Mersin’s population is 842,230 (2009 estimates). The city has a State Opera and Ballet (the fourth after Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara) and many other modern urban amenities, but lacks the long-established nightlife and culture of Istanbul or Izmir. Mersin International Music Festival was established in 2001, and takes place every October. The photography association Mersin Fotograf Derneği (MFD), is one of the most popular and active cultural organizations in the city. Some cultural activities are sponsored by the İçel sanat kulübü (i.e., Art club of Mersin). There is a museum in the city centre. Mersin is the summer residence place of choice of many Adana residents.
4% of all Dutch companies in Turkey are based in Mersin.
There are 2 State and 2 Private Universities in Mersin.
Mersin University is a State University built in 1992. The university has a number of foreign and guest academic staff. It has a Faculty of Arts and Science, a Faculty of Fine Arts, a Faculty of Architecture and a Faculty of Communication. The Faculty of Fine Arts has departments in painting, sculpture, graphic design, ceramics and textiles. The Cinema-TV, Music and Photography departments exist on paper but have no students.
Events and organizations that are relevant for art and culture in Mersin are:
- Mersin classical & Jazz (different kinds of music)
- Art gallery Altemira
- Every year in May, there is an International Music and Folklore Festival.