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City in south-central Turkey with 560,000 inhabitants (2004 estimate), on the Cilician Plain bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of Mersin Province. Another common name for both the city and the province is Icel. Icel province 1.7 million inhabitants (2004 estimate).
Mersin has an artificial harbour, which is an important port for importing petroleum and exporting agricultural products and minerals of the Cilician Plain and southeastern Anatolia. The city has one of Turkey's largest oil refineries.
Mersin is connected by road and railways to Tarsus 40 km northeast, Adana 100 km northeast and by road alone to Antalya 400 km west. It also has ferry connections with Cyprus.
While Mersin does not represent any continuous settlement since ancient times, there are nearby Neolithic settlements dating at least back to 3600 BCE, as well as a more recent Roman port.
1865: The villages of Gokcel, Kalinli and Elvanli unite, forming the regional centre of Mersin.
1925: Mersin Province is formed.
1933: Mersin Province is extended by the counties of Silifke, Anamur and Mut.