Paul says "I am a Jew born in Tarsus in Cilicia." Where was Tarsus and what kind of a place was it? Cilicia was located in what is Turkey at the northeastern tip of the Mediterranean Sea. Tarsus was a remarkable city.
The famous ancient, Greek geographer, Strabo, said it was a center of culture and learning that, in Paul's time, surpassed even legenday, ancient Athens. Small wonder that Paul was proud of his birthplace.(Acts 21:39) Celebrities who made it a point to visit Tarsus were Cleopatra, the famous Egytpian queen, Julius Caesar, and Augustus Caesar. Because of the importance of Tarsus, its people were granted Roman citizenship. This citizenship save Paul's life more thanonce (Act 22:25-29) Like all Jewish boys, Paul was taught a trade to earn a living He learned the art of "tent-making," althought the Greek original Greek word could be translated as "leatherworking." Paul worked at this trade even during his missionary days. (Acts 18:3) Paul left to study under the great Gamaliel (Acts 5:34, 22:3). He returned to Tarsus for a period after his conversion to Christianity.