Mersin is a large city and a port on the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey. Mersin is an important hub of Turkey’s economy, and Turkey’s largest seaport is located in the city. Mersin’s nickname within Turkey is “Pearl of the Mediterranean”
Cennet and Cehennem (English: heaven and hell) are the names of two large sinkholes in the Taurus Mountains, in Mersin Province, Turkey. The sinkholes are among the tourist attractions of the province.
The opening of Cennet is 250 x 110 m2 (820 x 360 ft2) and its average dept is 70 metres (230 ft). It is possible to reach the bottom of Cennet by a primitive staircase composed of 300 steps. At the bottom toward the south, there is a smaller and 150 step deeper cave. In this cave are the ruins of a monastery built in the 5th century by a certain Paulus and dedicated to Virgin Mary. In this monastery one can hear the sound of a small underground stream which flows from the monastery to the gulf of Narlıkuyu.
Cehennem is a deeper sinkhole with a depth of 128 metres (420 ft). But its top opening is smaller with dimensions 70 x 50 m2 ( 210 x 150 ft2 ). As the upper edge of the opening is concave there is no access to the bottom of Cehennem.
Heaven and Hell are two enormous caves and it is here that you visit heaven on earth. The road to Hell is a bit more complicated, and unfortunately it is impossible to end up in Hell because there is no path that leads you to the bottom of this cave.
This time of year is the best time to visit the cave because one or two months later it will be too hot to walk around over there but at the same time heaven is also nice to visit during summertime because the temperature in the cave is many degrees colder than the outside temperature.
It is about a 15-minute hike down to the enormous entrance of the cave and during your walk down you are surrounded by bushes and trees. The sound of birds is all around you and it is very difficult to distinguish where the birds are since the sound echoes around in this enormous hole. Just before you arrive at the entrance of the cave you can walk around in a little chapel made many, many years ago. It must be Byzantine, and I often wonder about the dedication and determination of those religious people because they made their churches and monasteries at the most impossible places. www.hurriyetdailynews.com