Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras
|To travel along
Turkey's southern border, take the highway which connects Gazi Antep,
SanliUrfa and mardin.htm to Syria and Iraq.
Gazi Antep, located on a wide and fertile plain cultivated with extensive
olive groves and vineyards, produces a variety of agricultural crops. It
is especially known throughout Turkey for its excellent pistachios.
Industry also contributes to the local economy. The 36 towers of the
city's fortress were originally constructed in the Justinian era and were
later rebuilt by the Seljuks. The Archaeology Museum has important items
from Neolithic, Hittite and Roman times. The Hasan Suzer House, from the
turn of the century, has been beautifully restored and houses the
Ethnographical Museum. The artisans of Gazi Antep specialize in copperware
and furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl. The kitchens produce some of
the best lahmacun, a delicious pizza topped with spicy meat and heros,and
baklava, a honey and nut pastry.
West of Gazi Antep, the Duluk forest makes a good day's outing, or you can
stay overnight in the campsite. In the woods, stroll through the Duluk
archaeological site which dates back to prehistoric times. A Hittite
sculpting school was centered in Yesemek, where the 200 works of art on
view reveal the beauty of Hittite art. Next to the Syrian border, on the
banks of the Firat River, Kargamis, once a late Hittite capital, is
another important archaeological site. The site's finds, including immense
bas-reliefs, have been moved to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in
The ruins of Belkis (Zeugma) are on the borders of Nizip.It has a mound
which has been turned into a citadel.The mosaics from the Roman period are
well worth seeing.
Kilis situated near the Turkish-Syrian border enroute to Gazi Antep is an
especialy charming area, dotted with vineyards and olive groves on all
sides. It was orginaly known as Kilizi (mentioned in the Assyrian archives)and
was a very important town in ancient days for frontier commerce. It is
still famous today for its cotton, Silk weaving and leather products.
Several interesting sites in Kilis include the 16th century Canbolat Bey
Complex ancient 15th century baths a dervish room dating from the 19th
century, the 14th century Ulu Mosque and the 16th century Akcurum Mosque.
Near Kilis there are several sites worth seeing.Enroute from Kilis to Gazi
Antep is Ravanda Castle, constructed by me Crusaders and restored by the
Mamelouks. Kuzeyne (Kuzuini) located 5kilo meters northeast of Kilis
resembles an open-air museum with its castle and mosaics. Many diverse
cultures settled in this area, including: Hittite, Roman and
This is a perfect piace for archaeclogy buffs because there are many ruins
here. Korus (Kiriz) is 20kilometers east of Kilis where an ancient Roman
center with castle ruins, a temple and theater are definitely worth seeing.
In the 12th century B.C., Kahraman Maras was the capital of the Hittite
state of Gurgum. A massive citadel built in the 2nd century B.C. houses
the city's museum and its good collection of Hittite sculptures. Other
sites include the 15th century UIu Mosque and the Tas Medrese. The ice-cream
of Kahraman Maras, thickened with gum arabic and beaten with a wooden
paddle, is known throughout Turkey.