Start of the Mesopotamia (GAP) Trip

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October 2nd 2010
Published: June 21st 2017
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GAP Trip - (Guney-Dogu Anadolu Projesi)

Southeastern Anatolia Project

Day 1:

After a small train trip to Amsterdam Airport, an international flight to Istanbul and a domestic flight to Gaziantep, we finally arrived to our nice hotel Buyuk Velic. After checking in and putting our luggage to the room we went outside to have a dinner and some sightseeing. The taxi driver from the hotel brought us to a nice restaurant were we had our dinner in open air. Nice when the weather here is still fine to eat in open air, while we had to start wearing our winter jackets at home. After our delicious Turkish meal we took a walk on the streets of Antep. It was about 23:00 and walking in this area didn't gave us a real safety feeling, so we decided to go back to the Hotel. Once we arrived, we noticed that there were 2 extremely sexy looking woman at the hotel lobby. Their way of dressing was not really matching the 'dress codes' of this area so it was clearly that they were prostitutes. We thought, probably some businessmen ordered some 'special' room service and we went to our room. It was already late and we were quite tired of the journey, so both of us fell asleep immediately.

Day 2:

After waking up and have a nice breakfast at the hotel, we went to the city center for sightseeing. Arrived at the city center we started visiting a bedestens. (Zincirli bedesten) an old style grand bazaar where they sell local herbs, delicatessens, traditional tools and off course souvenirs.

Gaziantep has also a very famous kitchen. (Especially the baklava.) So we spent also a lot of time in the local restaurants and cafes. After having the Turkish dishes here we realized that we never have eaten proper Turkish traditional food. The most famous restaurant is called 'Imam Cagdas'.

After spending the whole day by shopping we returned to our hotel. Cigdem went to sleep immediately and I took some beers at the terrace o the hotel entrance, chatting with the local people. Suddenly loudly screams started to disturb my relaxation mode. What it was, there was a mass fight on the corner. I continued my beer but my relax mode changed to malicious pleasure. When the police arrived with 7 police cars, the fight was more ore less over. They took the pieces left over and the public order returned to normal.

During my last beer I noticed again a 'unusual' dressed woman with an east European appearance entering the hotel. I started to ask myself: "In what kind of hotel did I end up?" but anyway it was my last night for now in Gaziantep.

Day 3

The day started with a nice Turkish breakfast. Nothing tastes good as the food of this area. After checking out, we agreed that our Big suitcases could stay at the hotel until we returded. We arrived to the travel agency which organizes the 'GAP trip', where we pre booked this adventure. Everything for the trip was arranged and we have to collect in front of the agency on Thursday morning, so we had another three days to hang around. As Gaziantep is close to the Syrian border, we decided to visit Aleppo, the second city of Syria. Only question is, how do we get there?

About Gaziantep:

Gaziantep is the probable site of the Hellenistic city of Antiochia ad Taurum ("Antiochia in the Taurus Mountains"). The ruins of the Doliche lie a few kilometers to the north of the city center and they are located in the natural setting of a forest arranged into a recreational area also including picnic and camping facilities.

Gaziantep is one of the most developed provinces of the region and is also one of the oldest, its history reaching as far back as the Hittites. Being the center of pistachio cultivation in Turkey and with its extensive olive groves and vineyards, Gaziantep is one of the important agricultural and industrial centres of Turkey.

In the center of the city stands the Gaziantep Fortress and the Ravanda citadel as reminders of past - the citadel was restored by the Byzantines in the 6th century. The Archaeological Museum, with its important collections from Neolithic and the Hittite ages as well as the Roman and Commagene times, attracts many visitors. A recent addition to the Museum's riches are the Roman mosaics discovered in Zeugma. The surroundings of the city are also full of valuable Hittite remains. The Hasan Süzer House, which has been restored to its original state, now houses the Ethnographical Museum. Yesemek Sculpture Workshop, 30 kilometers south of the town of Islahiye, is one of the world's first of this kind. Some of the other historical remains are the Zeugma, and Kargamis ruins by the town of Nizip and slightly more to the north, Rumkale.

Gaziantep was ruled by Akkadians, Mitannis, Hittites, Neo-Hittites, Assyrians, Urartians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Armenians, Parthians, Commagene, Romans, Byzantines, Sassanids, and Arabs.

Middle Ages

In the first half of the 7th century, Arab armies captured this region. It was passed to the Umayyads in 661 and the Abbasids in 750. During the period of Arab rule, it was ravaged several times by the Eastern Romans (Byzantines). After the disintegration of the Abbasid dynasty, the city was ruled successively by the Tulunids, the Ikhshidids and the Hamdanids. In 962, it was recaptured by the Byzantines (Eastern Romans), and retained by them until the Seljuk conquest in 1067. The regime of the Anatolian Seljuks gave way to the Syria Seljuks in 1086. Tutush I appointed Thoros of Edessa as governor of the region.

It was captured by the Crusaders and united to the Maras Seigneurship in the County of Edessa in 1098. It reverted to the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm in 1150, occupied by the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia between 1155–1157 and 1204–1206 and captured by the Zengids in 1172 and the Ayyubids in 1181.

Ottoman Period

The Ottoman Empire captured Gaziantep after the Battle of Marj Dabiq in 1516, during the reign of Sultan Selim I. In the Ottoman period, Aintab was a sanjak centered initially in the Dulkadir Eyalet (1516-1818), and later in the Aleppo vilayet (1908–1918). It was also a kaza in the Aleppo vilayet (1818–1908).

Modern Turkey

In 1923, Antep was removed from the Aleppo vilayet and ceded to Turkey according to the Treaty of Lausanne signed between the Ankara government and the Allies at the end of World War I, together with other parts of northern Syria including Adana, Mersin, Tarsus, Urfa, Kahramanmaras, and Diyarbakir.


3rd November 2011

Great thanks

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