Malatya, located in the Eastern Anatolia Region, is the 27th most populous city in Turkey. It is located between the Upper Euphrates and the Southeastern Taurus Mountains. Mountains extend to Malatya Plain. In Malatya, a geographical area with such features, plateaus, plains, and rivers play a large role. Malatya is located at a commercial point between continents. It serves as a commercial and cultural buffer between different continents. Therefore, it has been in an important position in many scenes of history. It was called Melitene by Romans and Byzantines and Malatiyye by Arabs. In Hittite, Malatya means honey and fruit garden. Historically, Malatya dates back to the Hittites. It was once an provincial center for Byzantium. When the Islamic world conquered the region, it became the most important center of the border. Malatya was taken by the Seljuks after the Battle of Malazgirt. It was the capital of the Danişmendoğulları for forty years. Later, it passed to the Mamluks. However, when Yavuz Sultan Selim defeated the Mamluks, these lands passed to the Ottomans.
During the Ottoman period, it was first attached to Kahramanmaraş, and then attached to Diyarbakır when rebellions arose. After the declaration of the Republic, it gained provincial status. As everyone knows, Malatya is the paradise of apricots. It is the main center of apricot production.
Historical Sites in Malatya
Places in a historical city like Malatya have witnessed many things. Each civilization that came brought its own culture and historical sites with it. Therefore, it has a multicultural and diverse history. Our first stop in this distinguished city is the Arslantepe archaeological site, one of the symbols of the city. This area, where the settlement dates back to BC, carries traces from the Neolithic era and ancient Rome and Byzantium. The site is located in the Battalgazi district, just west of the Euphrates River. The geographical conditions in which it is located have always made the region attractive in history. Excavations are still underway at the mound.
The exact construction date of the Stone Bridge, located on the Kozluk River, is not known. Cut stone blocks were used in its construction, and it carries traces of Roman architecture. It has been standing upright for centuries. The most basic structures that reveal a city's historical element are its bridges, castles, and walls. In a city with such a deep history as Malatya, there are also such structures that have survived from past to present. Malatya Castle was built by the Roman Emperor Trajanus and has survived to this day. Evliya Çelebi referred to the castle as the Rakabe Castle. Although the castle was destroyed until the Ottoman period, it has been restored and opened to visitors in our recent history.
Silahtar Mustafa Pasha Caravanserai is a typical Ottoman structure with its magnificent architecture. It was built by Mustafa Pasha in 1637. It is an important structure as it is located right above the trade route to the East. Commercial shops were built in the courtyard for commercial purposes at the time it was built. However, today this area is only used for tourist purposes.
Tashan is a magnificent historic structure consisting of two different sections. The reason for calling them two different structures is that they were built at different times. The structure has three walls and different inscriptions are found on the walls. Three different languages such as Armenian, Syriac, and Turkish can be seen in the inscriptions. In addition to the han, there is also a bath and a mosque nearby.
While you are in Malatya, it is impossible to skip the tombs. The Somuncu Baba Tomb is the most famous of these tombs. Located in Darende, the tomb is located on the Tohma Canyon. It was originally used for worship by those who stayed with Somuncu Baba. Somuncu Baba is one of the famous scholars of the Ottoman era. It was restored by the Republic of Turkey, and a complex was added to it. The pool located at the entrance of the tomb adds a separate beauty to the structure.
The New Mosque is located in the Battalgazi district. The construction of the mosque was completed in 1913. Made of cut stones, the mosque has a decorative pool and colorful flowers in its garden.
Malatya's Natural Beauties
The Gunpinar Waterfall is a symbol of the beauty that nature offers to humans. It is evidence that nature can provide beauty that no human-made creation can. The flow of the waterfall, the sounds it makes as it flows, and the surrounding vegetation are all worth seeing. If you ever find yourself in the area for work or travel purposes, we recommend that you do not leave without seeing the waterfall. The next stop after the waterfall is the Tohma Canyon. The canyon, located in Darende, is on steep cliffs and a rugged valley. In recent years, tourism investments have been made in the canyon, and it was opened to visitors after 5-6 years.
Orduzu Pinarbasi is one of the clean and magnificent recreation areas in the region. Surrounded by pine trees, it is like a source of oxygen. The small pond in the area creates a postcard-like image.
Sports and Adventure in Malatya
The Tohma Canyon located in Darende is powerful enough to meet the region's sports and adventure needs alone. The Kudret Pool is also located in the canyon, and it is believed to have healing properties for various illnesses. The biggest activity in the canyon is rafting. Especially in recent years, interest in rafting has increased significantly. If you plan to go rafting, we recommend reserving your spot in advance. For those who want to do sports with less adrenaline, nature walks in the canyon are ideal. Don't forget to bring your phone or camera on these walks. You're sure to take fantastic nature photos. If you're a professional climber, you're in the right place. You'll see other professionals like you on the steep rocks in the canyon.
What to Eat and Drink in Malatya?
If you're on a diet, we recommend staying away from Malatya. It's impossible to eat little in a cuisine that creates magnificent flavors by working magic with bulgur. You won't want to leave this kitchen. Pastries, desserts dominated by apricots, and regional flavors... Who can resist the taste of gırık, where butter, minced meat, and bulgur are combined without bread? You'll regret not trying bulgur meatballs, nahna kuftesi, and the healing black soup made from black lentils unique to Malatya. Definitely try their spicy ayran, which is made by combining two different yogurts and jasmine pepper and letting it rest until evening. Analı kızlı, içli köfte, pimpirim soup, and Malatya kömbesi are other local flavors that extend their name to big cities like Istanbul. And of course, we left the star of the cuisine, the apricot, for last. You can find apricots everywhere you go because this is its homeland. We recommend trying the apricot dessert. Also, take kilos of apricots to distribute to your friends and family.
How to Get to Malatya?
Transportation to a city like Malatya, which has steep rocky and rugged terrain, was quite difficult many years ago. However, transportation investments suitable for the city's potential have been made in recent years. Today, transportation is possible by road, air, and rail. Buses operate from all cities in Turkey. Those who prefer air transportation can come to the city through Erhaç Airport located in Akçadağ. There are also direct flights from Frankfurt to the airport. Another alternative is to come to the city by train from Ankara and surrounding cities. Van Lake, Fırat, and South Kurtalan Express are available to get to the city. Those who want to come by car can choose to rent a car.