Adana’s history dates back to roughly 3.000 years ago. Archeologists unearthed remains of sites built in Palaeolithic Era from the city. Tepebağ Hill Town where archeologists found a stone wall and a city centre was built in Neolithic Era and it is thought to be the oldest city of Çukurova Region. A Sumerian epic, Epic of Gilgamesh mentions a city called Adana, but the geographic details given in the epic are too vague to be found.
Accroding to Hitit Kava inscriptions found in Hattuşaş (Boğazkale), Kizzuwatna was the first kingdom to rule Adana under the protection of Hittites around 1335 B.C. The city was also called Uru Adaniya and its citizens were called Danuna. In 1191-1189 B.C., western raids started after the collapse of Hittites Empire and passed the ruling of lowlands to a large number of smaller kingdoms. Assryians ruled in the region in 9th century B.C; Persians in 6th century B.C, Alexander the Great in 333 B.C followed by Seleucids, Cilician pirates, Roman statesman Pompey and Cilicia Armenian Kingdom (Cilicia Kingdom).
Adana’s history has an inherent connection to Tarsus’ history. Both cities are located near the Seyhan River which shifts the city borders constantly. Therefore, the two cities were usually referred to as the same and the names changed throughout the centuries. For Roman Empire, Adana was relatively less important and Tarsus was the metropolis of the region. In the age of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, the city was used as a prison for Cilicia pirates. A few centuries later, a local station was founded on the Roman military road leading east. After the official collapse of Roman Empire in 395 A.D, the region became a part of Byzantine Empire and probably was developed further during Julianus’ ruling. Adana and Cilicia became the most important and most developed trade centre of the region following the building of huge bridges, roads, civic centers, watering systems and plantation. Ayas (named Yumurtalık today) and Kozan (formerly named Sis) were the secondary metropoles and civic centers, especially in Cilician Period.
Adana was respectively ruled by Luvian Kingdom (1900 B.C), Arzawa Kingdom ( 1500-1333 B.C), Hittite Empire (1900-1200 B.C), Assyrians (713-663 B.C), Persian Empire (550-333 B.C), Helen Ancient Greek Civilization (333-323 B.C), Seleucid Empire (312-133 B.C), Cilicia Principality (178-112 B.C), Roman Empire (112 B.C-395 A.D), Byzantine Empire (395-638; 964-1071), Abbasids, Great Seljuk Empire, Mamelukes, Ramazanoğlu Principality, Ottoman Empire and Turkey throughout history.