Malatya Tourist Attractions
Eastern AnatoliaSituation and ImportanceThe provincial capital of Malatya lies in the middle of the southeast Anatolian highlands (Eastern Taurus) at the southeastern edge of a fertile plain crossed by the River Euphrates. The modern market town and industrial center is only 150 years old. For many centuries during the summer the population of today's Eski Malatya (Old Malatya) plied between the town and the well-irrigated garden suburb of Aspuzu in the foothills of the Bozdag, but in the winter of 1838/9 Ottoman troops (who had been engaged in the battles with Mehmet I the rebellious Ottoman governor of Egypt) were billeted in the town. In the circumstances the local population preferred to spend the winter in Aspuzu and this new settlement became new Malatya. Consequently the town possesses few buildings of historical interest.HistoryThe oldest settlement Milidia is mentioned in some 18th century B.C. cuneiform scripts and is said by the Roman historian Pliny the Younger to have been founded by the legendary Assyrian queen Semiramis. It lies 8km/5mi northeast of modern Malatya. More precise information dates from the first half of the first millennium B.C. when the late Hittite capital Milid came under Assyrian influence.By A.D. 70 the Greek town of Melitene, modern Eski Malatya, 5km/3mi to the north was emerging. The town had become famous as an important crossroads and as headquarters of the Roman "Legio XII Fulminata", whose fame and reputation derive from a legend. According to this legend, in response to the prayers of the Christian soldiers lightning struck the legion's opponents. Emperor Trajan raised Melitene's status and in Byzantine times Justinian built a wall around the town. Main roads were constructed to Tephrike (Divrigi) and to Samosata on the Euphrates (Samsat). In 575 Melitene was the scene of a Byzantine victory over the Persian Chosroes I, who burnt the city to the ground before fleeing.After an uncertain period between the seventh and 10th century Malatya belonged to a number of fortified towns along the so-called Thugur line between Syria and Armenia, the disputed border between Byzantium and the Çaliphate. Several conflicts (751, 837, 841) led to the destruction and subsequent rebuilding of the city.Around the middle of the ninth century the Paulicans a militant religious movement found refuge with the emir in the town, which was at that time under Arab occupation. In 934 Melitene came under Byzantium rule until 1071 when the Seljuks captured the town and installed an Armenian as the provincial governor, but he then he sought political independence. Crusaders occupied the town for a short time but in 1106 it was recaptured by the Seljuks and then fell to the Danishmend dynasty. From 1168 it reverted to Seljuk rule, although between 1235 and 1395 it had to face attacks from the Mongols. Selim I took Melitene with Eastern Anatolia for the Ottoman Empire.