Gaziantep, or informally known as Antep, is a city in Southeastern Anatolia.
Set in western reaches of Southeastern Anatolian plateau, Gaziantep is a surprisingly large (with a population of almost 2,000,000) and modern city.
Gaziantep Airport. 15 km from city center. You can reach the city center from the airport with the Havaş shuttle service (10 lira, departs after most incoming flights). City center pickup to the airport is located across the street from the Diyanet Cami (mosque).
The bus station (otogar) of the city is quite a few kilometers out of town. It is connected to city centre by local public buses, which cost 2 TL one-way. Look for buses labeled 'Bedestan' or 'Sahinbey' to reach the city center. The bus from Sanliurfa takes 4hrs and costs 25TL (Aug 2012).
While Toros Express coming in from Istanbul via Konya and Adana was suspended in 2008 (and it is not certain when and if it will resume service), Turkish State Railways put a weekly passenger train service from Gaziantep to Mosul in northwestern Iraq recently, which crosses a short strip of Syrian territory. It departs from Mosul at noon every Tuesday and arrives in Gaziantep 5:40AM the next day, and costs €25 pp. (Update, Aug 2010. Mosul service has been suspended until further notice.)
There also twice weekly trains connecting the city to Aleppo in Syria. From Aleppo, trains depart at 5AM on Tuesdays and Fridays, arriving in Gaziantep five hours later. From Gaziantep, they depart at 8:30PM on Tuesdays and Fridays and arrive five hours later in Aleppo, at 1:29AM after midnight. The trip costs €12.75 pp one-way.
The city centre is reasonably compact and walkable. There are plenty of local buses if you prefer and of course taxis for tired feet.
- Archaeological Museum (Arkeoloji Müzesi), Kamil Ocak Caddesi 2, Şehitkamil (on the corner of Kamil Ocak Caddesi and İstasyon Caddesi; south of train station), ☎ +90 342 324-88-09 (fax: +90 342 324-38-22), . Tu-Su 8:30AM-noon 1PM-6PM (May-Sep); Tu-Su 8AM-noon 1PM-4:30PM (Oct-Apr). This local archaeological museum hosts some stunning mosaics excavated from the nearby Roman site of Zeugma. The museum, which also has a small cafe inside, is wheelchair accessible. 2 TL. edit
- The Castle's Museum. It is a great opportunity to learn from the Turkish point of view what happended in the WWI, especially what concerns to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the further occupation. 1 TL (0.5 if you look young and say you're a student). It's worth the ridicule price even if the museum is a bit too detailed on the national heroes. the view from the top of the castle is amazing .
- Kitchen Museum, (look for the signs near the casle, can't miss it). Museum about turkish traditional cuisine, fodd, ingredients, tool and bon tòn. Very interesting. 1 TL (0.5 if you say you're a student). edit
- Zeugma Mosaic Museum, Mithatpaşa Mahallesi Hacı Sani Konukoğlu Bulvarı 27500, Şehitkamil, Gaziantep. Zeugma Mosaic Museum, in the town of Gaziantep, Turkey, is the biggest mosaic museum on the world, containing 1700m2 of mosaics 8 Turkish Liras. edit
Visit the castle, explore the bazaars and don't forget the museum. There are a lot of museums in the center of city, especially some of them are close to castle. You should go Mosaic Museum (close to stadium), Medusa Museum (Glass Museum), Martyr's Museum, Dervishes Museum (Mevlevihane), Hasan Süzer Etnographia Museum.
You can buy a lot of traditional things in Gaziantep. You should try Bakırcılar Çarşısı, a traditional bazaar in the center of the city. You can buy baklava, nargile (hooka pipe), yemeni (local leather shoes) and much more. Prices here are much better than the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
As the centre of a large pistachio-growing region, as the groves along the highway leading to Gaziantep indicate, you can find many stores selling this local product (known in Turkish as Antep Fıstığı, i.e. "Pistachio of Antep", an expression which surpassed the former name of Şam Fıstığı, i.e. "Pistachio of Damascus", used during Ottoman period), both fresh (not very tasty, though) and also in a salty roasted variety (a lot more delicious!).
Antep is known for its cuisine that is heavily influenced by its southern neighbours. The city is renowned for its local variety of kebab (Antep kebabı). You can find many places that sell spicy kebabs here. Make sure you enter a place that is crowded and order ayran with your kebab. Try a lahmacun, which is minced, marinated, spiced meat with minced vegetables on an extremely thin, crunchy dough. Lahmacun can be made with garlic or onions, in general, you will find garlic ones in Antep.
Antep is also famous for its pistachios. You can find fresh, unroasted pistachios as well as roasted ones. Try the spicy nuts.
Beyran a spicy lamb soup with rice served for breakfast.
Katmer a thin phyllo pastry stuffed with sheep cheese, pistachios, and sugar served for breakfast.
Upon finishing your dinner, make sure to have baklava made with pistachios. Also, you can try the hot desserts with a scoop of ice cream on top.
Antep is known for its food, and meals there are one of the highlights of visiting the region. So enjoy yourself.
- Kebapci Halil Usta, Karşıyaka Semti Gaziantep Mozaik Müzesi Arkası Tekel Caddesi Öcükoğlu Sokak 27500 Şehitkamil/gaziantep, Türkiye. Halil's shop is not to be missed! He grew up on the floor of a butcher shop while learning the trade. 15 TL for a single portion, 30 TL for a double portion. A portion consists of one kebap of your choice, bread and salad. 15 TL. edit
Many of Antep's drinking establishments are basically for picking up women. However there are some nice birahanes ("beer-houses") where you can enjoy a quiet drink in peace.
- Meyan Şerbeti. Licorice root drink served for free in the bazaar area. Often annouced as 'Turkish Cola'. edit
- Dut Suyu. Mulberry juice edit
- Menengiç Kahvesi. Coffee made from the terebinth berry with a nutty flavor. edit
- Zahter Çayı. Thyme flavored tea. edit
- Yunus Hotel, Bey Mah. Kayacık Sokak No 16, Şahinbey (off Atatürk Boulevard, parallel to Hürriyet Caddesi behind the Post Office), ☎ 0 (342) 221 17 22 , 0 (342) 221 17 02 (email@example.com, fax: 0 (342) 221 17 96), . Two stars in city centre with very clean rooms and free Wi-Fi. Staff are exceptionally friendly, although there is not a lot of English. Now it's open even if under complete renovation as of Aug 2012 (the sign is not even visible). 35 TL (50 TL BEST PRICE in high season) for a double room including breakfast. edit
- Allstar Sevcan Hotel. Three stars in city centre. +90 342 220 66 86.
- Tugcan Hotel. Five stars in the city. +90 342 220 43 23
- Hotel Burak, Alabey Mah. Hürriyet Cad, 27, Şahinbey, ☎ +90 342 220-49-90. It is a good hotel, in a perfect location. In February 2010, it was possible to bargain the price from the original 45 TL down to 35 TL, including the dinner and a very good breakfast. Obtaining the reduction will depend on the season, the manager, and the ability to bargain. 35 to 45 TL/single room. edit
- Hotel Evin, (directly opposite the Yunus Hotel). Not the most sparkling of hotels, but absolutely acceptable and with a private bathroom, satellite TV and Wi-Fi. 25 TL (45 TL high season and after a bit of bargain) a room with a double bed. edit
- Ugurlu Otel, (Next to Yunus Otel). Be sure to bargain because they cheat on prices. When you pay with card they'll try to charge you with minibar drinks you didn't drink. Remember to ask for the IDs cause they wont remember in your place . 80 TL the double room breakfast included (bargained from 100 TL and 140 TL exposed price). Check websites for discouts (we found a 50%). (Aug 2012).. edit
- Hotel Söylemez, Şekeroğlu Mh., Eski Saray Cd No:8, ☎ +90 342 232 0922. Somewhat grumpy staff but the room was clean, comfortable, and a bargain for the price. 40 to 50 TL/single room w/breakfast. edit
From city's otogar you will find numerous agents selling tickets to dozens of destinations including Istanbul, Konya, Van, Dogubeyazit, and Antalya to name a few. Buses leave frequently. Shop around for the best price. Bus to Marsin takes 5 hrs and costs 25 TL .
- A week in Southeastern Anatolia — A seven-day long itinerary starting (and finishing) in Gaziantep and drawing a circle in Southeastern Anatolia, touching all major sights of the region.