Antakya is the center of Hatay province. In ancient times the city was known as Antioch and has historical significance for Christianity, being the place where the followers of Jesus Christ were called Christians for the very first time.
The region has been the center of several different nations and cultures, begins with the Paleolithic age. It was founded in 300 BC by the Greeks and was the centre of the Seleucid Kingdom until 64 BC, when the Romans made it the capital of their province of Syria. Antioch prospered in the 4th and 5th centuries from nearby olive plantations and in the 6th century developed a silk industry. That century also brought a series of earthquakes and fires. Antioch was captured temporarily by the Persians in 540 and 611 and was absorbed into the Arab caliphate in 637 AD. Under the Arabs, it shrank to the status of a small town. The Byzantines recaptured the city in 969, and it served as a frontier fortification until taken by the Seljuq Turks in 1084. In 1098 it was captured by the crusaders and was taken by the Mamluks in 1268. It finally fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1517 and remained under Ottoman control until 1918, when administration of Antioch passed to the French. On 5th July 1938, after years of struggle, the Turkish army entered Hatay. The Hatay State lasted for ten months and 26 days after which, by a vote of the Hatay Assembly, on 23th July 1939, it joined the Turkish Republic.
Antakya region has suitable and appropriate climate conditions, productive and fertile lands. Beside these two facts another important characteristic of the region is its being at the intersection point of the road which connects Anatolia to Syria and Palestine over Cukurova. In addition, the most convenient ports for suitable routes to Mediterranean from Mesopotamia are also located in this region. With its current faith tourism centers, ancient cities and beautiful plateaus, the province of Hatay has a high potential for tourism.