Gaziantep, which is the eighth largest city in Turkey in terms of population density, is the most developed city in the Southeastern Anatolia Region. It never loses its first place in terms of industry. It is also the largest city in the region. Its location is the intersection of Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean, which is why it has been a destination for many civilizations throughout history. Today, it is possible to see remnants from the Paleolithic period, Roman times, and different eras. This diversity of Gaziantep has also led to the influence of different religions.
Gaziantep is still a mysterious city that has become the center of different cultures and religions. Dülük and Kale are the oldest settlements of Gaziantep. Dülük, known as Doliche and Teluck, was located on a commercial road. Settlement has been shaped from here to Gaziantep Castle. It is known that the name of Antep was Hantap in Byzantine. It was conquered by the Anatolian Seljuks during the reign of Sultan I. Mesud. Later, it was invaded by the Mongols and looted during the time of Timur. It came under Ottoman rule during the reign of Yavuz Sultan Selim. In the Ottoman period, it experienced a golden age and investments were made in the city. In World War I, the city was besieged by British and French forces. The city fought during the war, from women to children, and received the title of Gazi for their struggle in the war. After the Republic was declared, the city began to regain its former power. It has become the most important commercial and cultural center of the region.
Historical Places in Gaziantep
Although copper production has lost its meaning compared to past times, this tradition has been continued for half a century in Gaziantep. The best copper craftsmen still continue to grow in the region. Bakırcılar Çarşısı, where craftsmen produce items that strongly reflect the texture of history, is the first stop in Gaziantep. The most visited bazaar by tourists is also one of the oldest places in the region. The smiling shopkeepers and the stone streets offer a magical atmosphere. Knowing that our ancestors used to shop in these streets centuries ago is a different feeling. The buildings in the bazaar, located in the area where the inns are located, are single-story and made of limestone. The bazaar also received the "Success Award" from the Historic Cities Association.
The Zeugma Mosaic Museum is the second stop on our Gaziantep trip. It was restored and opened to visitors in 2011. It is the largest in the world as a mosaic museum. The mosaics found in the ancient city of Zeugma were moved here, and the museum was named after the ancient city. Especially the mosaic of the Gypsy Girl is worth seeing. You can visit the museum with a museum card.
The Zincirli Bedesten, also known as the Kara Basamaklı Bedesten, was built by Hüseyin Pasha. The bedesten, located in the Kunduracılar Bazaar, has a total of eighty shops. A poem is located in the inscription section of the two-story building. The area, which was used for judiciary purposes when it was built, was destroyed in a fire that occurred in 1957. Although renovation work was carried out in the area that turned into ash after the fire, it could not be saved and it is now a meat and vegetable market.
Millet Hanı was built by Sadrazam Lala Mustafa Pasha. It carries all the characteristics of the caravanserais of the Ottoman era. A major restoration was carried out in 2003 to strengthen its imposing structure. We recommend that you do not pass without seeing Gaziantep Castle, which is located just three hundred meters away, after exploring and resting inside this massive building. Rumkale is one of the oldest historical buildings in the city. There have been long debates about whether the castle belongs to Şanlıurfa or Gaziantep. Eventually, it remained in Gaziantep. Rumkale, located near Kasaba Village, was given names such as Kale-i Zerrin. The castle, which is close to the Euphrates River, is also surrounded by dam waters. After seeing such a magnificent place like Halfeti, you can visit the castle by boat.
The Natural Beauties of Gaziantep
Hızır Plateau, which is covered with greenery all year round, is one of the most special places in Gaziantep. A city with such a historical texture also reveals its connection with nature. Those who see the plateau, which was declared a tourism zone in 1994, are amazed and cannot forget that moment for the rest of their lives. Countless wildflowers and tulips cover the soil in the plateau. It is mixed with silence and peace. The only thing that breaks the silence is the sound of birds.
If you don't want to wake up from the enchantment of Hızır Plateau, we recommend you to go to Burç Forest, which is home to imposing trees. The forest is so big that it can tire you out after walking around. There are recreation areas to get rid of this tiredness. The entrance to the forest is possible through the zoo. It is also possible to come here with buses departing from the center, which you can find at any time.
After leaving the embrace of nature, we recommend adding Şarklı Cave, which is an example of nature's craftsmanship, to your list. The cave, located on Keber Hill, was formed naturally. The cave has a depth of 17 meters and a width of 84 meters. Mussels were found during the excavation work in the cave. Mussel remains show that the cave existed during the Epipaleolithic Age and that there was also a lake in the cave.
What to Eat and Drink in Gaziantep?
You have come to one of the most famous cuisines not only in Turkey but also in the world. It is so famous that it hosts thousands of tourists from various parts of the world every year just for its delicious food. The first thing that comes to mind in Antep's important commercial life and cuisine is undoubtedly baklava. We claim that it is impossible to taste the baklava made in these lands anywhere else in the country. The environment in which it is made and the ingredients used are specific to the region. Even when taken from here and sent to another city, its taste changes. A magnificent flavor made of layered phyllo dough and decorated with varieties such as walnuts, pistachios, and hazelnuts.
After baklava, the favorite of Antep cuisine is meat dishes. Beyran soup may seem like a soup, but it is actually a stew. This dish, which contains lamb, beef, garlic, and inner fat according to your preference, is quite nutritious and filling. Zucchini stuffed with minced meat, pistachio, and pepper is called Şıhıl Mahşi and served with garlic yogurt.
Soup yuvalama, spinach cacikli arap meatballs, eggplant meatballs, alinazik, simit kebab, kölük aşı, leek, onion, chickpeas, yogurt, egg, lamb meat are all-inclusive dish called Şiveydiz, katmer, kahke are some of the flavors we recommend you to try in Gaziantep during weddings and holidays.
How to Get to Gaziantep?
You can go to Gaziantep by private car, intercity buses, or air travel. The most comfortable transportation will be by plane. The distance between Istanbul and Gaziantep by plane takes about 1 and a half hours. It would be wise to rent a car or consider the transfer option to explore the city after the airport. The same distance would take more than 12 hours by car. It takes less than 3 hours to travel from surrounding cities such as Adana, Hatay, and Mersin.