Welcome to Gaziantep!
Located in the country’s southeastern region, Gaziantep, Turkey, is well-known for its beautiful Ottoman and Seljuk architecture and offers plenty of cultural attractions and historical sites worth exploring. It is also a popular foodie destination producing some of the most delicious baklava, kebabs, and fistic (pistachio), in the country. Whether you wish to explore the colorful streets of the historic old town, visit the city’s amazing museums, hang with the students from Gaziantep University, or enjoy local culinary treats, the city offers something for every traveler.
Exploring this epicurean city as a worldwide local, allows you to discover some of Gaziantep’s finest attractions and learn more about the local culture. In this insider’s travel guide, expect to find plenty of useful tips from the locals and recommendations for sites worth visiting.
Begin at the Heart of the City
Built in the 12th century, the city’s main Kale (Citadel) is a great place to start your visit, to Gaziantep. The Kale is nestled in Gaziantep’s Old City which is an ideal place to mingle with locals and admire the beautiful architecture around you.
For the History Buff
To learn more about the history of Gaziantep, tour the fabulous Gaziantep Ethnography Museum. Situated inside a nicely-decorated Ottoman mansion, the museum houses a nice collection of costumes and boasts dozens of rooms where travelers can see a variety of artifacts from the Ottoman era.
Home to Roman mosaics and Karkamis exhibits, the Archeological Museum in Gaziantep is one of the newest museums in the city. Here, you will also find a nice collection of ancient stamp seals.
Worldwide Local Tip: Located just a short walk from the Old Town, the lovely Bey Mahallesi neighborhood is not to be missed. From historical houses made from KeyMik stone to a few cozy cafes, this neighborhood is definitely the most picturesque part of the city.
A Can’t Miss Neighborhood
Situated on the south side of the Kale, the Coppersmiths’ Bazaar (Bakircilar Carsisi) is probably one of the most interesting areas in the city. Explore the area’s narrow streets to witness copper masters making handicrafts, shoemakers creating cute leather shoes, and a bunch of other local artisans working at their craft.
While you are in the neighborhood, go where the locals go and check out the oldest coffee house in the city, Tahmis. Dating back to the 17th century, this coffee house is usually packed with locals playing a game of backgammon and serves the most delicious pistachio coffee and strong Turkish brew.
Worldwide Local Tip: Besides coffee, Gaziantep offers a couple of interesting local drinks worth trying. Order Meyan Şerbeti, a rather unusual drink that you can purchase from traditionally dressed street vendors. It has a bitter flavor and the locals describe the drink as Turkish coca-cola. Dut suyu can be described as mulberry juice and is also a popular drink here. Locals advertise it as a natural antibiotic.
Built in 2009, Gaziantep’s botanical garden houses a nice collection of herbaceous plants and a wide variety of shrubs. Some of the highlights of this place include life-size artistic models which are made from plants and dozens are endangered plants. The botanical garden is also a very popular destination for wedding photoshoots.
Eat Like a Local
Food is one of the main reasons why travelers flock to Gaziantep. The city is well-known for its exquisite cuisine, including plenty of savory dishes and delicacies like baklava, kebabs, and fistik (pistachio). To learn more about the local cuisine, don’t leave the city without paying a visit to the Emine Gogus Culinary Museum. This small museum offers plenty of information about the region’s cuisine, as well as food demonstrations and videos.
Worldwide Local Tip: Wondering where to try all these local treats? Kebabçı Halil Usta is the best place in the city to try kebab, while the Ayintap and Katmerci Zekeriya Usta serves delicious baklava.
Enjoy Your Visit!
Exploring Gaziantep can be an unforgettable experience, especially if you are traveling as a worldwide local who wishes to get to know the city from a local perspective, and wants to discover the city’s finest sites from a different point of view.