Sunday, February 11, 2024

Gaziantep

Gaziantep

Gaziantep, or informally known as Antep, is a city in Southeastern Anatolia.

Gaziantep, previously and still informally called Antep, is a city in southeast Turkey and among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The city is located 185 kilometres (115 mi) northeast of Adana and 97 kilometres (60 mi) north of Aleppo, Syria. It is the sixth most populous city in Turkey. Apart from being renowned for cuisine, Gaziantep is also an industrial city having the third biggest industry in Turkey, which makes it vulnerable to migration from other cities, especially the East.

Get in
By plane
Gaziantep International Airport. Gaziantep has an international airport and has direct flights to major cities in Europe, especially in summer. It is also well-connected with daily flights to major cities in Turkey, allowing to reach different destinations easily. It is 15 km from city center. You can reach the city center from the airport with the Havaş shuttle service, departs after most incoming flights and with ring buses-Karataş- Vilayet- Havaalanı . It takes 30 minutes to reach the city center.

By bus
The coach station “otogar” in Gaziantep is one of the most convenient stations in Turkey. It is well-integrated with most of the cities in the West and the East. The local coach companies, “Seç Turizm, Ben Turizm and Çayırağası” provide excellent service with punctual arrivals. As a common Turkish tradition, you might expect 5 to 10 minutes delays on departure, yet the drivers compensate it on the high way. From Istanbul, it usually takes 15 hours by express overnight buses. From Ankara, it takes 9 hours and from Izmir it is 16 hours. But don’t worry, Turkey has surprisingly perfect motor ways and comfortable coaches with beverage offerings will make your journey safe and relax.

By train
Passenger trains no longer run to Gaziantep. The railway lines to Adana for Istanbul and Ankara, to Mosul in Iraq, and to Aleppo in Syria, are all closed indefinitely.

Get around
The city centre is reasonably compact and walkable. There are plenty of local buses if you prefer and of course taxis for tired feet. Archaeological Museum. This local archaeological museum hosts some stunning mosaics excavated from the nearby Roman site of Zeugma. The museum, which also has a small cafe inside, is wheelchair accessible.
The Castle’s Museum. It is a great opportunity to learn from the Turkish point of view what happended in the WWI, especially what concerns to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the further occupation.  It’s worth the ridicule price even if the museum is a bit too detailed on the national heroes. the view from the top of the castle is amazing
Kitchen Museum, (look for the signs near the casle, can’t miss it). Museum about Turkish traditional cuisine, food, ingredients, tool and bon tòn. Very interesting.
Zeugma Mosaic Museum, Mithatpaşa Mahallesi Hacı Sani Konukoğlu Bulvarı 27500, Şehitkamil, Gaziantep. Zeugma Mosaic Museum, in the town of Gaziantep, Turkey, is the biggest mosaic museum on the world, containing 1700m2 of mosaics.

Visit the castle, explore the bazaars and don’t forget the museum. There are a lot of museums in the center of city, especially some of them are close to castle. You should go Mosaic Museum (close to stadium), Medusa Museum (Glass Museum), Martyr’s Museum, Dervishes Museum (Mevlevihane), Hasan Süzer Etnographia Museum.

Buy
You can buy a lot of traditional things in Gaziantep. You should try Bakırcılar Çarşısı, a traditional bazaar in the center of the city. You can buy baklava, nargile (hooka pipe), yemeni (local leather shoes) and much more. Prices here are much better than the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.

As the centre of a large pistachio-growing region, as the groves along the highway leading to Gaziantep indicate, you can find many stores selling this local product (known in Turkish as Antep Fıstığı, i.e. “Pistachio of Antep”, an expression which surpassed the former name of Şam Fıstığı, i.e. “Pistachio of Damascus”, used during Ottoman period), both fresh (not very tasty, though) and also in a salty roasted variety (a lot more delicious!).

Eat
Antep is known for its cuisine that is heavily influenced by its southern neighbours. The city is renowned for its local variety of kebab (Antep kebabı). You can find many places that sell spicy kebabs here. Make sure you enter a place that is crowded and order ayran with your kebab. Try a lahmacun, which is minced, marinated, spiced meat with minced vegetables on an extremely thin, crunchy dough. Lahmacun can be made with garlic or onions, in general, you will find garlic ones in Antep. Antep is also famous for its pistachios. You can find fresh, unroasted pistachios as well as roasted ones. Try the spicy nuts. Beyran a spicy lamb soup with rice served for breakfast. Katmer a thin phyllo pastry stuffed with sheep cheese, pistachios, and sugar served for breakfast. Upon finishing your dinner, make sure to have baklava made with pistachios. Also, you can try the hot desserts with a scoop of ice cream on top. Antep is known for its food, and meals there are one of the highlights of visiting the region. So enjoy yourself.

Drink
Many of Antep’s drinking establishments are basically for picking up women. However there are some nice birahane (“beer-houses”) where you can enjoy a quiet drink in peace.

Meyan Şerbeti. Licorice root drink served for free in the bazaar area. Often annouced as ‘Turkish Cola’.
Dut Suyu. Mulberry juice.
Menengiç Kahvesi. Coffee made from the terebinth berry with a nutty flavor.
Zahter Çayı. Thyme flavored tea.

Get out
From city’s otogar you will find numerous agents selling tickets to dozens of destinations including Istanbul, Konya, Van, Dogubeyazit, and Antalya to name a few. Buses leave frequently.

A week in Southeastern Anatolia — A seven-day long itinerary starting (and finishing) in Gaziantep and drawing a circle in Southeastern Anatolia, touching all major sights of the region.

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