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Gaziantep (Ottoman Turkish: Ayintap; previously and still informally called Antep) is the capital city of the Gaziantep Provincemarker in Turkeymarker. It is amongst the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. The city has two central districts under its administration, Şahinbeymarker and Şehitkamilmarker, and the metropolitan area has a total population of 1,252,329 (2007) and an area of 7,642 km² (2,950 sq mi). Gaziantep is the sixth largest city in Turkey and the largest city in the country's Southeastern Anatolia Region.


Gaziantep was originally called Aïntap, but after some centuries the name shifted to Antep. The origin of the name is shrouded in mystery, but there are several theories:
  • "Aïntap" may be derived from "Khantap", meaning "king's land" in the Hittite language.
  • "Aïntap" means "full of springs" in Persian.
  • "Aïn", a word of praise, and "tap", meaning "spring", may have combined to form the name.

In 1921, "Antep" was legally renamed "Gaziantep", meaning "Antep the veteran".



Gaziantep is the probable site of the Hellenistic city of Antiochia ad Taurum ("Antiochia in the Taurus Mountains"). The ruins of the Doliche ( ) lie a few kilometers to the north of the city center and they are located in the natural setting of a forest arranged into a recreational area also including picnic and camping facilities.

Gaziantep is one of the most developed provinces of the region and is also one of the oldest, its history reaching as far back as the Hittites. Being the center of pistachio cultivation in Turkey and with its extensive olive groves and vineyards, Gaziantep is one of the important agricultural and industrial centres of Turkey.
Zeugma mosaics in Gaziantep Archaeology Museum
In the center of the city stands the Gaziantep Fortress and the Ravanda citadel as reminders of past - the citadel was restored by the Byzantines in the 6th century. The Archaeological Museum, with its important collections from Neolithic and the Hittite ages as well as the Roman and Commagene times, attracts many visitors. A recent addition to the Museum's riches are the Roman mosaics discovered in Zeugma. The surroundings of the city are also full of valuable Hittite remains. The Hasan Süzer House, which has been restored to its original state, now houses the Ethnographical Museum. Yesemek Sculpture Workshop, 30 kilometers south of the town of Islahiyemarker, is one of the world's first of this kind. Some of the other historical remains are the Zeugma (called also Belkıs in Turkish), and Kargamış ruins by the town of Nizipmarker and slightly more to the north, Rumkalemarker.

Gaziantep was ruled by Akkadiansmarker, Egyptians, Mitannis, Hittites, Neo-Hittites, Assyrians, Urartians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Armenians, Parthians, Commagene, Romans, Byzantines, Sassanids, and Arabs.

Middle Age

In the first half of the 7th century, Arab armies captured this region. It was passed to the Umayyads in 661 and the Abbasids in 750. During the period of Arab rule, it was ravaged several times by the Eastern Romans (Byzantines). After the disintegration of the Abbasid dynasty, the city was ruled successively by the Tulunids, the Ikhshidids and the Hamdanids. In 962, it was recaptured by the Byzantines (Eastern Romans), and retained by them until the Seljuk conquest in 1067. The regime of the Anatolian Seljuk gave way to the Syria Seljuks in 1086. Tutush I appointed Thoros of Edessa as governor of the region.

It was captured by the Crusaders and united to the Maras Seigneurship in the County of Edessa in 1098. It reverted to the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum in 1150, occupied by the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia between 1155-1157 and 1204-1206 and captured by the Zengids in 1172 and the Ayyubids in 1181. It was retaken by Seljuk Sultanate of Rum in 1218. It was ruled by the Ilkhanate between 1260-1261, 1271-1272, 1280-1281 and 1299-1317 and by the Mamluks between 1261-1271, 1272-1280, 1281-1299, 1317-1341, 1353-1378, 1381-1389 and 1395-1516. It was also governed by the Emirate of Dulkadir, which was a Turkish vassal state of the Mamluks.

Ottoman Period

Ottomans captured Gaziantep after Battle of Marj Dabiq in 1516. In the Ottoman period, Aintab was sanjak center at first in Dulkadir eyalet (1516-1818), after in the to of Aleppomarker (1908-1918). It was also kaza in Halep province (1818-1908).


According to the Ottoman census of 1543, the Aintab subdivision of the governorate-general of Aleppo contained fifteen tribes, all Turkmen. Much of the Aintab elite was also of Turkmen origin. In the same period, Aintab's demographic makeup stood out from the rest of Aleppo province or other surrounding provinces, since its non-Muslim population was relatively small and uniformly Armenian Christian, while the neighboring governorate-general of Dulkadir (Maraşmarker) was approximately 4,5% non-Muslim and that of Diyarbakırmarker was approximately 15 per cent. At that period Aintab appears to have had no Jewish community, although a Jewish financier, most probably based in Aleppo, figured prominently in the city's economic and administrative life.

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica of 1911, by the end of the 19th century, it had a population of about 45,000, 2/3 of which was Muslim, largely Yörük Türkmens. The presence of a Jewish community can be inferred from the frequency of the surname "Antebi" among Syrian Jews.

Of the Christians, the majority were Armenian. The Gregorian Armenians suffered from the massacres of 1895, but the Armenian Protestants thrived, drawn by the American Mission Board's Central Turkey College. There was a sizable Armenian population in the city before World War I, but after the Franco-Turkish War between 1919-1921, there were almost no Armenians left. The remains of old Armenian churches may still be found, but they are mostly unmarked.


Gaziantep is famous for its regional specialities: the copper-ware products and "Yemeni" slippers, specific to the region, are two examples. The city is an economic center for South Eastern and Eastern Turkey. The number of large industrial businesses established in Gaziantep comprise four percent of Turkish industry in general, while small industries comprise six percent. Also Gaziantep has the largest organized industrial area in Turkey and holds first position in exports and imports.

Gaziantep also has a developing tourist industry. Development around the base of the castle upgrades the beauty and accessibility to the castle and to the surrounding copper workshops. New restaurants and tourist friendly businesses are moving into the area. In comparison with some other regions of Turkey, tourists are still a novelty in Gaziantep and the locals make them very welcome. Many students studying the English language are willing to be guides for tourists.

Gaziantep is one of the leading producers of machined carpets in the world. It exported approximately $700 million USD of machine-made carpets in 2006. There are over 100 carpet facilities in the Gaziantep Organized Industrial Zone.

Gaziantep also produced 60,000 MT of pistachios in 2007. Turkey is third in pistachio production in the world, after Iran and USA. The town lent its name to the Turkish word for "pistachio", antep fıstığı, meaning "antep peanut".


Gaziantep Zoo
Gaziantep is well-known for its culinary specialties, which shows Arabic and Assyrian in addition to Turkish, influences. The festive food yuvalama (rice and meat rolled into pea-sized balls), the delicious lahmacun (also known as Turkish pizza) and baklava are some examples.


Gaziantep Anatolian High School (founded in 1976) is a public school focusing on English language education.

Gaziantep Science High School is a public boarding high school in Gaziantep, Turkey with a curriculum concentrating on natural sciences and mathematics, and with teaching in Turkish.

The main campus of Gaziantep University is located 10 kilometers away from the city center. The institution acquired state university status in 1987, but had already offered higher education since 1973 as an extension campus of the Middle East Technical Universitymarker.

Popular culture

Gaziantep was made famous in Bulgariamarker & Greece by the Turkishmarker TV serial "Yabancı Damat" (literally The Foreign Groom), known in Bulgariamarker as Брак с чужденец (Marriage with a Foreigner), a love story between a Turk and a Greek. In Greece, the popular TV series is known as Τα σύνορα της Αγάπης (The Borders of Love).

Notable people from Gaziantep

International relations

Twin towns - Sister cities

Gaziantep is twinned with:

See also


  1. Türkiye istatistik kurumu Address-based population survey 2008. Retrieved on 2008-03-21.
  2. Statoids, Districts of Turkey Retrieved on 2008-03-21.

External links

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