TURKEY: GAZIANTEP

Posted November 20, 2009 by David McGuinness

Gaziantep used to be known simply as Antep but after some heroic defence against French troops in the 1920s “Gazi-” (meaning “Veteran” or “War hero”) was prefixed to the name of the city. Ataturk, the nation’s hero and founder said that the heroes of Gaziantep had not only saved their city, they had saved the whole of Turkey. After a very early start (waking up at 2.40am) I caught my flight to Gaziantep, and arrived in the early morning sun. After checking into my hotel, I started out to visit the city. First stop was the impressive citadel,towering over the city and giving some excellent views across the city. Inside there is a was memorial detailing the defense of the city against vastly superior French forces that has since passed into legend.
 

From there I visited the colourful markets and the impressive and very friendly coppersmiths markets where I had various offers of tea and no strong arm sales tactics often found in Middle Eastern markets, some ancient houses and finally the museum of Gaziantep.

The mosaics inside are probably the best I have seen anywhere in the world, particularly the famous “Gypsy Girl mosaic” which is totally captivating. After checking out some lovely boutique hotels housed in builings over 100 years old, I then had the tough task of assessing Gaziantep’s culinary claims. Where I live in London there is an abundance of baklava (pistachio pastries) shops and I have tasted Damascus’ finest too but I have to say the baklava in really is something special here. The fresh kebabs with succulent lamb and fresh salad are also worth writing home about, even if only to make your friends jealous.

This blog is part of an Off-The-Beaten-Track Travel Diary. Click on the links below to navigate through this journey.

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