Driving through one of the most strategic mountain passes in history
For most of recorded history, the Cilician Gates have been the main thoroughfare of travel between Asia Minor and the lands of Syria and beyond. This pass of the Cilician Gates (Πulai Κιλικία in Greek, Gülek Boğazı -the throat of Gülek- in Turkish) has been traveled by the Hittites, Greeks, Alexander the Great, the Romans, Mongols, and the Crusaders. It was called the Porta Judae (Gates of Judas) by the Crusaders. This is also likely the path that Paul and Silas took when they went on Paul’s second journey from Antioch (Antakya) through Syria and into Cilicia (Acts 15) to visit the churches that Paul and Barnabas had planted on their first journey. Because it is one of few ways through the Taurus Mountains, it is of great strategical importance. The gates are greatly defensible, as is evidenced in the following anecdote: “An indication of the difficulty of forcing the Cilician Gate comes from the twentieth century: on the 28th of May 1920, five hundred French soldiers were prevented from passing through the mountain pass by forty Turks.” Visiting: From Adana, get on the Otoban towards Mersin, and from Mersin, get on the Otoban towards Adana. Above Tarsus, take the O-21 Otoban towards Ankara. Drive about 30 minutes (51 km) north, and you will pass through the pass. There are Roman mile stones at the rest areas near the pass.