Hatay or Antakya, ancient Antioch located on the Asi River, is a fertile area once the capital of the Seleucid kings. The life Antakya had been renowned for its lavishness and pleasure during Roman times. Antakya was Christianity's center of origin, visited by St. Barnabas, Paul and Peter before they spread Christianity elsewhere in secular territory. Under Byzantine rule between 1075 CE-1243 CE, it functioned as provincial capital and artisans' settlement according to historians while maintaining commercial activities in textile production and being an intellectual centre which attracted scholars from across western Asia Minor.
The Hatay Museum typically receives a lot of international attention because it houses one of the richest collections of Roman mosaics in the world.
The holy site where Saint Peter's Grotto is situated is just outside the city. This cave church is where St. Peter preached and founded Christianity, and it was declared as a holy place by Vatican in 1983. The Iron Gate of Antioch is also located south of the grotto among the ruins of the city, which one can sense since little has changed since that time. The Castle of Antioch will give you a panoramic view over the entire city; this building provides great views from its height if you are up for climbing to get an excellent look at everything beneath you because nothing has changed much since modern civilization began there centuries ago.
The heart-touching love story of Apollo and Daphne can be found in Harbiye. This happens to be the place where Apollo fell deeply smitten with the fair maiden, who was persecuted by her father, Lord Zeus coming down from Olympos. Zeus helped his daughter escape from this supreme god’s pursuit and first transformed her into a tree, waiting for it to come out as an inscription on one of its trunks “I am Daphne”.
For both beach and sightseeing opportunities, Samandag is perfect. Nearby Seleucia Pieria, the ancient city that was a busy port during Paul’s time of missionary travel from there, offers not only an opportunity to study history but to gaze at ancient times' engineering found in Titus-Vespasianus Tunnel that was built to divert rain water.