This post is long overdue as I visited Mersin Narcenciye Festivali (English: Mersin Citrus Festival) in 2013. But I suppose it is worth to share as I am quite sure not so many of you have heard about Mersin, let alone the festival.
But then to say the least, Turkey has so much more to offer than Istanbul. In my list alone, I am still yet to get around Cappadocia in the hot air balloon, although I’ve been to Denizli to enjoy Pamukkale.
But this time, allow me to promote a city that is usually under the radar: Mersin.
According to Wikipedia, Mersin is a large city and a port on the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey. This port is an important hub of Turkey’s economy as it has the largest seaport in the country.
Mersin is located in the Asian part of Turkey, which is not so far from Syria by distance. The last time I went there, there were so many Syrian people in the city that I found more people speaking in Arabic than Turkish.
Anyway, the reason why I visited Mersin was because my good friend Vika lives there. Vika is a Russian girl I met during my Turkish summer course in 2010.
As one of my to-do-list is to reunite with some of my classmates during the summer course in Turkey, I decided to contact Vika when I was planning to visit my then-boyfriend in Istanbul. However, I had to enjoy traveling solo around Turkey to go down in Mersin before going back to Istanbul.
To get to Mersin, I took the flight from Istanbul to Adana first, and then took another bus from Adana to Mersin. It was a 1.5-hour flight, and the journey to Mersin by bus took another 1.5-hour. I stopped in Forum Mersin as Vika picked me up there, and despite her worry as I went there alone, I arrived there safely.
After all, speaking broken Turkish got me everything there. From a sudden discount in the airport lounge to get to Mersin safely. :p
Even before I reached Mersin, Vika already told me that it was a perfect time to visit Mersin when I got there because there would be this citrus festival going on in the city center. According to Vika, they would craft everything made out of citrus. It was some time in November, and the event will be held annually by the local government in the same month.
The local government chose to make a citrus festival as it is the main crop of Mersin with the production in Mersin area consisted of 54% lemon, 29% orange, 14% tangerine and 3% grapefruit.
Another reason to go to the festival, because suddenly Vika got a part time job in the event to promote Snow White theater that will be held in the city. So then not only I went there as a tourist, but I had to be there as the fake Snow White’s assistant. Haha.
As grumpy as this Russian girl has always been, she kept complaining about how she felt stupid in the costume and started rambling about how I should cover her in this job because my hair color was more suitable.
Haha. Joke’s on you, Putin’s peasant… Because you speak fairly good Turkish when the only way I could promote this theater is only by knowing what Pamuk Prenses is.
So, yes… When I got to see around, they actually crafted everything out of orange, citrus, you name it. They made things from butterfly to ship out of citrus!
And not only that, they also invite a lot of representatives from other countries to participate in the events. Each one of them will perform their traditional dance in order to promote their traditional art and culture.
I mean, I met the representative from my own country there so without shame I asked them to take a picture with me to promote Indonesia not only to Mersin people but to the world in general. :p
Who am I kidding? I actually took pictures with as many performers as I could approach. And these are the pictures I took with the representatives of Moldova, Bulgaria, my beloved homeland Indonesia, and Slovakia.
So, this event is held with a purpose to promote Mersin citrus as the commodity, but it is also held annually in order to promote Mersin with its touristic potential. Mersin is not a big city like Istanbul, it is definitely more laid back than Istanbul. As a port city, they have a lot of boat restaurants where you can enjoy your midiye and ayran.
As it was my first time to visit Mersin, I thought that Mersin would be rather cold like Istanbul in the fall but apparently the weather there is much, much better. It was sunny with a cold breeze that made it even more worthy to visit.
If you are planning to go to Turkey around November, I definitely will suggest you to give this Mersin Narcenciye Festivali a try. Mersin people are quite laid back compared to those in Istanbul, although yes… I gotta say Turkish people are great in general. Of course, if you don’t speak Turkish, you might face a challenge here and there to communicate but believe me, they try!
Also in this event, they provide a lot of free food and drink, although there are also some food stalls where you can buy some stuff like hotdogs. But you can also choose either to take the free food or buy the paid ones. Your choice. For me, I prefer the free ones. 😀
So, are you in for the next Mersin Citrus Festival? Share your thoughts below, and cheerio!