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Tarsus (tärˈsəs, Turk. tärsŏsˈ) [key], city (1990 pop. 191,333), S Turkey, in Cilicia, on the Tarsus (anc. Cydnus) River, near the Mediterranean Sea. It is an agricultural trade center; copper, zinc, chromium, and coal are mined in the region. Ancient Tarsus, first mentioned in the 8th cent. B.C., was the capital of Cilicia and one of the most important cities of Asia Minor. It reached the height of its prosperity and cultural achievement under Roman rule. The city was destroyed by the Arabs c.A.D. 660 and was rebuilt by them in the 780s. It was captured by the Ottoman Turks in 1515. The apostle Paul was born there.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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