Gaziantep (685 km southeast of Ankara) is one of the modern provinces of the region and also one of the oldest of Hittite origin. Being the center of pistachio nut cultivation in Turkey and with its extensive olive groves and vineyards, Gaziantep is one of the important, industrial centres of Turkey. In the center of the city stands the Gaziantep Fortress and the Ravanda citadel as the reminders of past. The Archaeological Museum, with its important collections from neolithic and the Hittite ages as well as the Roman and Commagene times, attracts many visitors. The surroundings of the city are also full of valuable Hittite remains. The Suzer House, which has been restored to its original beauty, now houses the Ethnographical Museum.
City, south central Turkey. It is situated near the Sacirsuyu, a tributary of the Euphrates, in limestone hills north of Aleppo, Syria. The city was strategically situated near ancient trade routes, and recent excavations have unearthed fragments of pottery indicating settlement there in the early 4th millennium BC. Known as Hamtap in the Middle Ages, the city was an important stronghold guarding the Syrian routes and was captured by Turks in 1183. Thereafter it changed hands among various Turkmen and Arab dynasties and Mongol and Timurid invaders until its final absorption into the Ottoman Empire in the early 16th century. Called Ayintab (Arabic ‘Ayntab: “Good Spring”) under the Ottomans, it was occupied by the British in 1919 and by the French until 1921. By then it had become a centre of Turkish nationalist resistance to European occupation. Upon its return to Turkey in 1922, Mustafa Kemal (later called Ataturk), founder of the republic, renamed it in honour of its heroic stand (Turkish gazi, “champion of Islam”). Well-built, with stone houses, paved streets, and covered bazaars, Gaziantep is bordered by gardens, vineyards, and olive and nut groves.
Historical buildings include the ruined fortress built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I (6th century AD) and mosques dating from the 11th and 16th centuries. A medieval theological college houses an archaeological museum that has an outstanding collection of Hittite seals unearthed in the region. The surrounding area is delimited on the south by Syria and on the east by the Euphrates River. A region settled since antiquity, it includes the ancient sites of Duluk (ancient Doliche; site of the shrine of Jupiter Dolichenus); Kilis (the Assyrian Kilisi); and the neo Hittite city of Samal (Zincirli Hoyuk; q.v.). Gaziantep, the biggest city in the southeast of Turkey and the sixth biggest one in Turkey, is one of the first settlements in Anatolia. Ruins which belong to the Stone Age, Calcoholitic, Copper age, Hittite, Mitani, Assyrian, Roman and Byzantine, Islam and Turkish – Islamic Period can be traced everywhere in the area.
The region was under the Hittite control in the 1700s BC. The ancient city of Duluk, which is in the north of the city today, was an important religious center of the Hittites. During the period of Caliph Omar as a result of the wars to spread the Islam out of the Arab Peninsula, the Moslem troops who defeated the Byzantine Army at Yermuk in 636 under the command of lyaz Bin Ganern captured the area. As a result the people admitted Islam and Omeriye Mosque was built in this period as a symbol of the conquest. After the. Manzikert victory in 1071, Suleiman Shah conquered Antep and surroundings in 1084 and annexed the area to the Seljuk Empire. On August 20,1516 Yavuz Sultan Selim Khan came to Antep and stayed here for three days. After Mercidabik Victory against Memaluks in 1516 the city came under the reign of the Ottoman Empire. Gaziantep, which was called Ayintap, Antep, Kala-i Pusus, and Hantap, got its name from the depth of the history and the title from the Independence War with full of heroism.
Gaziantep, which is a leader in trade and industry in the region, is an important city with its Independence War Memories, the rich historical and cultural surroundings, highways, international airport, train station, delicious foods, extraordinary handicrafts, mosques, fortresses, caravansaries, baths, tombs, churches, castles, plateaus, excursion and picnic places. The Gazianten district from an historical geographic point of view has a North Syria Anatolian (Asia Minor) culture somewhere between east-west, situated on military and trade routes as well as being a crossroads, in today’s Turkish Geopolitical make-up is still an important factor. For this reason, almost all cultures from the historic ages have influenced the Gaziantep district which has more than 250 mounds, which were first formed in the Neolitic age by the collective gathering of items from settlements reflecting culture and architectural advancement levels with each level belonging to a town, village or settiement.
The oldest Anatolian findings attributed to man were some stone tools found in the Dollik Paleolitic cave, dated 600 thousand years ago, in the mid-Paleolitic age cultural life, especially from the Bronze age, Gaziantep and its environs shows signs of being a bustling settlement. This region was active in the Hum, Hitite Empire, Late Hitites, Assyrian, Persian, Hellenistic and Roman periods. Along with the Byzantians and Islamic periods, the Crusades of the Middle Ages brought new geopolitical forces and made Gaeiantep the scene for many historic events. The Gaziantep Museum has had more than 35 working sites for joint efforts and rescue digs, as well as scientific digs with all artifacts now located in the museum. In 1998 the Director of Museums sponsored 11 archeological digs usually with the assistance of the Gaziantep Museum and a total of 64 thousand artifacts were discovered.