Tarsus was a city in ancient Cilicia located in the modern-day province of Mersin, Turkey. It is one of the oldest continually inhabited urban centers in the world, dating back to the Neolithic Period. It was built close by the Cydnus River (modern-day Berdan River) and was an important trade center for most of its history. It is best known as the birthplace of Saint Paul (also known as Saul of Tarsus l. c. 5- c. 64 CE) and, according to Plutarch, Cleopatra VII (l. c. 69-30 BCE) met Mark Antony (l. 83-30 BCE) aboard her ship outside the city's port-side gate, the ruins of which are a popular tourist attraction in the present day. Alexander the Great (l. 356-323 BCE) recuperated in Tarsus when he fell ill there after swimming in the Cydnus in 333 BCE after taking the city in his conquest of Cilicia.

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