Gaziantep; A City Full of History and Flavors

Culture Tourism

Read Time: 9 min 39 sec


Tourism is a people-oriented industry by its nature (Anatolia: Journal of Tourism Researches, 2016).

For many countries, tourism is one of the most important items in meeting the current deficit. Also, tourism not only provides a foreign currency inflow but also plays a role in regulating the macroeconomic equilibriums by creating many employment opportunities (International Journal of Academic Research in Economics and Management Sciences, 2017).

In this article, I tackle with Gaziantep which is one of the most important cities of Turkey and the world at the intersection of gastronomy, architecture, and history tourism. I will mention the world-famous cuisine, historical streets, and architectural masterpieces of Gaziantep, which has a high-income potential tourism resource.

Gaziantep (Turkish pronunciation: [ɡaːˈziantep]), previously informally called Antep (pronounced [anˈtep]), is the capital of Gaziantep Province, in the western part of Turkey's Southeastern Anatolia Region, some 185 kilometers east of Adana and 97 kilometers north of Aleppo, Syria. It is probably located on the site of ancient Antiochia ad Taurum, and also is near ancient Zeugma.

Gaziantep's included in UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the field of gastronomy with its rich culinary heritage and therefore, the city also presents a relevant case to examine the culinary resources from the resource-based view.

The city's 2 urban districts under its administration, Şahinbey, and Şehitkamil. It is the sixth-most populous city in Turkey and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

Gaziantep was formerly called Antep or Aīntāb (عين تاب) in Ottoman Turkish and also Armenian, 'Aīntāb (عينتاب) in Arabic.


Ottoman Period and Architecture

The Ottoman Empire conquered Gaziantep after the Battle of Marj Dabiq in 1516, under the reign of Sultan Selim I. In the Ottoman period, Aintab was a sanjak centered initially in the Dulkadir State, and also later in the Aleppo Province (1908–1918).

The city established itself as a center for commerce/traded due to its location straddling trade routes. The 17th-century Turkish traveler Evliya Celebi noted that there were 3900 shops and 2 bedesten in this city.

By the end of the 19th century, Aintab had a population of about 45,000, two-thirds of which was Muslim—largely Turkish, but also Arabs and Kurdish. Of the Christians, there was a large Armenian community. In the 19th century, there was considerable American Protestant Christian missionary activity in Aintab.

Also, Central Turkey College was founded in 1874 by the American Mission Board and also largely served the Armenian community. The Armenians were systemically slaughtered during the Hamidian massacres in 1895 and later the Armenian Genocide in 1915. Consequently, Central Turkey College was transferred to Aleppo in 1916.

(View of A Courtyard Through An Arched Alley In Antep's Historic City Center)

Traditionally, commerce in Gaziantep was center in covered markets known as 'Bedesten' or 'Hans', the best known of which are the Zincirli Bedesten, Hüseyin Pasha Bedesten and also Kemikli Bedesten.


Museums: The world's second-largest 'mosaic museum' in Gaziantep

(The Oceanus And Tethys Mosaic In Zeugma Mosaic Museum,

Zeugma is an ancient city which was established at the shallowest passable part of the river Euphrates, within the boundaries of the present-day Belkıs village in Gaziantep Province. Due to the strategic character of the region in terms of military and commerce since antiquity, the city has maintained its importance for centuries, also during the Byzantine period. 

The museum which is opened officially on September 9, 2011, is on Şehitkamil District Hacı Sani Konukoğlu Boulevard. At the exhibition of the museum, the beliefs and culture of the people living in the city with the street where they spend their daily life in accordance with the one-to-one architecture, with its fountain, wall, and all building blocks, tried to were presented

While the mosaics located nearest to the Euphrates River are located at the entrance, the mosaics rising towards the terraces of the city were placed in order. Also, Mosaics of the Roman Baths on the ground floor were removed from under the dam body. In the Zeugma Mosaic Museum district starting from the lowest code, visitors are ascended on the terraces in Zeugma and can be able to complete the journey. More about the cultural heritage of Zeugma in Korugan Museum which built-in Zeugma Ruins Traceable (


(Wall Paintings And Floor Mosaics In Zeugma,


Honored History: Gaziantep War Museum

(Gaziantep Panorama Resistance Museum Honorific Display,

The Gaziantep War Museum, in a historic Antep house (also known as the Nakıpoğlu House), is dedicated to the memory of the 6317 who died defending Gaziantep city, becoming symbols of Turkey's national unity and also independence. The story of how the Battle of Antep is narrated with audio devices and chronological panels. 


A World Brand: Gaziantep Cuisine

Gaziantep kitchen has a very special influence on Turkish cuisine with its immensely rich flavor. In addition to dishes that date back to the Oguz Turks, there is the influence of Aleppo. Its rich kind of soups, kebabs rice meals, meatballs, etc. are among the most favorite. Local desserts include baklava, which Gaziantep makes the best in the world, kunefe, burmalı, sarı burma, kadayıf, mashed pistachio, and milk fat. In December 2015, 47 cities from 33 countries around the world joined UNESCO's "Creative Cities Network". These cities are selected based on seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music. The province of Gaziantep has become one of them in the field of "Gastronomy". There are two bazaars that could survive to our day and are still used. One of them, Zincirli Bazaar, was built in the 18th century. The bazaar is locally known as "black steps bazaar" and has 80 shops and 5 gates. The other bazaar, Kemikli, dates back to the 19th century. It is a cut stone and rectangular structure with two gates ( Gastronomy's not only been gaining more and more attention lately but it also has evolved to be an integral part of every-day life in modern societies. The reason for this lies in the fact that it fulfills not only physical but also cultural, social, and also psychological needs (Athens Journal of Tourism).


Gaziantep is one of the cities that is known for its gastronomy and unique foods, tasting local flavors is often an important motivation for tourists visiting a particular destination. A destination's richness in terms of cuisine increases its attractiveness and may be an important element of its branding identity. Gaziantep is one of the cities that is known for its gastronomy and unique foods (Advances in Hospitality and Tourism Research (AHTR), 2019).

Local food is an integral part of the cultural heritage and tourist attraction of a destination. Local food may create peak experiences for a tourist. Taste and smell create lasting impressions and also memories, shaping tourist experience, and leading to an association between food and place (Yıldız, Ö. & Sarıbaş, Ö., 2019).


Come to Gaziantep 

The city also has a developing tourist industry. Some improvements around the castle area upgraded the beauty & accessibility 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 also the locals make them very welcome.


>> Click for another gastronomy tourism article that would interest you.



Advances in Hospitality and Tourism Research (AHTR) An International Journal of Akdeniz University Tourism Faculty Webpage: 2019 Vol. 7 (2) 167.

Anatolia: Turizm Araştırmaları Dergisi, Cilt 27, Sayı 1, Bahar: 96, 2016.

Athens Journal of Tourism - Volume 2, Issue 2 – Pages 117.

International Journal of Academic Research in Economics and Management Sciences 2017, Vol. 6: 104, No. 4

Yıldız, Ö. & Sarıbaş, Ö. (2019), Tasting Gaziantep: How Local Food Shapes Sense Of Place, BMIJ, (2019), 7(5): 2873


Internet Sources


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