The town that tourism forgot.
Gaziantep Travel Blog› entry 139 of 251 › view all entries
July 9th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
The main draw here are the Roman-era mosaics (decorative tile work), recently excavated from a nearby archeological site called Zeugma. (Sadly, the Zeugma site is being submerged by a man-made lake due to a damming project.) The mosaics are incredibly detailed -- they look like paintings, from a distance -- and most are in pristine condition.
Next, we walked to a more modern shopping area but found nothing to interest us, so we went to a park (I donâ€™t know the name of it). It shows on the map as a thick band of green that cuts through the city.
Next up on our list was the Ethnographic Museum, located in the historic district. When we arrived, they had to unlock the place for us because we were the first (and maybe only!) visitors. The museum is one of Gaziantepâ€™s historic stone houses, restored, and decorated with period furniture. Some truly scary-looking mannequins were set up to mimic every day life, and every time we walked into a room I jumped five feet because they startled the bejeesus out of me. Although the mannequins were a little weird, it was a beautiful house and really nice to see.
We had planned to go to the Citadel at this point, but I was done in by the heat. We went back to the room to experience 45 chilly minutes with AC on full blast, then ventured out again. We were foiled though, by the renovation work being done at the Citadel. It was closed, and there were no signs indicating when it might open again. We had to make do with admiring it from the outside.
At this point, we were just counting the minutes until we could eat at Imam Cagdas again. We had the most amazing meal there yesterday and hoped to recreate the experience. Finally it was time to go, and when we walked in our waiter from yesterday recognized us and welcomed us like old friends. I ordered Ali Nazik again (pureed eggplant topped with garlicy yogurt and drizzled with butter), this time without the butter, and it was delicious as before.
We then attempted to â€śwalk it offâ€ť by strolling through the bazaar. We turned a different way than before and happened upon an even cuter and quainter section than we found the first day. The shops were stuffed with merchandise (pots, pans, jewelry, spices, nuts, decorative knick knacks, etc), and old guys were playing backgammon out front. I REALLY wanted to sit in on a game but my timing was off (they were in the middle of a game), plus Steve said the rules are different here so that may not have worked out.
And that pretty much concludes our visit to Gaziatepâ€¦ tomorrow we will fly to Istanbul. I definitely recommend this place for a one- or two-day stop. Itâ€™s got a great vibe and friendly people, and of courseâ€¦ Imam Cagdas, and the best baklava to be found on earth.
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