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Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Chalcolithic, followed by Hittite, Mitanni, Assyrian and Persian, and finally Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, Turkish-Islam and Ottoman… Consecutive epochs and civilizations that have shaped the history of the city…

Footprints from the past in the form of historical buildings, ruins and shrines that are scattered throughout the city…

Gaziantep, with its rich heritage, is widely accepted as one of the oldest cities in the world. The mosaics of Zeugma, the ancient artistic and cultural centre of Karkamış, the natural beauty of Rumkale, the ancient religious centre of Doliche, the sculpture fields of Yesemek... Not forgetting the pistachios, baklava and kebabs that make this a city of culinary delights..and the wealth of artefacts from throughout the ages that illuminate the past and make Gaziantep a City of Museums.

Suffice to say, Gaziantep is a city that has certainly been in the limelight throughout history. As the famous traveller Evliya Çelebi said, “Neither tongue nor pen is enough to describe this city. Spread over a wide area, its spectacular, large buildings, its sought-after products, its many hamlets, its plenitude and fertility, its endless fountains and rivers of food and drink, make this city the apple of the world’s eye.”

As we feel that a city that is hard to define will be even harder to explore, we have put together 5 routes that will take you to all corners of the city. In determining these routes, we aimed to cover points of cultural and religious interest together with the plateaus of the uplands, but also to offer optional destinations appealing to those with different interests.

After following the tours which we have named Zeugma, Rumkale, Yesemek, Karkamış and Ravanda, we arrive at the southern border district of Kilis.

The guide leads you around the area’s cultural sites worth visiting, but also gives practical information to help you throughout your journey.  

Enjoy your travels…

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The contents of this publication, which has been prepared by the 2013 Economic Development Financial Support Programme of the Silk Road Development Agency does not represent the views of the Silk Road Development Agency and/or the Ministry of Development. Sole responsibility for the content lies with Neva Bilgi Teknolojileri Medya ve Danışmanlık Hizmetleri San. Tic. Ltd. Şti.

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Yesemek Tour and Alternative

  • Çolaklar Stone Bridge
    Written by

    If you want to visit the ancient Roman bridge, head back towards the village of Yelliburun and as you pass the village of Şahmaran on your right, you will come to Çolaklar village. About 20 km from Yesemek Open Air Museum, and 1.5 km southeast of Çolaklar village, in an isolated spot in the middle of nowhere, lies a stone bridge, known as the Çolaklar Roman Stone Bridge. 

    The bridge, built over the Karasu brook, nowadays is only frequented by fishermen, shepherds and their flocks. On either side of the bridge there are the remains of a Roman road, also made from basalt stone. If you want to visit the bridge, the rocky terrain means you must be prepared to walk for about 500 m after you have parked your vehicle.

  • Muhammed Beledi Tomb
    Written by

    The tomb of Muhammed Beledi can be found on Beledi Hill in the neighbourhood of Sam. In the second half of the 15th century, Muhammed Beledi, hearing about Sheikh Sam, comes to visit him. It is said that following this meeting, a strong bond develops between the two. 

  • Menzil Inn
    Written by

    The recently restored Menzil Han is composed of two parts. Rough hewn limestone has been used on the exterior of the han.

     

  • Sof Plateau
    Written by

    Continuing on towards Nurdağı, 5 km after the village of Yeşilce, head left and 7 km after the village of Işıklı you will come to the Sofdağı Plateau.

    The highest peak of the Sofdağ mountains is called Kepekçi Hill, where the air is pure and rich in oxygen. The Sofdağı Mountains are the source of more than 20 freshwater courses, such as Gerdek Spring, Cennet Spring and Börek Spring.

  • Hurşit Ağa Mansion
    Written by

    One km to the west of Sakçagözü Waterfall lies Hurşit Ağa Mansion which recently suffered damage in a fire rendering it unfit for use. The building was used as military quarters during the War of Independence and as a refuge for the Ottoman soldiers during the First World War.

  • Nurdağı Castle
    Written by

    After heading west for approximately 4 km on the old Adana road, you will come to Nurdağı Castle in the district of Nurdağı.

    In the castle there are ornamental ponds, model animals, a children’s play area, and a traditional nomad tent decorated with wooden carvings and set up like an authentic wedding hall to demonstrate the local culture.

  • Fevzipaşa Train Station
    Written by

    Continuing on towards the district of İslahiye in a southwesterly direction, you will see on the right the historical Fevzipaşa Train Station which is used to shelter retired trains. 

    The building was constructed by German engineers as part of the Hicaz (Hejaz) Railroad Project.

  • Çerçil Castle
    Written by

    If you want to leave the prescribed route and visit one of the region’s alternative cultural treasures, we recommend a climb to Çerçil Castle.

    Heading away from the village of Yelliburun in a westerly direction for 10 km, you will arrive at Çerçil Castle, which is situated 600 m southwest of Çerçil village, and sits at the top of a natural hill. Some of the important findings from the castle are coloured ceramic pieces, showing that the settlement dates from the Middle Ages. The road that stretches from the İslahiye plains to the inner side of the Amanos mountains passes through the footslopes of the hill on which the castle sits. This suggests that the castle, for a period, held a position of strategic importance. If you want to see the castle ruins at the top, you should be prepared for an arduous climb of approximately one hour through dense shrubland.

  • Sheikh Sam Tomb
    Written by

    In the centre of the neighbourhood of Sam lies the tomb of Abdurrahman Erzincani, known as Sheikh Sam. It is said that Yavuz Sultan Selim stayed near the village of Sam on his way to the Egyptian campaign, and whilst there, met Sheikh Sam.

    Based on a dream he had, Sheikh Sam gave promises of victory in Egypt and sent Yavuz Sultan Selim on his way with blessings. On his return from the campaign, Yavuz awards the tithes received from the village of Sam to the sheikh and has a inn and mosque built in the village.

  • Erikçe Forest
    Written by

    If you choose the religious section of the tour which includes some of the region’s tombs and historical mosques, then continue on the old Adana road to the district of Sam, 14 km from the city centre