Adana lies in the heart of ukurova, a geo-cultural region alternatively known as Cilicia. Home to six million people, ukurova is one of the largest population concentrations in Turkey, as well as the most agriculturally productive area, owing to its large stretch of flat, fertile land. Region covers the provinces of Mersin, Adana, Osmaniye, and Hatay.
According to numerous sources, the name Adana is derived from the Hittite URUAdaniya of Kizzuwatna, while others assert that it is related to the legendary character Danaus, or to the Danaoi, a mythological Greek tribe who came from Egypt and established themselves in the Greek city Argos. The earlier Egyptian texts for a country Danaja are inscriptions from Thutmosis II (1437 BC) and Amenophis III (13901352 BC). After the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization (1200 BC) some refugees from the Aegean area went to the coast of Cilicia. The inhabitants Dananayim or Danuna are identified as one group of the Sea Peoples who attacked Egypt in 1191 BC during the reign of Ramesses III. Denyen are identified as inhabitants of the city Adana. It is also possible that the name is connected with the PIE da-nu (river) Da-na-vo (people living by the river), Scythian nomad people, water demons in Rigveda (Danavas).
In Hellenistic times, it was known as Antiochia in Cilicia ( ) or Antiochia ad Sarum ( ; "Antiochia on the Sarus"). The editors of The Helsinki Atlas tentatively identify Adana as Quw (as contained in cuneiform tablets), the Neo-Assyrian capital of Quw province. The name also appears as Coa, and may be the place referred to in the Bible, where King Solomon obtained horses. (I Kings 10:28; II Chron. 1:16). The Armenian name of the city is Atana or Adana.
According to an ancient Greco-Roman legend, the name has its origins in Adanus and Sarus, the two sons of Uranus, who came to a place near the Seyhan (Sarus) River, where they built Adana. An older legend relates the city's name to Adad (also known as Tesup or Ishkur), the Thunder God in the Akkadian, Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian and Hittite mythologies, who was believed to live in the nearby forest, and whose name was given to the region. The Hittites' names and writings have been found in the area, evidencing this possibility. The theory goes that since the Thunder God brought so much rain and this rain in turn brought such great abundance in this particular region, this god was loved and respected by its inhabitants and, in his honor, the region was called the "Uru Adaniyya"; in other words "the Region of Ada".
Adana's name has had many different versions over the centuries: Adanos, Ta Adana, Uru Adaniya, Erdene, Edene, Ezene, Batana, Atana, Azana, Addane.