Last modified: 2016-10-29 by ivan sache
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Flag of Tarsus - Image by Jens Pattke, 4 October 2012
The municipality of Tarsus (318,615 inhabitants in 2012, 245,671 in the town proper; 20,149 ha) is located 30 km north-west of Mersin.
Ivan Sache, 13 March 2016
The flag of Tarsus (photo, photo) is white with the municipality's emblem in the middle. "Belediyesi" means "Municipality".
The emblem of the municipality features two columns representing the ancient town of Tarsus, best known as the birth place of Paul the Apostle.
Tarsus was the most important commercial port in the province of Cilicia. It was first ruled by the Hittites, then the Assyrians, then the Persian Empire. It was the seat of a Persian satrapy from 400 B.C. onwards. Alexander the Great passed through Tarsus with his armies in 333 BC and nearly met his death here after a bath in the Cydnus.
Subjected to Rome by Pompey, Tarsus was made the capital of the Roman province of Cilicia. Mark Antony, who controlled the eastern provinces, declared the city free in 42 BC. Those born in a free city were considered Roman citizens with all its rights and privileges. The Cleopatra Gate in Tarsus, is also known as the Sea Gate. It was believed that Cleopatra sailed up the Cydnus disguised as Aphrodite and came through this gate in 41 BC on her way to meet Mark Antony. Tarsus continued to receive special privileges under Augustus, who exempted the city from imperial taxation because Athenodorus, his teacher and friend, was a Tarsian. The city was permitted to use its own laws, customs and magistrates. Tarsus was also free from being subject to Roman guards.
[Ancient Pages, 4 January 21016]
Tarsus is mentioned five times in the Bible (New International Version).
The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. (Acts 9:11)
When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. (Acts 9:30)
Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, (Acts 11:25)
Paul answered, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people.” (Acts 21:39) “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. (Acts 22:3)
Tomislav Šipek & Ivan Sache, 13 March 2016