Gaziantep is one of the sixth most inhabited cities in Turkey, previously known as Antep in Ottoman Turkish Empire this city has faced many battles. With its rich history, Gaziantep is one of the famous tourist attraction places in Turkey. There are several unique places in this city to explore from historical sites to cultural attractions, Gaziantep offers it all for its visitors. Here are some of the places which you should not miss when you visit this beautiful city situated in the western part of Turkey.
1) Zeugma Mosaic Museum
One of the second largest of its kind of museum in the world, Zeugma Mosaic Museum has splendid collections which when entered will be taken into history and into the world of Mosaics. Awarded twice by Cultural Tourism Investments of Turkey it sure should be on your list to travel when you are in Gaziantep. Previously known as Seleucia on the Euphrates during Alexander The Great period, it was later renamed Zeugma when Roman domination which means the bridgehead which is apt as this city was a crossroad for many trading routes of the empire.
Zeugma Mosaic Museum has various Mosaic structure which was found during unearthing of its settlements covering 2500 sq-miles. With its rich history, the team were able to find the exhibits of Late Antiquity Church Mosaics and Early Chaldean and Christian iconography.
One of the structures which take the limelight of this museum is the 2nd Century Mosaic of Maenad, popularly called as Gypsy Girl, with its striking eyes this exhibit is a most loved artefact in the museum. Also known as Mona Lisa of Zeugma, historians suggest this might be a portrait of Gaea, goddess of Earth with her wild look of her eyes.
2) Medusa Glass Art Museum
One of the first private art museums in Turkey, Medusa Glass Art Museum has a history of artefacts from Roman, Greek, Urartu, Byzantine and Islamic era’s. With over 5000 artefacts collected for 15 years features glass collections from periods of 7500BC to 1600AD. Close to Gaziantep Castle this private museum houses collections of Bronze, Terracotta and Glass items in terms of Bangles, Figurines and Gold Coins. There is a chamber located where you can learn the art of Glass Making along with a souvenir shop where you can purchase hand made glass and gift. Entry fee is around 1$ which is a worth visit to know more about the artefacts of Roman and other kingdoms.
- Emine Göğüş Culinary Museum
When in Gaziantep, there is no dearth of exploring the places and its list of Museum which it holds, out of which we made a visit to Emine Göğüş which is one of its kind of Culinary Museum. Here we will learn the art of cooking Turkish Delights. Upon entering we will see why this museum was opened with its sections present in 2 storey house. The sections of Emine Göğüş are Kitchen, Gaziantep Dishes, Cuisines, Preserving and storage, Drinks, Kitchen Tools and Cutlery, Hosting the guests, Gaziantep style of Picnic and finally Meals for Special Occasion. This Museum was once a house of Ali Ihsan Gögüs, the first tourism minister of Turkey and it was donated. Now a Museum this place offers traditional Gaziantep Cuisine which has taken some similarities of Arab, Hittites and Assyrian Cuisine, women here show us how to cook these cuisines. They have a traditional dish prepared from eggplant and also highlight technique like Hevenk, a method of preserving fruits.
- Elmaci Bazaar
Elmaci Bazaar is a traditional Turkish bazaar where you will get some of the finest local produce of Vegetables, Fruits. Local farmers here bring their products with the intent of selling the fruits/vegetables grown by them which they often sell them dried. Walking across this Bazaar we notice how the bazaar transforms with each step taken once you might notice dried vegetables, the next you will notice the flower market. Walking across you might some famous Turkish spices which the fragrance will make you stay there for a while. You can notice locals sitting quietly and crafting homemade items for sales such as wood carvings, Utensils and pancakes. Indulge in famous Turkish coffee which is freshly grounded and prepared right In front of you.
- Zincirli Bedesten
Popular for its souvenir and gift items, this 18th-century old bazaar is also known as Chain Bazaar. With 5 entrances to this place, there are around 80+ shops selling you jewellery, decorative items with mother-of-pearl which is Gaziantep famous. The front part of this bazaar is dedicated to Spices and is situated next to Copper-smith Bazaar, Zincirili Bedesten is where you can purchase traditional Turkish artefacts and jewellery to your home. They have a variety of design to choose in various shops, so have a quick round of window shopping before you zero in to decide which souvenir to be purchased.
- Copper-smith Bazaar
Called as Gaziantep Bakircilar çarsisi in Turkish, this bazaar is completely dedicated to Copper bazaar lane where you can notice vendors selling copper dishes on either side of the road. Built over 400 years ago, this is a place where you can get designed copper vessels and utensils which are hand created. This bazaar is full of the novelty of copper items where you can purchase some items which are designed beautifully and place It on your table which reminds you of your visit to Copper-smith Bazaar in Turkey. An official culture route of Gaziantep, this bazaar has been visited by many tourists and locals alike who purchase utensils for their day to day use basis.
Apart from the above-mentioned sites, Gaziantep also has a fair list of Museums such as archaeological, War, Mevlevi Museums. Gaziantep Zoo and many mosques which are constructed as old as 1211AD and many historical bazaars.