Historical studies show that settlement in Antakya region dates back to very early periods. Settlement in this region started long before invention of writing, in the Palaeolithic Age. Findings from Middle Palaeolithic and Upper Palaeolithic Ages, Early, Middle and Late Chalcolithic Ages, and Early Bronze Age were obtained in the excavations conducted in the region.
Small populations living in Antakya region founded Hattena Kingdom in the 9th century B.C. Persians dominated Antakya Region after that. Persian dominance in Antakya Region ended after Alexander defeated King Kodomannus.
City of Antakya was founded in the reign of Alexander the Great. However, the real founder and the person who named the city was Emperor Seleucus. Seleucus I had Samandağ and the cities on the shore of Amik Lake demolished and founded Antakya. Antakya grew in a very short time and became the third largest city of the ancient period after Rome and Alexandria. When Rome divided in 395 A.D., Antakya was left to Byzantium (East-Roman Empire). After the Battle of Yarmouk, Islamic forces sieged Antakya. Muslims were settled in the region after a long siege. Antakya became border city (sagr) under Islamic rule and converted into a military base.
In the reign of Caliph Harun ai-Rashid, Antakya region gained province status. Muslim Arabs ruled the city from 638 to 969. After that, Byzantines ruled the city for over a century and the city was used as the primary castle of Byzantium against Muslims. City lost its previous importance due to long lasting attacks and earthquakes.
It was annexed to Ottoman Empire by Selim the Grim during his Egypt Expedition. The French occupied Hatay starting from Iskenderun on November 12, 1918, and controlled the region until Hatay State was founded on September 2, 1938.
Governed as an independent state for 10 months 21 days between September 2, 1938 and July 23, 1939, Hatay joined Turkey on July 23, 1939 as its 63rd province by the decision of Hatay National Assembly on June 29, 1939.
Hatay is situated in the southern region of Turkey. It is surrounded by Mediterranean Sea (Iskenderun Bay) in the west, Syria in the south and east, Adana Province in the northwest, Osmaniye in the north and Gaziantep in the northeast. Its surface area is 5,559 km2 and 46.1% of the provincial lands are mountains, 33.5% are plains and 20.4% are plateau. Antakya, the central district of Hatay, which is one of the border provinces of Republic of Turkey, is located at the southernmost point of Turkey with 36° 10’ northern latitude and 36° 06’ eastern longitude.
The Amik Plain, which consists of the fertile soil of the province situated between Nur (Amanos) Mountains extending from north to southwest, Kel Mountain and Syrian plateau, forms a coastline plain which extends in a line. Main rivers of the province are Asi, Karasu and Afrin rivers. There are two irrigation dams (Tahtaköprü and Yarseli) in the province.
Hatay gained metropolitan status in 2013. In addition to the metropolitan municipality, Hatay has 15 district municipalities and 589 neighbourhoods connected to these municipalities.