Malatya Travel Blog

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In ancient times the Malatya province was called Maldiya, Milid or Meliddu. From the Bronze Age, this region became an administrative center of a place, which lies in the kingdom of Ishuwa. In the fourteenth century B.C. the city was conquered by the Hittites and after their reign, the region became the center of a Neo-Hittite kingdom.

During 1115-1077 B.C., an encounter took place with the Assyrian king and Malatya was forced to pay tribute to Assyria. The unhindered progress of Malatya first faced an obstacle in 712 B.C. when the Assyrian King Sargon II sacked the city and later it experienced a steep decline when Anatolia got invaded by the Cimmerians and Scythians. Currently, the village of Arslantepe corresponds to the Hittite city of Milid.

During the Roman period, the city was known by the name of Melitene, which was the base camp of Legio XII Fulminata. Around 100 CE, Melitene was granted city status by the Roman Emperor and at the same time was in the process of becoming the Roman capital of Asia Minor. After sometime, Melitene was completely destroyed by the Byzantine, only to be rebuilt under the instruction of Abbasid caliphs. The Seljuk Turks conquered the city in the 12th century and some 300 years later it got incorporated into the Ottoman Empire. In 1838, modern Malatya was founded in a site that is in the South of the ancient settlement of Milid and Melitene (modern Battalgazi). However, the next year, the city had to be rebuilt, following the devastations of an earthquake.

Malatya (Mah-Laht-Yah) in South Eastern Turkey, located at the foot of the Anti Tauras Mountain, is the capital city of the Malatya province.

It lies at an altitude of 964 meters above the sea level and has hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters. However, the constructions of several dams have made the climate milder. This region of Malatya is best known for its apricot orchards.

The province of Malatya is located at the heart of the country`s road and rail network. It is also the railroad junction for Aleppo and Syria - Samsun line. The bus station is 5 kilometers west of the city center and there are regular services from Ankara, Istanbul (1124 kilometers) and Gaziantep (247 kilometers). At 3 kilometers west of the city center lies the railway station where from daily express trains run to Elezig, Diyarbakir, Istanbul and Ankara. Both the bus and train stations can be reached by taxis and dolmuses.
malatya inönü stadium
The nearest airport is Erhac (26 kilometers west) and there is a daily flight from Izmir.

The province of Malatya is strewned with historical as well as natural treasures.

Two small towns of Arslantepe (7 kilometers) and Battalgazi (9 kilometers), lying outside the city proper has huge historical relevance. Arslantepe, ancient Milid, used to be the capital of the Hittite kingdom. Scientific excavations that have started in 1932 and are still continuing have revealed seven different layers dating back to the Calcolithic Age.

Today, the ancient remains constitute a palace (with statues and relieves), few wall paintings and the remains of a Roman village. Battalgazi, early Melitene, has same historic value as it used to be an important center of Byzantine and Medieval period. The city walls of Battalgazi constructed by the Byzantine encompass the Ulu Mosque (1247), which was built by the Seljuks.

Apart from these towns, you can also visit historical places like Malatya castle (Roman-Byzantine period), old Arapgir Castle (Anatolian-Seljukian period), Yeni Mosque, Yusuf Ziya Mosque, Dogansehi Castle (Roman period), Namazgah Mosque (bears Seljuk testimony) and Arapkir Ulu Mosque. The old caravanserais, like the Silahtar Mustafa Pasa caravanserai (built by the gunner of the Ottoman Dynasty) and Tashan caravanserai (Seljuk dynasty) in old Darends, are worth visiting. You also must not miss the Malatya archaeological Museum, which has 15000 artifacts of varied time periods on display.

Moving on to natural splendors, you must come to Mount Nemrut (2150 meters), which has been declared as a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO. It houses numerous colossal statues adorning the temple and tomb of King Antiochus and it is indeed a sight to see them at sunrise and sun down. Nemrut dagi also happens to be an important National park in the country. If nature fascinates you, you can also come to Sultan Suyu district, particularly Lake Sultan suyu dam, which is a magnificent picnic spot. Karakaya Dam Lake, Gunpinar waterfall, Kizik village and Gunduzberg spring are some of the most picturesque spots in this region. The Orduzu spring in Yesil yurt is lovely, too and the region is famous for its cherry festival (June).

In Malatya you can indulge yourself in several activities. Trekking is a good option in Nemrur dagi, Sultan Suyu valley and Levent Valley. You can go for fishing too, in regions like Karakaya, Sultan Suyu and Surgu Dam Lake. If you are a sports-lover you can try the traditional sport of Cirit - a type of horseback javelin. You can also try your hand in marketing as Malatya has some of the best markets of the regions like Kapali Bazar, Sire bazaar (apricot market), desiccated apricot bazaar, Ataturk and Inonu Caddesi, etc. The buyable items of Malatya include tablecloths, curtains, hand-painted handkerchiefs; brightly colored carpets, kilims, light rugs and traditionally crafted copper kitchenware.

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malatya inönü stadium
malatya inönü stadium
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photo by: AndySD