ten-percent commission to work on, 1508 dönüm of land was taken by the Office of Pious Foundations in 1943. An officer of the Office of Pious Foundations living in this village organised the process of the works on lands.
Since the land was unavailable for agriculture, and since there was small amount of land which was available for agriculture belonged to the Office of Pious Foundations, most of the families immigrated from the village in several times. The population of the village became 250-260 from 1945 to 1960. The population of the village was estimated to be 320 in 1964 in a county made by İstanbul Technical University Faculty of Architecture Structural Research Institution. In a county made in 1997 showed that the population of the village decreased to 129. A few Turkmen family was included in this number, so it can be supposed that the number of Armenians living in Vakıflı was about 120. One of the reasons of the decrease in the population is the moving of some Armenian families to some districts of Samandağ.
According to some unwritten sources, the Meryem Ana Church, which was built in 1890 by the helps of the villagers, was reconstructed in 1997 as to have the characteristics of both modern architecture and aesthetical beauty. The people can freely worship according to the Orthodox belief.
The villagers are generally involved in the production of citrus fruits and they have citrus fruits in 12 months of the year from the trees of terraces constructed by their ancestors. This region is especially famous for its Valencia orange called as "May" which is very popular and which is sold at greengrocers and markets throughout the summer. It is mentioned that the people who immigrated from the village are very regretful and they miss their villages.
Armenians of Vakıflı, who have good relationships with other villages and districts, give too much importance to education. The literate ones either immigrate to big cities or work in Europe or America. But no matter where they are, they visit their village every year and prefer to celebrate their festivals in their villages. Today, the people of Vakıflı Village are taken as examples by everyone for their diligence.
THE FOUNDATION OF HATAY REPUBLIC
The domination of France lasted 20 years. After 20 years, there was an apparent softening in the relations of France and Turkey. The reason of this was the increasing threat of Hitler's Germany on Europe. This threat was going hand in hand with the gun power and it forced the other countries of Europe to unite and prevent the spread of Nazis. Turkey's location in Balkans and Middle East had a big importance in protecting this region. Both France and England, (England was like an embassy of piece in the meetings), softened their behaviours since they realised that it was useless to have bad relations with Turkey in the international sense. They also saw that these bad relations would make the south west of Europe an open city. The Turkish Government was also evaluating the development in this foreign policy and was forcing France, which had the tendency of making treaty, to pay too much. The changing conditions put the relationships of French and Turkey on a very stable base in 1937. Hatay Treaty, signed in 1937, had a temporal status.
This status would be available till the people would form their own parliament by an election. They would make this election in 1938 spring. The National Assembly founded a commission that would organise these elections.
Meanwhile, they started to prepare for election. The election list was made according to Turkish, Arabic, Alaouite, Armenian, and Byzantine Greek Orthodox Assemblies. The election would have two parts. They started working on this election on 15th of May, 1938. There were some speculations about the election boxes, there were some struggles and the works of the election were stopped for six days on the 3rd of June. They again started to work on the election on the 9th of June. But there were again some bad events and the commission stopped to work for elections on the 22nd of June.
The Turkish Army commanded by Colonel Ţükrü Kanatlý came to İskenderun on the 5th of July, 1938. They repeated the elections on the 22nd of July, 1938 and ended the works on the 31st of July. On the 1st of August, they started to take the results. According to the results, there were 35.847 Turkish electors, 11.319 Alaouite electors, 5504 Armenian electors, 1845 Sunnite-Arabic electors and 2098 Byzantine Greek Orthodox electors.
The distribution of the deputies was like that: There were 22 deputies from Turks, 9 Deputies from Alaouites, 5 deputies from Armenians, 2 deputies from Arabs, 2 deputies from Byzantine Greek Orthodox. The total number of the deputies was 40.
Hatay Public Assembly first met on 2nd of September, 1938 at the place which is called as Gündüz Cinema today. The head of the state was elected as Tayfur Sökmen and Abdurrahman Melek was elected as the prime minister. The cabinet of five people were elected out of the assembly.
The New "Hatay Constitution" was accepted in the Assembly on 6th of September, 1938. This constitution was nearly the same as "Sancak Constitution" accepted by the National Institution. The name of the state was accepted as "Hatay State" instead of "Sancak" and the Republic was accepted as the type of governing.
The centre was accepted as Antakya in Hatay State and İskenderun, Ordu (Yayladağı), Kırıkhan and Reyhaniye were its counties.
French was accepted as the foreign language. The schools, which gave education, continued to do so, but no more schools like these would be opened again.
At the meeting held on the 16th of February, 1939, The Turkish Republic Laws were totally accepted as the laws of Hatay without any change. But the government would be the authoritative about not putting into use such topics as military service, the election rights given to women, international treaties ...
According to a statement given on the 2nd of February, 1939, Hatay Ministry of Finance would pay the payments in Turkish currency starting from this month. Turkish currency was accepted as the official currency of Hatay on the 13th of March. The import-export were set free on the 16th of March between Turkey and Hatay. Tayfur Sökmen was elected as Antakya Deputy, Abdurrahman Melek was elected as Gaziantep Deputy from CHP for Turkish Assembly in the elections held on the 26th of March, 1939 in Turkey.
The 5th of July and the 2nd of September were accepted as "National Festivals" for Hatay on the 18th of May, 1939.
The French and the English Radios stated that the problem of Hatay between France and Turkey was solved. Meanwhile, the protocol, that determined the border between Hatay and Syria, was signed as two copies in Turkish and French. The previous border widened 6 kilometres more. The entrances, exits and the customs were organised. On the 16th of June, The Turkish National Assembly arrived at a decision. According to this decision, Hatay Treaty was signed accepting that the Hatay Region would be under the rule of Turkey. Hatay National Assembly was last held on the 28th of June. In this meeting, they decided to involve Hatay in the lands of Turkey.
With 7th of July, 1939 dated and 3711 numbered law, and after the treaty made on the 23rd of June with France, it was accepted that Hatay, which was in the national borders of Turkey, would be joined on Turkey, the city of Hatay was founded, Dörtyol, Hassa county in Seyhan, İslahiye (Gaziantep) would be bounded to Hatay.
A military Group of 16th Tunus Light Infantry Company, who was the last French Military Group in Hatay, left their barracks at 7:30 on the 23rd of July, 1939 morning. When the time was 11:40, the last military group of France left our country.
The Frenchmen, who captured Hatay soon after the First World War, had to leave there just before the Second World War. The political changes in Anatolia and the whole world forced them to leave. The Turkish Republic, that was founded after an independence struggle by Mustafa Kemal, was trying to use the historical chance of involving Hatay in the borders of the "National Pact of 1920". Meanwhile, the wind of war in Europe was forcing the Imperialistic Nations to leave the colonies. The Fascist Governments of Germany and Italy were in an incredible race of gun power. Hitler's Germany and Mussolini in Italy first suppressed the opposition party, then they started to a massacre of intellectual, democratic and revolutionary topics. Hitter's Government was in search of "Superior German Race" and they harmed many people of other races, especially the Jewish People. They sent millions of people to death in gas rooms. In Germany, people had these kinds of tragedies. Meanwhile, Germany and Italy were increasing their gun power and getting ready for the war. The Frenchman was trying to protect their borders, so they were leaving their colonies. After a short time, The Second World War would start and the Frenchmen would encounter the very thing they were afraid of.
20 YEARS OF THE FRENCHMEN
After the Frenchmen had captured the region, they founded their military barracks on the hill where there is a hospital and a primary school today. So the inhabitants of the region call this hill as "Barrack". Unfortunately, this long, four-floored barrack could stand still till 1960. Of course, you should know that the reason of this was the neglect and the lack of interest. The Frenchmen could easily control Süveydiye from the hill. They started to found and develop the city which was bounded to the military barracks.
Starting from 1924, the Frenchmen made some excavations at several periods. Hatay was not under the mandate of France starting from 1938, and when Hatay was involved in the lands of Turkey, the excavations lost its continuity and they lasted with the beginning of the Second World War.
The archaeologists, who made excavations in this region, were charged to make archaeological and antique researches in the French Colonies by the French Government.
The results of these researches were published in 1931 in Paris in the name of "The Library of Archaeological and Historical Works". The other work was called as "The Development of Cities in Old Greek and Romans", which was a thesis prepared by a Frenchman at a university for doctorate. This work was published in 1941.
The Frenchmen didn't think of leaving the region in such a short time. So they tried so hard in the construction of the roads, bridges and cadastral works. Today we still use the cadastral maps of the Frenchmen in the subdivision works of Samandağ and several villages. And also Samandağ-Antakya Road was known to belong to those times till the 1990s. The bridge is still used today; it combines some districts founded on Karaçay Rivers.
THE ENGLISH SCHOOL
There is an old building in Samandağ today that is known as The English School. The story of the English School starts in the first half of the 19TH Century. The Ottoman Empire, who was not successful in education, science and technology, was in debt. They could not pay back the money taken either as debt or help from America, England, Germany and France. This situation forced the Ottoman Empire to concess the foreign nations and the European Countries started to open their own schools.
There were many ethnic groups in Hatay Region. The differences in religious and ethnical sense also effected the settlements. The districts and the villages of Alawis, Sunnis and Christians were at different places. The Sunni Turks, who had huge amount of land, were the notables of the city. The Christians were involved in commerce and handicraft. The Alawis were suppressed by the government; they were patient and hardworking. They generally worked with landowners or they formed the group of Marabalar.(Yarıcı)
It can be seen that there was an increase in the missionary works in Hatay from the second half of the 19th Century. In 1846, the Englishmen opened a school in Süveydiye. Then they opened another in Antakya in 1876 and in 1902 in İskenderun. They opened another school in Antakya in 1905 and in İskenderun in 1912. Before the Englishmen, the Italians opened a school in 1882 to educate the children of Christian Families.
There was dullness in the cultural life during the First World War. They could not find any teachers for the official schools and the medresses were closed one by one. When the Ottoman Army left Syria in 1918, the political events in Hatay effected the cultural life. The supporters of Syria and the supporters of Turkey propped different cultural programs.
During the French Mandate, the cultural policy was composed of colonial program. Their aim was to spread the language and the culture of France. In 1928, the high schools started to educate in French except for several Arabic and Turkish Lessons. They started to teach French at the first grades of the primary schools which had an education of 5 years. These primary schools were like the prep classes of the high schools that were converted to colleges by the Frenchmen.
The foreign schools, that were closed during the years of the war, were opened again when that region was under the mandate of France. The English missionaries were effective in Süveydiye. These institutes educated only the Christian Children before, after the occupation, the Arabic and the Turkish Families also started to send their children to these schools. In time, the Turks and the Arabs were more interested in learning French, so they continued to send their children to these schools.
There were 2432 students in the foreign schools in Hatay in 1935. 113 of them were Muslims.
Hatay State, founded in 1938, would last only one year and the political confusions continued during this period.
Starting from 1939, the laws of Republic were put in use, so these foreign schools were closed. At those times, traditional society characteristics were efficient. The ethnic groups kept their own life styles. The most important economical activities were commerce and handicrafts.
Although the foreign schools were closed, there was a rapid development of education services in Hatay. There was an apparent increase in the numbers of schools, students and teachers. The Public Library of the City was opened in 1940. Hatay Archaeology Museum was in service in 1948. It was interesting for its rich collection of mosaics and it was one of the most important mosaic museums in the world. There was an important development in agriculture in 1950s. The number of the tractors increased. The cotton production, which took the place of silk production after 1920s, started to spread. There was an important development in the industrial life with the opening of thread, woven, plant oil and soap factories. All of the developments caused to increase the population of the city rapidly. The differences in the life styles of the ethnic groups started to disappear. A modernisation was seen in clothes, food, houses, health and communication.
The education level of Samandağ in 1998 is above the average of Turkey. The educational institutions and numbers of teachers and the students of this year are like this: 1 General High School, 1 Anatolian High School, 1 Industrial Vocational High School, 1 Girls Vocational High School. There are 72 teachers and 2270 students in these schools. And also there are 14 primary schools in the centre of the city, 46 primary schools in the districts and the villages. The total number of the primary schools is 60 and there are 446 teachers and 16.109 students in these schools. And also the education before the primary schools becomes more and more important in time. Today, 9 teachers teach 184 students to be the teachers of the kindergartens.
"Samandağ Vocational High School" under "Hatay Mustafa Kemal University" was founded on the 20th of April, 1995. Between 1997-1998, there were 38 students at the first grade and 20 students at the second grade of Nutrition School. There were 26 students at the first grade and 22 students at the second grade of the School of Greenhouse. The total number of the students was 96. 5 academicians work at the university and some of the courses are given by the other academicians of different faculties of the university. 12 students graduated from both of the departments between 1997-1998.
THE STRUCTURE OF PLANTS IN SAMANDAĞ
Samandağ is one of the richest regions of Turkey in terms of vegetation. The Amonos Mountains and Kel Mountain took the interests of the researchers with its importance of its botanic and geography. Although the results of previous researches and the current structure don't resemble each other, it keeps its richness in terms of variability. Some plant types and the deep forests observed in the works of Boissier in 1846 and Post in 1876 are not seen today.
Except for the forests of Amonos Mountains, it is possible to see bushes at Kel Mountain and Amonos Mountains, which are the typical vegetation of Mediterranean. These areas have big varieties of plants and there are many useful and economic plant types here. Some plant types determined by the relevant researches are given below:
The garden thyme (Thymus) known as "Zater" by the people, Çanakkale thyme, İstanbul thyme, black herb, some other thyme types known as "Güveyi Otu" or "Merzengüş" (Origanum yulgare, Origanum laevigatum). Another thyme type known as "Zater" or "Crete zater" (Satureja thymbra) Karabaş thyme or Rock thyme that can also be called as "Black Thyme" (Thymbra spicita)
Daphne, whose oil and soap is used against bran and which is widely used in making perfumes (Laurus). Carob (Ceratonia), Myrtie (Myrtus), Zindiğen (Quercus) that is used as log coal andpopular in markets, Natural Oil (Olea), Siklemen (Cyc lamen), Orchid (Orchis), Gladiol (Gladiolus).
Nemnem otu (Ballota Saxatilis) , used for sore throats and easily found around St. Simon Monastery, Artifical Stinging Nettle (Ballota negra), Oğul otu (Melissa), Fare kulağı, Sıçan kulağı or sıçan otu (Angallis arventis), Buhuru Meryem, Altınöz (Pallenis spinoza), Kum Zambağı (Pancratium maritimum), redbud (cercis), Karağan or laden (cistus), çalba (phlomis amanica), dağçayı, garden sage (sideritis mantana), ground oak (teucrium polium), (rubia) used for making madder.
There are natural forests of cluster pines (pinus brutia) at those places, which was not damaged too much by the people. There are juniper (juniperus), beech (fagus), oak (qvercus cerris), hornbeam (carpinus), karadal (ostrya), cornelian cherry trees between 800 and 1200 metres of Amonos Mountains. Over 1200 metres, there are forests of some trees like karaçam (pinus nigra) and cedar (cedrus).
Although Kel Mountain at the south of Samandağ is poor in terms of its vegetation, there are many types of plants there. There are endemic types of plants in this mountain named as the name of this mountain and which can not be seen in the world except this mountain.
Çakţýr otu (ferula),which is known to have "Afrodizyak" effects by the people, can easily be found between 900-1400 metres of the mountain. The upper parts are mostly covered with grass like plants called geven (astrogalus). The deep and marvellous forests of oak (quercus cerris), beech (fagus), hornbeem (carpinus) and karadal (ostrya) that was determined in Kel Mountain before left their places to bushes and empty rocks.
THE MONUMENTAL TREE OF HIDIRBEY
"Hıdırbey Plane Tree" (platanus orientalsi), aged over hundreds of years in Hıdırbey village of Samandağ, is the most famous tree of not only our village but also of Hatay. This plane tree is very old. Although the villagers say that it is 2000 years old, the researchers estimated its age as 800-900 years.
The tree was used as a barbershop before because of the vacuum in it. Today there is a small area and the cafe of the village under it. It gets weaker and weaker as time passes and its branches break one by one. Although it is under protection, it is surrounded by 2-3 metres of filling equipment because of the construction of the bridge by Ministry of Village Services over the stream near it. So its body surroundings, which were over 22 metres, is about 15 metre today.
This tree, which is an old witness of the history, rises upwards to the sky marvellously but in search of care and attention.
The forests, that was damaged by people in the last century, formed slowly by the natural evens of millions of years. There is a little thing left today. The Daphne (laurus) tree, used in the production of oil and soap, were in forms of well-developed forests in Samandağ, especially in Musa Mountain. The increase in the usage of the daphne trees in soap and perfume industry made these forests more important. The daphnes in the individual gardens in Teknepınar (Batıayaz), Eriklikuyu, Hıdırbey, Yoğunoluk and Kapısuyu are still cut unconsciously. The bushes left after these trees are in danger of disappearance because of misuses.
The bushes formed by cutting the trees are damaged since they are used in making log and coal to be burned in ovens. Also most of the natural plants, except the ones used as spice, are gathered from these areas. And also it is stated that many types of onioned plants are gathered without any control.
A PART OF HEAVEN
Samandağ still keeps its importance today since it is a region where many people of different ethnic groups live and get on well with each other here. This relation is so interesting that the people of different religions sometimes celebrate the same festival and these festivals are usually at the same day. Many religious places (visit, tomb) are accepted as sacred places by these people of different religions and they sacrifice for these holy places. Except for their believes, people visit each other in some "special days". They don't open their shops in the festivals which is a good example of tolerance. The tradition of living together has continued for centuries. Most of the traditions of the past still continue today.
In reality, we can say many things related with Samandağ. For example we could not work on the villages of Samandağ completely. There are not many villages whose histories were worked on except Vakıflı Village and Sabuni (Çöğürlü). Since Mağaracık and Kapısuyu are in Seleucia Pieria, we can estimate the dates of their foundations to be before Christ. Aknehir District is famous for its St. Simon Monastery. El-Arabi Tomb near the monastery is one of the most well-known tombs of the region. Teknepınarı is important in touristic sense since it is one of the most important centres of the plateau tourism. Yaylıca District is also important in this sense especially in the last years. But we did not search the history of Yaylıca. The findings showed that the historical settlement in the mountain which is above Yaylaca belonged to early Christian Age.
Tavla is a district whose settlement also belonged to the very early ages. The antique traces, found in the researches made in the buildings and wells, prove this. But this region again one of the places that has not been researched yet. Fidanlı is a village, which is famous for its tradition more than its history. Most of the fruit trees of Samandağ are produced here. Another interesting characteristic of the village is that the villagers do not smoke here. Maybe it is the only village where the cigarette is not sold at the stores. Mızraklı Village also has a very old settlement. Both Alawis and Christians visit and sacrifice for Kızma-Dimyan Tomb in this region. The graves of two murdered brothers, who cured people in the past, are in this tomb. The people believe that the brothers still cure people. Gözene has a very big population but all of the people have the same surname here (Dadük). Thousands of people visit Sheikh Muhammet El Tavil Tomb every year, which is located at the mountain over the village. People vow and sacrifice in this tomb. Koyunoğlu, Kuşalanı, Sutaşı (Mutayran) are among the regions mentioned in history. The tobacco and Persian tobacco of Meydan, Tekebaşı and Gözene villages are in good quality and they are very famous. A sweet and early produced (erkenci) plum called as "Can Erik", is produced in the region of Yeşilyazı and Asi Valley. This plum is very popular in markets and is very expensive. Seldiren, Çamlıyayla, Yeniköy, Büyükoba and Küçükoba Villages are located in the forests.
There are many more things to be mentioned about the city. We will try to explain these things to you in our later works
WRITTEN BY:İSMAİL ZUBARİ