Situated on the south coast of Turkey, Mersin is the country’s largest seaport and is known as "The Pearl of the Mediterranean". Living in Mersin is very similar to life in any Mediterranean city – the pace of life is relaxed, and there is a diverse local population as a result of hundreds of years of acting as a trade point between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. However, Mersin is growing at a rapid pace, and boasts one of the largest skyscrapers in Turkey: the 52-storey Mertim Tower. Its reputation as a tourist hub is also growing, as evidenced by the number of hotels dotting the coastline. The Mersin Halkevi is currently being used as a cultural center and opera house, and draws in fans from across Turkey, as well as passing tourists. Meanwhile, the Atatürk Museum nods towards the city’s historical significance and the museum was, for example, visited by the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as well as his wife in 1925. Expats living in Turkey are often attracted to the warm climate, and nearby beaches. Visit the InterNations forums and discussion boards to speak to expatriates living in Turkey, to find out more about the Turkish culture.
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Turkey is a Muslim country, and any expat moving to Mersin should be aware of Islamic traditions and laws. You will quickly get used to the call to prayer several times a day (and night!), and even if you don’t participate in Muslim holidays such as Ramadan, you will be expected to respect them. During the weeks of Ramadan, do not smoke, drink or eat in public as this is considered offensive to those who are fasting. Mersin is a melting pot of culture, and you will hear any number of languages and accents around the port. However, Turkish is the national language and the most widely spoken – any expat moving to Mersin would therefore do well to learn a few words of Turkish before their relocation to impress their new neighbors! Pick up some tips on learning a new language and get practice speaking Turkish with global minds and expatriates alike on the InterNations platform, with its discussion boards, forums and private messages option.
Mersin is a busy city, with an economy mostly centered around an extremely active port. Outside work can get difficult in the summer months, when temperatures can sit at around 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Some local businesses follow the Islamic working hours – breaking for prayer several times a day. However, as much of Mersin’s business is with Europe, most companies have now adopted Western working values, and are particularly accommodating to expatriates in Mersin. Many of our InterNations members have lived and worked in Turkey as expats over the years, and they are happy to share their experiences with anyone planning on working in Mersin. Just check out our discussion boards and forums and after a few months’ experience, maybe you can add some tips of your own!