Gaziantep Tourist Attractions
Western southeast AnatoliaSituation and ImportanceOn the east side of the Maras trench (the northern continuation of the Jordan trench between Antakya and Maras) a 500m/1,640ft high step fault in the form of a wall of intrusive rock with a covering layer of Tertiary limes and marls, marks the boundary of the gently undulating Gaziantep plateau.
At the center lies Gaziantep itself, the provincial capital and economic hub of the region. Sprawled in the shadow of its mighty fortress crowning an enormous hüyük (settlement mound), Gaziantep is a modern industrial city. Around it the countryside is given over predominantly to tobacco growing and groves of fruit and nut trees, pistachio nuts and olives in particular.HistoryAs the perennially disputed frontier region between Asia Minor and Syria, over which many different armies have fought, the area around Gaziantep has had a chequered history. In the late Hittite period it was the site of an important settlement which fell to the Assyrians during Sargon's reign. Thereafter in antiquity the city was overshadowed by Doliche 10km/6mi to the northwest, coming to dominate the region only in the Byzantine period. Known by this time as Ayntap (Good Spring), it was held between 1071 and 1098 by the Seljuks who, in place of an earlier fortress built by the Emperor Justinian, constructed the citadel. In 1097 Ayntap was in Crusader hands. It suffered badly during the Egyptian occupation in 1832-40 (Mehmet Ali). From 1918 to 1921 it was under first British and then French military administration, resistance to which earned Antep the honorific title "Gazi" (Gazi Antep, i.e. "Warrior" Antep). There are no notable antiquities in the city.
The archeological museum in Istasyon Caddesi in Gaziantep has finds excavated at Zincirli, Karkamis and Sakçaközu; also an extensive collection of Old Near Eastern cylinder and stamp seals.
This interesting 11th century mosque is found on Öguzeli Caddesi, the road out of Gaziantep to the southwest.
The well preserved citadel from Seljuk times in Gaziantep occupies the site of a earlier Justinian fortress (sixth century) on the northern edge of the Old City. The ancient Tell Halaf (hüyük) on which it stands is known to have been settled as early as about 3,500 B.C. The Byzantine fortress, inside the walls of which there were also houses, is said to have been built with the proceeds of sale of a valuable piece of jewelry belonging to the Emperor's sister.
The district town of Araban, on the southern edge of the Altintas Ovasi, was earlier known as Altintas, from a village to the west, Eski Altintas, near to which (i.e. south) is located Altintas Kalesi, a medieval fortress now in very poor condition.
About 10km/6mi northwest of Gaziantep near the village of Dülük are the sparse remains of Gaziantep's ancient rival Doliche, which until 637 far exceeded Gaziantep in importance. The site of a temple to Jupiter Dolichenus, Doliche was later made a bishopric, and gave the surrounding area its name, Teluch. After surrendering to the Arabs without a fight, and despite construction of a frontier fortress during the reign of Haroun el Rachid (786-809), the town ceded its dominancy to Ayntap further to the southeast. There are some rock tombs which are worth seeing.
Near the moderately-sized town of Kilis some 53km/32mi southwest of Gaziantep, stands the medieval fortress of Ravanda Kalesi. In the town itself is the Canbolat Bey Külliyesi with a mosque, türbe, old bath house and monastery.
In the vicinity of Sakçagöz, a township about 50km/30mi west of Gaziantep, there are five old settlement mounds, the smallest of which has already yielded the remains of a palace with an ante-room and defensive wall, as well as portal lions, sphinxes and stone blocks carved with reliefs (eighth century B.C.; now in Ankara). In all, twelve levels of occupation were identified, from the Stone Age to the first century. Excavation of Karahüyük, about 5km/3mi to the northeast near the village of Gedikli, has revealed a flourishing Early Bronze Age trading settlement with a wealth of finds dating back to the Chalcolithic period.
Perched on a large settlement mound about 30km/20mi southeast of Gaziantep, near the township of Til Bahram, can be seen Turbessel Fort. A gate, fragments of wall, and some fortress buildings have survived.