Gaziantep is another important crossing from Anatolia to Syria and Mesopotamia. Sarkli Cave near Dülük village in this province was inhabited as early as Paleolithic Age. People once lived in this area developed a special instrument known as "Dolikien" in human history. Findings in Kargamis, Sakçagözü, Yunus and Turlu point out to human inhabitation in Neolithic Age whereas Tilmen, Gedikli, Saraga and Tilbesar were the settlements of Chalcolithic Age. Yesemek, Tilmen, Sakçagözü, Gedikli and Zincirli are important centers yielding many finds dating back to the Hittites. Among these centers, Sakçagözü, Karkamis and Zincirli are unique in terms of their pieces of sculpture displaying integrity with the architecture of the time as well as Hittite hieroglyphs, which influenced western and Aegean culture in terms of style and religious motifs. In the antic city of Zeugma (meaning "crossing point"), spectacular mosaics worked with colorful gravel, frescoes, sculptures and architecture are quite striking. Other historical-cultural properties of the province include Gaziantep Castle, Bakircilar Bazaar, Sira Han, Tuz Han; Ahmet Çelebi, Boyaci and Seyh Fetullah mosques; mausoleums of Hisar, Elif and Hasanoglu and finds in Rumkale settlement.
Gaziantep province extends over a territory of 7,642 km2. Its population is 1,293,849 according to the provisional results of the Population Census of 2000. Besides central district, its peripheral districts are Araban, Islahiye, Kargamis, Nizip, Nurdagi, Oguzeli, Sahinbey, Sehitkamil and Yavuzeli.
Gaziantep is the most developed province of all Southeastern Anatolia in terms of industrial and commercial activities. In agriculture, it is important with pistachio bearing its name as well as vineyards and olive orchards. Today, Gaziantep is a lively center of industry and commerce with its cement, textile, foodstuffs, tanning, footwear, margarine, soap, woodworks, metal processing and machinery industries and plants. It is also an "export gate" with 120 different items exported to about 40 countries.
Turkish Sweet Pastry (Baklava)
Though there is no definitive information as to the first construction of the castle, it can be inferred that it was first built by the Romans as a watchtower and then enlarged in time. The castle took its present shape in the 6th century AD, during the reign of Justinianus, Byzantine Emperor. This circle-plan castle with a circumference of 1200 meters has 12 bastions. There is the tomb of Mehmet Gazali, a mosque and a bath in the castle. It is presumed that there are underground paths leading to the nearby river.
One can see the traditional houses of Gaziantep mostly at the central town known as Sahinbey. Reflecting the settled features of traditional architecture, these houses stand adjacent to each other on both sides of narrow streets. They are two-story houses having their yards and outer walls. Doors and window cases reflect the finest examples of traditional woodworking.
Hz. Yusa Tomb
It is in Dügmeci neighborhood of the city. There is no information on how old it is, but surviving records indicate that the mosque was restored in 1210. The crown gate and niche of the most were both made of colored stones. Fine examples of stone working can be seen in the gallery of its minaret.
It is in Tabakhane neighborhood of the city. There is, again, no information on how old it is, but surviving records indicate that the mosque was built by a carpenter named Ali. The year 1213 is read on stairs leading to its minaret. It is presumed that the mosque was restored in 1213.
SEYH FETULLAH MOSQUE
This mosque in Kepenek neighborhood is also known as Asagi Seyh Mosque. Seyh Fetullah, the builder of the mosque, is believed to have descended from Hz. Ebubekir. This mosque exhibiting the characteristics of Seljuk architecture survived to our times without losing its authenticity.
Tahmis Coffee Shop
This mosque in Tepebasi neighborhood had originally been constructed as a church in 1892. After having been used as a church and prison, it was converted into mosque. It is one of the biggest mosques in Gaziantep.
This structure, known among people as "Black Stairs Market", was constructed in the 18th century. The market has five main gates and 80 shops in. It reflects the architectural features and commercial life of the 18th century.
It was built by Müftü Haci Osman Efendi in the 18th century. The marketplace has a rectangular plan with two main gates and built of ashlar.
Its critical location on the trade route leading to Syria and Mesopotamia boosted commercial life in Gaziantep in all epochs of history. Historical inns testify this lively past and some of them are still active today. As a matter of fact, Menzil, Sire, Tütün, Lala Mustafa Pasa, Mecidiye, Emir Ali, Anadolu, Kürkçü, Belediye, Elbeyli, Yeni Yüzükçü, Haci Ömer and Millet inns as historical buildings are still important today in the commercial life of the city despite some architectural changes that have taken place.
HASAN SÜZER ETHNOGRAPHY MUSEUM
This old manor in Bey neighborhood was restored by Hasan Süzer, a businessman, and transferred to the Ministry of Culture. As a fine example of traditional architecture, the museum exhibits ethnographical pieces reflecting the commercial and cultural life of the city in the past. Among exhibited items, there are also weapons, instruments, documents and pictures dating back to the early 20th century when the city was resisting a siege.
Antic City of Dülük
ANTIC CITY OF DÜLÜK
This antic city is located at the vital point of a network of ancient trade routes. Dating back to the Paleolithic age, inhabitants of the antic city exploited rich flint stone beds in their area and exported various goods to many settlements in the Euphrates Valley. The antic city is located on Teber Hill in Dülük village, to the east of the railway and surrounded by vineyards and pistachio orchards. On the western face of the hill, there are caves and an underground temple. In the necropolis of the antic city, there are many rock graves.
Antic City of Dülük
There are many assumptions regarding the first inhabitants of Rumkale. Some historians assert that the city of Şitamrat captured in 855 BC by the Assyrian King Salmanassar III and the settlement Urum (Hörüm) to the north of present day Belkıs village on the Euphrates were the first settlement area of Rumkale, while others maintain that Urima was nothing but Rumkale. Rumkale used to be a religious center for long time during Christianity until it was captured in 1292 by Melik El-Esref, a Mameluk Sultan. To the south and north of Rumkale rising over the Euphrates, one can observe a chain of fortification comprising many fortresses and towers. Rumkale is the most important link in this chain. Though largely destroyed, remains in Rumkale include the manor of the castle keeper, Saint Nerses Church dating back to the second half of the 12th century, water storages and a well.
This antic city, one of the most important centers of the east during antiquity, is located to the south of present day Karkamış district. The antic city is right on the Syrian border. In fact, while the inner castle and city to the west remain in Turkish territory, other parts are in Syria. The legend of Gılgames is described in the orthostats of the city. Today, one can observe the walls of the inner and outer parts of the city and remains of houses. The main entry is in the western part of the city.
The antic city of Zeugma is 10 km to the east of Nizip District (Gaziantep Province). The importance of Zeugma as an antic city inhabited throughout history derives from its location offering rather easy crossing over the Euphrates. It was one of the four important centers of the Kingdom of Kommagene towards the end of the 2nd century BC.
When the region was occupied by the Roman Empire, establishment of a Roman military garrison known as the IV. Legion further boosted the growth and development of the city. Starting from the 1st century AD, Zeugma became a very rich and active center in military, commercial and cultural terms. Growing commercial activities as well as settlement of retired military officers of the Roman army created an elite layer in the city, which further encouraged cultural and artistic development.
In the middle of the 2nd century AD, however, the city was destroyed during the military operations of Persians heading west. The city never regained its old glamour after this destruction. During the rule of the Byzantine, the city further lost its geographical importance as trade routes shifted far away to Birecik. No reference was made to the city of Zeugma starting from the 11th century, suggesting that the city was then largely deserted.
The GAP Regional Development Administration sought for funds to expand the coverage of excavation and rescue activities in the antic city carried out by the Ministry of Culture and mobilize further support to these activities. In this context, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the US based Packard Humanities Institute (PHI) on 8 June 2000 whereby the Institute committed to provide 5 million US $ to finance further archaeological excavation, rescue and restoration works in the antic city. Under the overall coordination of the GAP Administration and Gaziantep Museum, the operation was professionally conducted by the Oxford Archaeology Unit (OAU) with funds provided by the PHI under the permission of the Ministry of Culture and with the contributions of Gaziantep Governorship and Birecik A.S.
Yesemek Open Air Museum
YESEMEK OPEN AIR MUSEUM
Yesemek Open Air Museum is in the village of Yesemek, attached to Islahiye District in Gaziantep. It is the largest open sculpting workshop in Western Asia. In fact it is a "sculpturing school" where we can observe all stages in the process starting from the transfer of stones from a quarry and up to the finalization of sculptures.
Yesemek Open Air Museum
Historical records and researches suggest that this "workshop" was started around 1375-1335 BC when the region was occupied by the Hittites under Suppililluma and Hurs, the local people, were employed in quarries and stone working. After scientific researches and excavations a rich collection comprising sphinxes, lions, mountain gods and various architectural pieces was obtained.
HANDICRAFTS IN GAZIANTEP
Rich handicrafts products of Gaziantep find considerable marketing outlets both within and outside the country. Souvenirs and other pieces for tourists are marketed at such big centers as Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya and Ankara as well as in foreign countries.
Traditional Footwear (Yemeni)
Copper works, pearl ornamenting, traditional footwear, kilim weaving, bed covers, gold and silver works are the leading handicrafts in the city.
Gaziantep is the only province of Turkey where traditional kutnu cloth production is made. This special cloth is used in traditional dresses as well as in various other goods such as souvenir items, handbags, slippers, curtains, etc. other fine works in the city include pearl ornamentation, furniture, wooden desks for reading Koran, trousseau boxes, rifle and shotgun coverings, etc.