The presence of courtyards with their place-bounded and life-affirming characteristics is becoming more important in contemporary Mediterranean cities, which are in need of contextual consolidation and transformative processes for new developments that could be done without loosing the basis and the memory of their ecological existence. As the core of the basic living unit (house), courtyard constitutes a sophisticated spatial construct with all levels of both interaction and separation between the domestic and the wild, inside and outside, self identity and culture, privacy and publicity. It forms a contact ground between man, nature and cosmos. The role of the courtyards within the city fabric are essential at that point because of their capacity to embody this basic ecological and life-generating essence united and assimilated in their built form. Although under the pressure of fast urban sprawl, the courtyard houses of the city of Antakya, which are the leading actors in this study, are expressing unique values of biodiversity in a city center that is still home to a multicultural community, their houses of worship, public and private institutions. This study is an attempt to explore a more comprehensive understanding of the role of courtyards where the human impact, in forming them and living in them, can be taken as an ecological factor in generating and maintaining biodiversity in urban landscape of that particular eastern Mediterranean city. If courtyards can be considered as the primary unit of the city -the larger context which is ecologically and socially producedthen a study on the courtyard houses of Antakya, based on experiences of living quality of these special places, may give a chance to discover the ecological and social links between the natural and cultural evolution of the urban fabric, and to reveal the archetype which is offering unique opportunities for urban biodiversity.