Mersin: “the second Antalya” or a soap bubble? | Advantages and disadvantages

Recently, Runet is full of articles that praise the province of Mersin. Neither more nor less: she is predicted to intercept the status of the tourist capital of Turkey. Does this thesis have serious grounds? -i-minusy-48452d9.jpg” alt=”Mersin: “the second Antalya” or a soap bubble? | Pros and cons” />

Mersin embankment

Entrepreneurial local realtors (including many Russian-speaking) have already dubbed Mersin “the second Antalya.” High rates of housing construction and progress in infrastructure are cited as evidence. After the completion of the Akkuyu NPP by Rosatom (this will happen in May 2024), the Mersin region will become energy surplus, which opens up good development prospects for it. And now the coast of Mersin is being dynamically built up, and in the vicinity of the city of Tarsus, the new Çukurova International Airport is almost ready. So far, it does not operate at full capacity, serving the builders of the nuclear power plant. In the foreseeable future, the air harbor is able to switch to a mass transshipment of tourists.

There are indeed many arguments in favor of the imminent flourishing of Mersin as a tourist hub. But is everything as rosy as realtors who are trying to make money selling local real estate to Russians draw? Is Mersin an ideal place to invest in housing? What are the real chances of the province to become a “second Antalya”? 

I will try to objectively answer these questions, as a person who actually lives in Mersin and has already explored local realities.

What is the province of Mersin

This is a large Turkish region located on the Mediterranean coast, east of the famous Antalya. The province is divided into 13 districts, 4 of which make up the city of Mersin (Akdeniz, Mezitli, Toroslar and Yenishihir), the remaining 9 belong to the province. Its population has reached 1.92 million people, there are 930 thousand inhabitants in the capital. There are two airports in the region: the old one, near the city of Adana, and the new one, in the vicinity of the city of Tarsus.

Compared to Antalya, the tourist infrastructure is poorly developed here, the beaches are not so beautiful and well-equipped. 


Beaches in Mezetli (Mersin)

Since Mersin is one of the largest ports in Turkey, the water in the sea is not always clear and clean. With the exception of the city embankment, there are almost no attractions in Mersin itself.

In the vicinity there are several ancient ruins of monasteries and fortresses, as well as a waterfall. Thus, the local tourism infrastructure has yet to be created, and then create a positive image of the region among foreign tourists. This task is not trivial, requiring considerable effort and time.

Will Mersin become a tourist center thanks to the nuclear power plant and the airport

One of the main arguments of realtors seeking to make money on local real estate: the Akkuyu station and the airport will almost automatically turn Mersin into a tourist mecca. 

Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant

Forced to disappoint those who believe in it. Mersin is primarily Turkey's largest port, industrial center and the second largest free economic zone in the country. There are a lot of plants and factories in the region. The result of this is a damaged environment. To make Mersin a full-fledged recreation center, it will be necessary to rid the region of heavy industry. Most likely, the Turkish authorities will not dare to take such a step.

The coastal part of the city is an anthill of residential high-rise buildings. This is not a resort area and is unlikely to ever become one. Imagine: almost the entire coast for tens of kilometers is residential high-rise buildings. There are few resort hotels similar to those that are built up on the coast of Antalya in Mersin. It is not clear to me personally how the nuclear power plant and the airport should give impetus to development.

The truth about Russians and CIS residents moving to Mersin

Contrary to the thesis strongly promoted by local realtors, there are almost no foreigners in Mersin. The exception is relocants from Russia and Ukraine who left the military operations. About 15% of the local population are Syrian refugees, which, to put it mildly, does not add respectability to the region.

Syrians in Mersin

Tourists rarely come to Mersin, because there is not much to do here. Attractions – a minimum, the sea is dirty, and there are no beaches in the central part of the city.

On the coast, not hotel complexes, but residential high-rise buildings grow at all. Mostly, the Turks themselves, who live in the depths of the country, buy “summer” apartments in them. Citizens of Russia and the CIS also buy real estate here, but not as massively as they write about it. 

Mersin top view

Typical district of Mersin

The main part of housing offered in Mersin is economy plus apartments. People with money prefer to buy more solid real estate in Antalya or on the Aegean Sea. The same applies to tenants: richer relocators tend to rent apartments in Alanya, Izmir and Istanbul.

Will local real estate become more expensive

Apartments in Mersin are relatively cheap. Real estate prices roughly correspond to the level of a large regional center of Russia. Compared to Antalya, housing in Mersin is about half the price. For example, in a good area of ​​the city – Erdemli (400 m from the sea), a two-room apartment can be bought for 60 thousand euros. At the same time, there are a lot of questions about Mersin real estate.

Mersin: « second Antalya

Beach in Erdemli

Mezetli embankment

Mersin: « second Antalya

Erdemli embankment

The first line in the city of Mersin is not rubber, and it has long been built up with high-rise buildings, many of which are old. After devastating earthquakes, people are wondering – what technologies were used to build houses? If the building was built after 1999, you can ask the builder for a report on the condition of the building and the ground. But with older buildings it is more difficult: there may not be such information about them. Thus, buying a home in early-built houses is a lottery.

There is another unpleasant moment. Many of those living on the first line do not experience much happiness from this. The beaches that are visible from the windows are ugly, and the sea is dirty. In addition, the Mersin embankment stretched only across the city. The rest of the coastal high-rise areas are equipped with short embankments or beaches instead. There is almost no infrastructure in such areas. Usually only supermarkets and bus stops are available.

Promenade and beach on the outskirts of Mersin

Beaches in  Soli

In such a situation, I would not dare to talk about the inevitable and rapid rise in the price of real estate in Mersin. Yes, there is the sea, beaches and an attractive climate. But if you think about it: this is the whole coastal Türkiye. At the same time, the Aegean Sea and Antalya already have a developed infrastructure, and Mersin has yet to create it (if possible). Actually, that is why real estate here is cheaper than Antalya.

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