Cheap Flights to Gaziantep
If there's one word of Turkish you should know before arriving, it's "fistik" or "pistachio". This nut is the town's staple crop and features highly in local sweet treats -- in fact, there are over 180 pastry shops here crafting some of the best pistachio baklavas in the world. This is a real temptation to visit, but there's much more to the city. With its long history, Gaziantep has plenty of culture and heritage attractions to enjoy. It was originally known as Aintap, and located slightly North of its present situation there is a site that saw continuous inhabitation from as far back as the Palaeolithic era. Assyrians, Romans, Persians, Byzantines and the Seljuk Turks have all made their mark on the landscape.
Things to do
The historic heart of Gaziantep is compact and a pleasure to explore on foot, while many monuments are being given a loving restoration. Stroll past old stone houses and the caravanserai before browsing the Black Steps Bazaar for some souvenirs.
No one knows exactly who built the town's Fortress but it was restored by the Byzantines back in the 6th-century and at regular intervals since. Inside its walls and 36 watchtowers you'll find the tomb of Mehmet Gazali, Turkish baths and a mosque.
The Yesemek Open Air Museum is the largest open-air sculpture park and workshop in the Near East, where the stone is quarried and worked on site. It's thought that stone has been worked here since Hittite days around 1350 B.C.. Archaeological excavations have revealed a stone sphinx, lions and mountain gods.
The Zeugma Mosaic Museum is an excellent interactive showcase of how the town is preserving its past. A modern building houses the mosaics unearthed at the Roman Belkis-Zeugma site before the Birecik Dam flooded the area. Particularly eye-catching are the Birth of Venus and the Gypsy Girl mosaics.
Calendar of Events
With its history, location and the strength of its pistachio industry, it comes as no surprise that festivals and annual events in Gaziantep have a strong focus on cuisine. They are seen as a way of bringing the community together as well as inviting the world to share in its gastronomic delights.
Gaziantep Pistachio Culture and Art Festival. This event livens up the city every October. Food stalls show off their pistachio products while other events cover music, folk art and literature.
The Shira Festival. This also puts a highlight on the region's cuisine over three days every September. The city's location on the ancient Silk Road means its gastronomic scene has always been diverse and this festival, which has its roots in ancient Dianisos rites, has long been a way of celebrating that.
The Zeugma Film Festival. This film festival brings together new releases and classic favourites from the Turkish film industry as well as a selection of international films and short films by amateur filmmakers. Actors and directors give talks and workshops during the festival.