Tarsus is the birth place of St.Paul, situated on the edge of the fertile Çukurova plain in the city full of cedar groves city is the meeting place of legendery lovers Antony and Cleopatra. There is the commerative Cleopatra gate, to reach St.Paul’s Well and the St.Paul Church, the old vernacular style streets of the city to be followed.
St. Paul Church and Museum
The church which is located in the south of the city (Tarsus/ Mersin/ Turkey), about 200 meters south of Ulu Mosque is thought to be built in 11th or 12th Century B.C and dedicated to St. Paul. In recent years, the building underwent restoration work. In the interior, the nave is separated from the aisles by rows of four columns each and covered with vaults. At the center of the ceiling there are frescos depicting Jesus Christ, St. John, St. Matthews, St. Luke and St. Mark, the four Holy Apostles who wrote the four accepted versions of the Holy Bible. The church also has a belfry. There are figures depicting angels and a landscape next to the window opening to the nave. There is also a wooden mezzanine above the entrance to the building supported by two columns.
Today, the church is serving as a museum. But pious Christians come here frequently for pilgrimage.
The Well of St. Paul
The remnants of a house uncovered at a courtyard in a neighborhood of old Tarsus houses about 250 meters north of the Republic Square (Cumhuriyet Meydanı) is believed to belong to St. Paul. There is a well in the courtyard, which is called St. Paul’s Well. During an excavation parts of house walls were discovered in the courtyard believed to belong to St. Paul’s house. The remnants of the house could be seen through a glass covering the excavated walls.
The mouth of the well is cylindrical and has a diameter of 1.15 meters. The well itself is rectangular and made of rectangularly hewn rocks. It is 38 meters deep and has water the year round. Christians passing through here on their way to pilgrimage in Jerusalem drink the water of this well, which they consider holy.
The church and the surroundings are on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.