The small town situated on the gulf of the same name enjoys a backdrop of majestic mountains. Iskenderun was founded by Alexander the Great in 333 BC, at which time it was called Alexandretta. Subsequently, the town came under the rule of the Sassanids, Arabs and Byzantines. In 1268, Iskenderun was occupied by the Mameluke and in 1515 Sultan Selim made it part of the Ottoman Empire. At the end of World War I, the port came under the French Protectorate of Syria but was reclaimed by Atatürk for the Turkish Republic in 1939. Today, Iskenderun is a busy commercial port with a fine harbor. The town spreads along the shores of a deep bay. It is an active place with a few good hotels, cafes and restaurants lining the sea front. While the tourism infrastructure is still rather limited, Iskenderun is a starting point for visits to some important sites of antiquity.
The local currency is the Turkish lira.