Gaziantep, Turkey

From a sleepy town famous for its pistachio nuts, Gaziantep has grown to be the commercial powerhouse of Turkey’s Southeast (map).

At the city center is the Kale (citadel) which is truly ancient, dating back some 9000 years. Clustered around it are some historic neighborhoods which preserve some old stone houses among the characterless modern ones.

Because it is a booming business center, Gaziantep has lots of good hotels and even a few historic inns.

The Coppersmiths’ Bazaar (Bakırcılar Çarşısı) on the south side of the Kale has been spruced up and is well worth some time. Coppersmiths and other artisans work at their crafts in the narrow streets, now shaded by modern coverings from the intense sun and infrequent rains.

The Archeological Museum holds the Roman mosaics recovered from the inundation of ancient Zeugma by a dam project.

The Hasan Süzer Ethnographic Museum is an interesting old restored Gaziantep house fully furnished in the fashion of the late 19th and early 20th century.

In recent years the quiet old pistachio-growers’ town has seen modern office buildings rise in its center, and high-rise apartment blocks crowd its outskirts. Its population is pushing toward a million…but it still grows some of the best pistachios in the world. Try ’em plain, or in the local baklava, which is wonderful.


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