Mersin — reviews, pros and cons: “second Antalya” or a soap bubble?

Recently, the Runet is full of articles that praise the province of Mersin. Neither more nor less: it is predicted to intercept the status of the tourist capital of Turkey. Does this thesis have serious grounds?..

Мерсин — отзывы, плюсы и минусы: «вторая Анталья» или мыльный пузырь?

Mersin Embankment

Enterprising local realtors (among whom there are many Russian speakers) have already dubbed Mersin the “second Antalya”. High rates of housing construction and infrastructure progress are cited as evidence. After Rosatom completes the Akkuyu NPP (this will happen in May 2024), the Mersin region will become energy surplus, which opens up good development prospects for it. And now the Mersin coast is being dynamically built up, and the new Chukurov International Airport is almost ready in the vicinity of Tarsus. So far, it is not working at full capacity, servicing the builders of the nuclear power plant. In the foreseeable future, the air harbor is able to switch to 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 trying to make money by selling local real estate to Russians? Is Mersin an ideal place to invest in housing? What are the real chances of the province becoming the “second Antalya”? 

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

What is Mersin Province

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 Yenishikhir), the remaining 9 belong to the province. Its population has reached 1.92 million people, and 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 Tarsus.

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

Мерсин — отзывы, плюсы и минусы: «вторая Анталья» или мыльный пузырь?

Beaches in Mezetli (Mersin)

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

There are several ancient ruins of monasteries and fortresses in the vicinity, as well as a waterfall. Thus, the local tourist infrastructure has yet to be created, and then create a positive image for the region among foreign tourists. This is a non-trivial task that requires a lot of effort and time.

Will Mersin become a tourist center thanks to the NPP 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. 

Мерсин — отзывы, плюсы и минусы: «вторая Анталья» или мыльный пузырь?

Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant

I have to disappoint those who believe in it. Mersin is primarily Turkey’s largest port, an industrial center and the second largest free economic zone in the country. A considerable number of factories and factories are located in the region. The consequence of this is a spoiled ecology. 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 will hardly ever be able to become one. Imagine: almost the entire coast for tens of kilometers is residential high–rise buildings. There are few resort hotels in Mersin similar to those built up on the Antalya coast. I personally do not understand how the nuclear power plant and the airport should give an impetus to development.

The truth about Russians and CIS residents moving to Mersin

Contrary to the thesis strenuously promoted by local realtors, there are almost no foreigners in Mersin. The exception is the 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.

Мерсин — отзывы, плюсы и минусы: «вторая Анталья» или мыльный пузырь?

Syrians in Mersin

Tourists rarely come to Mersin, because there is not much to do here. There are few attractions, the sea is dirty, and there are no beaches in the central part of the city.

It is not hotel complexes that are growing on the coast, but residential high-rise buildings. Mainly, Turks themselves, who live in the interior 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. 

Мерсин — отзывы, плюсы и минусы: «вторая Анталья» или мыльный пузырь?

Mersin top view

Мерсин — отзывы, плюсы и минусы: «вторая Анталья» или мыльный пузырь?

Typical Mersin area

The main part of the housing offered in Mersin are economy plus class apartments. People with money prefer to buy more solid real estate in Antalya or on the Aegean Sea. The same applies to tenants: the relocants are richer – they 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. If you compare with Antalya, housing in Mersin is about twice as cheap. 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.

Мерсин — отзывы, плюсы и минусы: «вторая Анталья» или мыльный пузырь?

The beach in Erdemli

Мерсин — отзывы, плюсы и минусы: «вторая Анталья» или мыльный пузырь?

Mezetli Embankment

Мерсин — отзывы, плюсы и минусы: «вторая Анталья» или мыльный пузырь?

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 wonder – and what technologies were used to build houses? If the building was erected after 1999, you can request a report from the developer on the condition of the building and the soil. But with older buildings it is more difficult: there may not be such information about them. Thus, the purchase of housing in early-built houses is a lottery.

Мерсин — отзывы, плюсы и минусы: «вторая Анталья» или мыльный пузырь?

Old houses by the sea in Mesetli with cracks after earthquakes

There is another unpleasant moment. Many of those living on the first line do not feel much happiness from this. The beaches that are visible from the windows are ugly, and the sea is dirty. In addition, the Mersin embankment stretches only across the city. The rest of the coastal multi–storey 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.

Мерсин — отзывы, плюсы и минусы: «вторая Анталья» или мыльный пузырь?

Promenade and beach on the outskirts of Mersin

Мерсин — отзывы, плюсы и минусы: «вторая Анталья» или мыльный пузырь?

Beaches in Salt

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

Reviews of beaches in Mersin province:

Mersin beaches: which are the most beautiful and where to swim?

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