Visiting Gaziantep

Gone to Gaziantep everyone!  When will we every learn?  When will we ever learn?

I’m not sure Joan Baez has been here, but Gaziantep is the place to go if you want to see mosaics, eat the best baklava in Turkey, and meet the most genuine and friendly people in the world.

The city used to be called just “Antep”, but after the war the name was changed to honor all Turkey’s fallen heroes.  In southeastern Turkey, it is famous for its food and most especially its baklava.  One of the best places to try this delicacy is Imam Cagdas’, located across from the spice market and up the street a little is the old copper market.  As you read the extensive baklava menu there are at least ten different types sold by the kilo.  Of course you can eat it on site after your meal, but you can also walk in and order a box to go.  According to the information, a good baklava should sound like a “shhh” as you bite into it.  I’m not sure about the sound, but the taste is perfect.

As with all Turkish bazaars, this one is really worth taking a stroll through.  It’s very well laid out and labeled with the items that are available down each alleyway.  There is everything from copper pots taller than me to the handmade felt shepherd’s coats.  Walking past one tiny shop (about the size a closet), a man was selling belts.  Just belts.  Jim found one he liked, and the salesman cut it to size.  He was thrilled to have a brand new leather belt for 12 TL. (about 8$ US).  On top of that, Jim tried to give the man his old belt and he refused to take it.  It was still “good” in his opinion.  Seeing Jim’s success, Matthew decided to buy a new belt as well.  As he was taking off his very tattered old one, the vendor noticed how it was falling apart and fixed it.  He didn’t try to sell him another one, and he wouldn’t take any money for fixing the old belt; he just fixed it so that it was as good as new.  This is just one reason why I love Turkey so much!

As I mentioned, Gaziantep is the place to go to see some stunning mosaics.  These specimens have been collected from the site of Belkis and Zeugma which are about 10 km. north of the city. At any rate, we could not leave without going to the museum.  One of the most famous mosaics is called the “gypsy girl”, but reading the sign, the officials are not even sure it is a girl.  It might be a court boy instead.  The city is so impressed with their mosaics that they are building a brand new complex and museum to encourage tourists of the future.  We saw a picture of the proposed plans, and it does look impressive

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