5 Days Turkey Tour Package

Gaziantep Information

 

Gaziantep , Turkey

Gaziantep (Ottoman Turkish: عينتاب Ayntab, Arabic: عنتاب‎ or Arabic: عينتاب‎, Kurdish: Dîlok) previously and still informally called Antep; ʻayn tāb [ʕajn tæːb] is a city in southeast Turkey and amongst the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The city is located 185 kilometres (115 miles) northeast of Adana and 127 kilometres by road north of Aleppo, Syria. The city has two urban districts under its administration, Şahinbey and Şehitkamil. It is the sixth most populous city in Turkey.

According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, as of 2011 the city of Gaziantep had a population of 1,376,352 and its metropolitan municipality 1,393,289.
History


Antiquity


A lion from the ancient city of Sam'al (Hittite: Yadiya; Turkish: Zincirli Höyük) within the modern Gaziantep Province. Displayed at the Vorderasiatisches Museum (within the Pergamon Museum) in Berlin.
The Kilamuwa Stela (inscription of King Kilamuwa of the Kingdom of Sam'al) from the ancient city of Sam'al (Hittite: Yadiya) within the modern Gaziantep Province. Displayed at the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin.
Mask of Achelous (Greek: Ἀχελῷος Achelōos) on a Roman mosaic in the ancient city of Zeugma within the modern Gaziantep Province. Displayed at the Gaziantep Museum of Archaeology.
The famous so-called "Gypsy Girl" mosaic from the ancient city of Zeugma within the modern Gaziantep Province. Displayed at the Gaziantep Museum of Archaeology.

Gaziantep is one of the most developed provinces of the region and is also one of the oldest, its history reaching as far back as the Hittites. Being the center of pistachio cultivation in Turkey and with its extensive olive groves and vineyards, Gaziantep is one of the important agricultural and industrial centres of Turkey.

Gaziantep is the probable site of the Hellenistic city of Antiochia ad Taurum ("Antiochia in the Taurus Mountains"). The ruins of the Doliche (Turkish: Dülük) lie a few kilometers to the north of the city center and they are located in the natural setting of a forest arranged into a recreational area also including picnic and camping facilities.

In the center of the city stands the Gaziantep Fortress and the Ravanda citadel as reminders of past - the citadel was restored by the Byzantines in the 6th century. The Archaeological Museum, with its important collections from Neolithic and the Hittite ages as well as the Roman and Commagene times, attracts many visitors. A recent addition to the Museum's riches are the Roman mosaics discovered in Zeugma. The surroundings of the city are also full of valuable Hittite remains. The Hasan Süzer House, which has been restored to its original state, now houses the Ethnographical Museum. Yesemek Sculpture Workshop, 30 kilometers south of the town of Islahiye, is one of the world's first of this kind. Some of the other historical remains are the Zeugma (called also Belkıs in Turkish), and Kargamış ruins by the town of Nizip and slightly more to the north, Rumkale.

Gaziantep was ruled by Akkadians, Mitannis, Hittites, Neo-Hittites, Assyrians, Urartians, Babylonians, Persians, Macedonians, Parthians, Commagene, Romans, Byzantines, Sassanids, and Arabs.
 

Middle Ages

In the first half of the 7th century, Arab armies of the Muslim Caliphate captured this region. It was passed to the Umayyads in 661 and the Abbasids in 750. During the period of Arab rule, it was ravaged several times by the Eastern Romans (Byzantines). After the disintegration of the Abbasid dynasty, the city was ruled successively by the Tulunids, the Ikhshidids and the Hamdanids. In 962, it was recaptured by the Byzantines (Eastern Romans), and retained by them until the Seljuk conquest in 1067. The regime of the Anatolian Seljuks gave way to the Syria Seljuks in 1086. Tutush I appointed Thoros of Edessa as governor of the region.

It was captured by the Crusaders and united to the Maras Seigneurship in the County of Edessa in 1098. It reverted to the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm in 1150, controlled by the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia between 1155–1157 and 1204–1206 and captured by the Zengids in 1172 and the Ayyubids in 1181. It was retaken by Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm in 1218. It was ruled by the Ilkhanate between 1260–1261, 1271–1272, 1280–1281 and 1299–1317 and by the Mamluks between 1261–1271, 1272–1280, 1281–1299, 1317–1341, 1353–1378, 1381–1389 and 1395-1516. It was also governed by the Dulkadirids, which was a Turkish vassal state of the Mamluks.
 

Ottoman Period

The Ottoman Empire captured Gaziantep after the Battle of Marj Dabiq in 1516, during the reign of Sultan Selim I. In the Ottoman period, Aintab was a sanjak centered initially in the Dulkadir Eyalet (1516-1818), and later in the Aleppo vilayet (1908–1918). It was also a kaza in the Aleppo vilayet (1818–1908). The city established itself as a centre for commerce due to its location straddling trade routes. 17th century Turkish traveler Evliya Celebi noted that there were 3900 shops and 2 bedesten.
 

Republic of Turkey

Due to the valor of its inhabitants against the invading French, it was given the honorific title of 'Gazi' meaning 'veteran' and the city's name officially renamed Gaziantep. The Martyrs' monument commemorates the defense of the city and its hero Şahin Bey. Gaziantep was only a small city at the start of the republican period. However, it quickly became a regional hub and industry grew rapidly in the second half of the 20th century. This quick growth lead it to be designed as an "Anatolian tiger".
 

Politics

Gaziantep is traditionally said to reflect in advance the rising political trends in Turkey, according preference to ANAP in 1984, DYP in 1989, Necmettin Erbakan's (then named as) Welfare Party in 1994, and AKP in 2004 local elections. One exception was in 1999 when, boosted by the successful image of Gaziantep city mayor Mr. Celal Doğan, CHP came first with 17.02% of the votes for the Provincial General Assembly (with four parties scoring over 15%, and the rightist MHP's rise at that time (campaigning on Turkish-identity consciousness arguments) still being reflected by its second position after CHP for the province. DEHAP, campaigning on Kurdish-identity consciousness arguments, after having touched a modest 5% ceiling in 1999, seems to have ebbed down, its score under SHP's cover in 2004 local elections remaining at a still more modest 1.81% (with MHP at 5.36%). In any case, in 2004, AKP obtained 55.11% and CHP 21.57%, and all other parties below 6% at the Provincial General Assembly elections. Prime Minister Erdoğan is known to have deemed the local elections in Gaziantep as particularly important and to have mobilized considerable governmental weight beforehand.

The current Mayor of Gaziantep is Dr. Asım Güzelbey, who had previously served for 30 years as an orthopedic surgeon in the city, prior to the elections in 2004.
Mayors
Mayors of Gaziantep
Mayor     Years of service
Dr. Asım Güzelbey     2004–present
Celal Doğan     1989–2004
Ömer Arpacıoğlu     1984–1989
Economy
Medical Park Hospital in Gaziantep

Gaziantep is famous for its regional specialities: the copperware products and "Yemeni" sandals, specific to the region, are two examples. The city is an economic center for Southeastern and Eastern Turkey. The number of large industrial businesses established in Gaziantep comprise four percent of Turkish industry in general, while small industries comprise six percent. Also, Gaziantep has the largest organized industrial area in Turkey and holds first position in exports and imports.[3] The city is centre of the Green olive oil- based Nizip Soap industry.

Traditionally, commerce in Gaziantep was centre in covered markets known as 'Bedesten' or 'Hans', the best known of which are the Zincirli Bedesten, Hüseyin Pasha Bedesten and Kemikli Bedesten.

Gaziantep also has a developing tourist industry. Development around the base of the castle upgrades the beauty and accessibility to the castle and to the surrounding copper workshops. New restaurants and tourist friendly businesses are moving into the area. In comparison with some other regions of Turkey, tourists are still a novelty in Gaziantep and the locals make them very welcome. Many students studying the English language are willing to be guides for tourists.

Gaziantep is one of the leading producers of machined carpets in the world. It exported approximately $700 million USD of machine-made carpets in 2006. There are over 100 carpet facilities in the Gaziantep Organized Industrial Zone.

Gaziantep also produced 60,000 MT of pistachios in 2007. Turkey is third in pistachio production in the world, after Iran and USA. The town lends its name to the Turkish word for pistachio, Antep fıstığı, meaning "Antep nut".

In 2009, the largest enclosed shopping center in the city and region, Sanko Park, opened, and began drawing a significant number of shoppers from Syria.[4]
Places of interest


Museums in Gaziantep
Gaziantep Museum of Archaeology

Gaziantep Museum of Archaeology hosts ceramic pieces from the Neolithic Age; various objects, figures and seals from the Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages; stone and bronze objects, jewellery, ceramics, coins, glass objects, mosaics and statues from the Hittite, Urartu, Persian, Roman and Byzantine periods. The mosaics of the ancient city of Zeugma are also displayed at the museum.

Hasan Süzer Ethnography Museum has the old life style decoration and collections of various weapons, documents, instruments used in the defense of the city as well as the photographs of local resistance heroes.

Yesemek Open Air Museum is located in the village known by the same name, close to Islahiye District of Gaziantep. It is the largest open air sculpture workshop in the Near East and the ruins in the area date back to Hittites.

Gaziantep Defence Museum Before you enter the Panorama Museum located within the Gaziantep Castle, you encounter the statues of three local heroes Molla Mehmet Karayılan, Şehit Mehmet Kâmil and Şahin Bey at the entrance. As you enter the museum, you hear the echoes: "I am from Antep. I am a hawk (Şahin)."

Gaziantep War Museum This historical Antep house (also known as the Nakıpoğlu House) in Gaziantep is dedicated to the memory of 6,317 martyrs who perished while defending the city, becoming symbols of Turkey's national unity and resolve for maintaining independence. The story of how the Battle of Antep was won is narrated with audio devices and chronological panels.

Gaziantep Mevlevi Lodge Foundation Museum The dervish lodge is part of the mosque's külliye (Islamic-Ottoman social complex centered around a mosque). It was built in the 17th century. The Mevlevi Lodge Monastery is entered via a courtyard which opens off the courtyard of the mosque.

Emine Göğüş Cuisine Museum Gaziantep is known for its cuisine and food culture. A historical stone house built in 1904 has been restored and turned into the Emine Göğüş Cuisine Museum. The museum opened as part of the celebrations for the 87th anniversary of Gaziantep's liberation from French occupation.

Zeugma Mosaic Museum The biggest mosaic museum on the world, containing 1700m2 of mosaics.[citation needed] It opened to the public on 9 September 2011.
 

Gaziantep Historical Places


Wall paintings and floor mosaics in Zeugma

Zeugma is an ancient city which was established at the shallowest passable part of the river Euphrates, within the boundaries of the present-day Belkıs village in Gaziantep Province. Due to the strategic character of the region in terms of military and commerce since antiquity (Zeugma was the headquarters of an important Roman legion, the Legio IV Scythica, near the border with Parthia) the city has maintained its importance for centuries, also during the Byzantine period.

Doliche City Doliche village and its neighbourhood is located 11 kilometres north of Gaziantep have witnessed all major houses of humankind history and have caused their traces to reach up to today. It is almost open-air museum by means of stone tools used by people who had lived 30-40 thousand years ago, of Mithras underground temple, splendid rock graves, stone quarries from which giant rock blocks are produced.

Gaziantep Citadel Gaziantep Citadel, also known as the Kale, located in the centre of the city displays the historic past and architectural style of the city. Although the history of castle is a mystery, as a result of the excavations conducted there, Bronze Age settlement layers are thought to exist under the section existing on the surface of the soil.

Boyacı Mosque A historic Mosque in Şahinbey built by Kadı Kemalettin in 1211 and completed in 1357. It has one of the world's oldest wooden minbars which elaborately adorned with Koranic verses, stars and geometric patterns. Its minaret is considered one of the syymbols of the city.

Şirvani Mosque (Şirvani Mehmet Efendi Mosque), also called 'İki Şerefeli Cami' - One of the oldest Mosques of Gaziantep located in Seferpaşa. It was built by Şirvani Mehmet Efendi.

Ömeriye Mosque A mosque in Dügmeci. Tradition states that it was first built during the period of the Muslim Caliphate under the second Caliph Umar (hence its name), which would make it the oldest known mosque in Gaziantep. The modern mosque was restored at the site in 1850. It is known for its black and red marble mihrab.

Şeyh Fethullah Mosque A historic mosque built in 1563 and located in Kepenek. It has adjoining Turkish baths and a medrese.
Minaret of the Boyacı Camii Mosque

Nuri Mehmet Pasha Mosque Mosque in Çukur built in 1786 by nobleman Nuri Mehmet Pasha. Between 1958 and 1968, it was changed into museum but was reinstated as a mosque after an extensive restoration.

Ahmet Çelebi Mosque Mosque in Ulucanlar that was built by Hacı Osman, in 1672. It is noted for its elaborate wooden interior.

Tahtali Mosque Wodden Mosque located in Fiekeroglu, that was built in 1557. The mosque has a unique red marble mihrab.

Alaüddevle Mosque (Ali Dola Mosque) built by Dulkadir bey Alaüddevle Bozkurt. Consturction started in 1479 and it was completed in 1515. It has been restored recently with the addition of new entrance.

Ali Nacar Mosque Mosque in Yaprak ŞehitKamil one of the biggest Mosques in Gaziantep originally built by Ali Nacar. It was enlarged in 1816.

Eyüpoğlu Mosque Mosque built by the local Islamic saint Eyüboğlu Ahmet during the 14th century. There has been a major restoration, so much that that the present structure hardly resembles the original building.

Kendirli Church The Church was built in 1860 by means of assistance of French missionaries and Napoleon the Third. It is a Catholic Armenian Church. It has a rectangular plan and was built through white cut stones on a foundation of black cut stone within a large garden.

Pişirici Kastel The "kastel" (fountain) used to be part of a bigger group of buildings, and it is thought to have been built in 1282. "Kastels" are water fountains built below ground, and they are structures peculiar to Gaziantep. They are places for ablution, prayer, washing and relaxation.

Old houses of Gaziantep The traditional houses of Gaziantep are located in the old city: Eyüboğlu, Türktepe, Tepebaşı, Bostancı, Kozluca, Şehreküstü and Kale. They are made of locally found keymik rock and have an inner courtyard called the 'Hayat' which the focal point of the house.

Tahmis Coffee House The Tahmis Coffee House was built by the Turkmen Ağa and Flag Officer, Mustafa Ağa Bin Yusuf in 1635-1638, in order to provide an income for the dervish lodge. The building suffered two big fires in 1901 and 1903.
Gaziantep Zoo
Ramphastos vitellinus at the Gaziantep Zoo

Gaziantep Zoo is one of the largest zoos in Turkey. Especially interesting are the bird pavilion and the aquarium. Gaziantep Zoo offers a large variety of animals, attractive picnic grounds, and a cafeteria.
Gaziantep Historical Bazaars

Zincirli Bedesten is the Ottoman era covered bazaar of Gaziantep and was built in 1781 by Hüseyin Pasha of Darende. We know from records that there was formerly an epigraph on the south gate written by Kusuri, however, this inscription is not in place today. This bazaar was used as a wholesale market hall for meat, fruit and vegetables.
 

Gaziantep Historical Inns

Anatolia Inn The exact date of the inn's (caravanserai) construction is unknown, but it is estimated to have been built in the early 19th century. It is a two-storey building with two courtyards. It is said to have been built by Muhsinzade Hadji Mehmet Bey in 1892. The inn was repaired in 1985 and parts of the top floor were rebuilt.

Kürkçü Inn Classic Ottoman Inn in Boyacı built in 1890.

Old Wheat Inn The original building was constructed by Mustafa Ağa in 1640 to provide an income for the dervish lodge, but was completely destroyed in a fire. The exact construction date of the present building is unknown; however the architectural style suggests the 19th Century.
100th Anniversary Atatürk Culture Park with the Grand Mosque (Ulu Cami) of Gaziantep in the background

Şire Inn The building is built on rectangular plan and contains many motifs of classical Ottoman inn architecture. It was built with evenly-cut stones and the pitched roof is covered by tiles.

Tobacco Inn This inn has no epigraph showing the dates of construction or renovation, but according to historical data, the estimated date of construction is the late 17th Century. Ownership was passed to Hüseyin Ağa, son of Nur Ali Ağa, in the early 19th Century.

Yüzükçü Inn The construction date of this inn is unknown. The epigraph on the main gate of the inn is dated 1800, but the building apparently had been built earlier and was repaired at this date. The first owners of the inn were Asiye, the daughter of Battal Bey and Emine Hatun, the daughter of Hadji Osman Bey.
 

Turkish baths

The city is home to many Turkish baths (Hamams), most of which date from the Ottoman and Dulkadir beylik period, namely the Hüseyin Pasha Baths, İki kapılı Baths, Tabak Baths, Şeyh Fethullah Baths and Şehitler Baths.
 

Parks

100. Yıl Atatürk Kültür Parkı is the largest park in Gaziantep located in the centre of the city along the Alleben river which it borders for 5 km.
 

Cuisine


In Turkey, Gaziantep is famous for its baklava and is regarded the native city of this delicious dessert.
Lahmacun being served

Food in Gaziantep is different from the cuisine in other parts of Turkey because of the influence of Oğuz Turks and the culinary traditions of nearby Aleppo which was an important regional administrative center of the Seljuk and Ottoman empires. The difference is visible in its rice meals, soups, kebabs, Köfte (meatballs), etc. The meatballs come in varieties of çiğ köfte, içli köfte, meatball with malhita (lentils), sour small meatballs, and small meatball with yoghurt.

Antep's desserts are a must try for the tourist as well and they include the sweet pastry baklava (originally native to this city and famous throughout the former Ottoman lands), burmalı, künefe, kadayıf, etc. Antep is also famous for its slender and delicious type of pistachios (which are among the most valuable and fresh-tasted types in the global market.)

Its kebab varieties include the kıyma (minced meat) kebab, kuşbaşı (meat cut in goulash-type cubes) kebab, simit kebab, patlıcan (aubergine) kebab, ciğer (liver) kebab and soğan (onion) kebab. Other than these, make sure you at least taste the lahmacun, yuvarlama (mas soup) and karışık (mixed) dolama (a preparation made of different types of vegetables, yoğurtlu patates (potato with yogurt), beyran, etc.)
 

Popular culture

Gaziantep was made famous in Bulgaria and Greece by the Turkish TV series Yabancı Damat (literally The Foreign Groom), known in Bulgaria as Брак с чужденец (Marriage with a Foreigner), a love story between a Turk and a Greek. In Greece, the popular TV series is known as Τα σύνορα της Αγάπης (The Borders of Love). It is a love story between two youngsters, Nikos, a Greek boy, son of a wealthy Athenian ship owner; and Nazlı, daughter of a Gaziantep baklava maker. Due to the historic rivalry and hatred between the Greeks and Turks, a love affair between these two youngsters is received badly by both families. The dislike between the two families increases as the episodes pass, with the Turkish family being more strict towards their daughter. The main culprits, however, are the two grandparents (Nikos' grandmother and Nazlı's grandfather), who reach extreme points in order to stop the youngsters' wedding. The TV series was launched in 2004 and was well known in both countries.

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