Gaziantep Travel Blog› entry 138 of 251 › view all entries
July 8th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
Gaziantep’s major crop was apparent in the rolling hills surrounding the city … pistachio trees as far as the eye can see. Oh, I love pistachios. Gaziantep also grows bulgur wheat and is home is industrial production of textiles and car parts. It is a bustling, busy city. With lots of impatient traffic, and special driving rules unknown to foreign drivers, I might add.
We had some difficulty finding the hotel, which was tucked away on a tiny narrow street in the old town. We drove all around trying to find a clue, but finally gave up and called for help. Steve received a series of complex instructions (none involving street names…”turn right at the statue, left at the mosque,” etc).
Our hotel, Andolu Evleri, is a renovated historic stone house. The rooms are accessed from the quaint courtyard via stone stairways with beautiful old wrought iron handrails. Our room is cute, but there isn’t one right angle in the place, and it is the size of a large closet. The floor creaks -- loudly -- and we hope no one is below us.
After getting settled as best we could, we went off to explore the town on foot (there will be no more driving until we go to the airport).
We walked by the hilltop Citadel (also closed) and much work was going on there…perhaps a renovation. It was built by the Romans, and then later fortified by the Byzantines and Selcuks. There were coppersmiths and other metal workers set up in the area and it was all quaint and picturesque.
Next we happened upon an open-air pedestrian mall, lined with shops and jam-packed with shoppers and walkers. Every third person was eating delicious-looking ice cream, which really distracted me. Other than the nuts, we had skipped lunch and my stomach was growling! The stores were selling gaudy, hideous clothing, but other than that this area felt very European to me. The city has a split personality -- Middle East on one side, Europe on the other.
My feet hurt and we were hungry, but it was really too early for dinner. So back to the hotel for some rest and showers, then we finally went to the nearby Imam Cagdas for dinner. This place is extremely popular -- people were lined up at the counter for their famous baklava (this area is said to have the best baklava in the world). The dining area was very large and we had no trouble finding a seat since we were so early.
When I first looked at the menu, I thought there would be nothing for me (all meat dishes), but the waiter said that their signature dish, ali nazik, could be prepared vegetarian style. So Steve and I split a salad and waited impatiently for our ali nazik.
We waddled home, feeling some regret by the size of our meal… but already counting the hours until we could eat at Imam Cadgas again.
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