Settlements > Alexandria ad Issum
Alexandria ad Issum
Alexandretta and Scanderoon. İskenderun preserves the name, but probably not the exact site, of Alexandria ad Issum. The settlement was founded by Alexander the Great in 333 BC to supersede Myriandrus as the key to the Syrian Gates, about 37 km (23 miles) south of the scene of his victory at the Battle of Issus. Alexander camped in the high-lands of İskenderun, around Esentepe, and then ordered the city to be established and named Alexandria. İskenderun is one of many cities founded on Alexander's orders, including Alexandria, Egypt.
The importance of the place comes from its relation to the Syrian Gates, the easiest approach to the open ground of Hatay Province and Aleppo. The city was founded as Alexandria (Αλεξάνδρεια) and named for Alexander the Great. Starting in the Middle Ages, Western pilgrims used the diminutive Romance form Alexandretta. After the Muslim conquest of Syria, it was named al-ʼIskandarūn (Arabic الإسكندرون), the Arabic rendering of the original "Alexandrou"; this name was further turkified into Ottoman Turkish as İskenderūn (إسكندرون), which in turn was preserved in its current modern Turkish form as İskenderun.