Gazientep, otherwise known as ‘Antep’ is situated in Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. Famous for its pistachios (‘fistik’) and mosaics, this city gave us our first real flavour of Eastern Turkey. From our experience there are two things you should definitely try here: the various pistachio Baklavas from Imam Gağdaş and the ‘Atom shake’ from the juice bar in Hürriyet Caddesi. People travel across the world for the renowned baklavas, but also to see the superb “Gypsy Girl” mosaic. Take your time and delve into the beautifully restored old town, enjoy a relaxing çay in Papirus’ Cafe’s leafy courtyard and lose yourself in the labyrinthine bazaars.
How to get to Gazientep city centre by bus
Travelling from Gazientep Otogar to the city centre costs 1.5TL by the general blue and yellow city buses, which can be found outside the otogar on the main street. You’ll see two small bus stops, with regular buses arriving. Not to be mistaken with the minibus park on the opposite side of the otogar. Most busses go through the centre, but to be sure, you can catch the number 1 or 6 bus.
What to do and see in Gazientep
Zeugma Mosaic Museum – This famous museum is a must see if you come to Gazientep. Be sure to see the two important mosaics: the ‘Gypsy Girl‘ and the ‘Birth of Venus‘. Unfortunately the museum is slightly outside of the city centre, but a taxi for roughly 10TL will get you there. Entry costs 10TL.
Bakircilar Çarşisi and Zincirli Bedesten – These two Bazaars are among the best we have visited in Turkey in terms of the variety and quality of products. The Bakircilar Çarşisi has great fabrics, ornament shops, Turkish delights, dried fruits and jewellery. Further on you find the unforgettable sound of the Zincirli Bedesten, a coppersmith market with metalworkers chinking away at various pots and plates, whilst shoemakers quietly staple pieces of leather together. The smells, sounds and sights alone are enough to make for a pleasant stroll – but you may leave with a slight headache!
Kale and Yil Atatürk Kültür Parkı – When the temperatures have cooled take an evening walk around the fascinating walls of Kale, a restored citadel, strolling past the small caves that have been carved into the sides of the wall. Continue East down by the Alleben Deresi river and into the ‘100 Yil Atatürk Kültür Parkı‘. This is peaceful park in which the river runs through and familys come for evening picnics.
Where to eat and drink in Gazientep
Imam Gağdaş – This place is world famous for its Baklavas, so if you’re looking for somewhere to try your first real tasty Baklava, be sure to come here and try the different varieties they have. They are so good, they ship their Baklavas all over the world; you can sometimes see the outgoing stock as you walk in. The pistachios used are so fresh, the pastry so thin and crisp, and the amount of sweet syrup just right! You’ll be left longing for more! There is also a very fine resutaurant with a great selection of great quality food. It is extremely popular with both locals and tourists, and thus there is a lovely buzz! The outstanding service is also worth mentioning here. You will leave feeling spoilt, full and satisfied.
Papirus Cafe – Set in a leafy courtyard with an entanglement of vine trees as a roof, this is a cool, calm and peaceful place to come for a C,ay or a coffee. You can easily spend hours here, especially to get away from the midday burning sun and just read, play backgammon, or use the internet. Be sure to head upstairs and visit the old
abandonned rooms with vaulted ceilings and frayed antique furnitures.
Uağara Café – At the bottom of the hill of the Zincirli Bedesten market, veer right to find this delightful little underground cafe set inside a small cave. Here you can also find a tiny museum but, just like the Papirus Cafe, it makes for a memorable place to sit for a coffee.
Adana Şalgamacısı, – Gürbüz Usta – Come here to have potentially the best ever Atom Shake you will ever try. Once you’ve had one gulp of this thick, freshly swqueezed mixture of yogurt, bannana, pistaschio, hazelnut, strawberry and honey, your eyes will light up and you can be certain to skip lunch. It will leave you blown away and undoubtably satisfied (if you can manage to suck the big pieces of fresh pistachio through the straw that is; you may need a spoon!).
Bayazhan – If you’re missing Western pubs, this is a fantastic place to come and have a meal or just to have an alcoholic drink (a rareity in this part of Turkey). Here you will often find NGO workers gathering when they are not working, so it’s a great place to meet English speaking people with some potentially interesting stories. The menu here will also provide you with some familiar, perhaps well missed, options such as spagetti bolognaise, pizza and pasta. Ok, we admit, not very ‘authentic’ but in such a grand, stately looking building and a relaxing familiar vibe, it might just be the break you’re looking for.
Have you ever been to Gazientep? Is there anything we have missed or anything you recommend? If you have any questions or would like to add something, please comment below. Be sure to also like and share.