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Kahramanmaras Information

Kahramanmaraş , Turkey

Kahramanmaraş (kurdish: Gurgum an Mereş) is a city in southeastern Turkey and the administrative center of Kahramanmaraş Province . The city lies on a plain at the foot of the Ahır dağı (Ahır Mountain) and has a population of 430.000 as of 2011. The region is best known for its production of salep, a flour made from dried orchid tubers, and its distinctive ice cream. It is connected by air to Istanbul and Ankara. Turkish Airlines has daily direct flights from İstanbul and also Anadolu Jet operates direct flights from Ankara.


Kahramanmaraş was called Germanicia Caesarea (Γερμανίκεια, Germanikeia, in Greek) in the time of the Roman and Byzantine empires. (According to an article published in newspaper Cumhuriyet on 20 December 2010, the first ruins of Germanicia have already been unearthed in the Dulkadiroğulları quarters of the city.[2])

Germanicia was taken from the Byzantines by the Muslim Arabs in 645 AD, to whom the city was known as Marʻaš (Arabic: مرعش [ˈmarʕaʃ]), which is also the Syriac name (Syriac: ܡܪܥܫ). Marash was an important Syrian Orthodox diocese. Mor Dionysius Bar Salibi (+ 1171) was its bishop.

Maraş was used as a base for incursions into Asia Minor by Arabs. It was destroyed several times during the Arab-Byzantine struggles. It was rebuilt by the Umayyad caliph Muawiya I and was expanded to 800 by the Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid. It was also part of Tulunids, Ikhshidids and Hamdanids before Byzantine reconquest in 962.

After the defeat of Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, Philaretos Brachamios, former Byzantine general founded a principality, stretched from Antioch to Edessa. Germanikeia was centre of it.

Germanikeia was captured by Baldwin I of Jerusalem in 1098 during First Crusade and was part of County of Edessa. It was an important centre during Crusaders rule. According to the Chronicle of Matthew of Edessa, it was destroyed by an earthquake and 10,000 people were killed, which is probably an exaggeration. In 1135, Danishmends besieged Germanikeia unsuccessfully. Baldwin of Germanikeia died in a war in 1146. He was trying recover Edessa Nur ad-Din Zangi which had taken the side of Joscelin II of Edessa. His successor, Reynald of Germanikeia also died in battle of Inab against Zengids and Mesud I, Sultan of Rum took the city in 1149.

Maraş was captured by Zengids in 1151 but recaptured by Seljuks in 1152. But, Maraş was recaptured by Zengids and was left to Mleh, his collaborator. Maraş passed to Ayyubids in 1182.
View along Trabzon Avenue (Trabzon Caddesi)

Kaykhusraw I, Sultan of Rum captured Maraş. Seljuk rule lasted to 1253. In 1253, Maraş fell to the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, following the invasion of Anatolia by the Ilkhanate. Maraş was left to Armenians on condition that he be a vassal of the Mongols. Maraş was captured by Al-Ashraf Khalil, Mamluk Sultan in 1292. But, it was recaptured by Hethum II, King of Cilician Armenia. Maraş finally passed to the Mamluks in 1304.

Maraş was ruled by Dulkadirs, as vassals of Mamluks between 1337-1515 before being annexed to the Ottoman Empire. In the early days of Ottoman rule (1525-6) there were 1,557 adult males (total population 7,500), at this time all the inhabitants were muslims.[3] Later a substantial number of non muslims immigrated into the city mainly in the 19th century. [4] Ottoman rule, the city was at first centre of Eyalet of Dulkadir (Also called Eyalet of Zûlkâdiriyye) before first half of 19th century, later in was a sanjak centre in the Vilayet of Aleppo before 1918.

Until 1973, Kahranmanmaraş was known as Maraş, pronounced Marash. It received its modern name on October 7, 1973, when the Grand National Assembly of Turkey added "Kahraman" to the name. The addition of "Kahraman" ("Hero" in Turkish) was in commemoration of the victory against French forces during the Battle of Maraş in the Turkish War of Independence. After the war, Maraş also received the Turkish Medal of Independence, given to the city as a whole for such actions as the Sütçü İmam Incident.

In December 1978, Kahramanmaraş was the site of a massacre of leftist Alevis. A Sunni nationalist group, the Grey Wolves, incited the violence that left over 105 dead. The incident was important in the Turkish government's decision to declare martial law, and the eventual military coup in 1980.

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