Turkey Pt. 2 – Gaziantep, Hatay, and Kahramanmaraş

Turkey Pt. 2 – Gaziantep, Hatay, and Kahramanmaraş

565 words/4:30 minutes to read

This second piece is part of a larger piece on the regions of Turkey that have been effected by the 2023 earthquakes. Part 1 is located HERE.


From top right to bottom left:

  1. Rumkale – meaning Roman Castle, also known as ‘Urumgala’, is a fortress from classic times that is located on the Euphrates River. Being known as a point of military strategy by the Assyrians, but being constructed under Roman occupation, this location was also known to house John the Apostle.
  2. The Nur Mountains – also called the Amanus Mountains and the Black Mountains, depending on whether we discuss the ancient Greek, Medieval, or modern Turkish names are famous for making the natural border between Asia Minor and Southwest Asia. 
  3. Excavation work at Zeugma – this ancient Commagene City (Greco-Iranian) was founded by Seleucus I Nicator, who was a partial successor of Alexander the Great. It was made a place for boats to safely pass from one side of the Euphrates to the other. 
  4. Mosaic at Zeugma – the Museum of Mosaics at Zeugma is one of the largest in the world. 

From top right to bottom left:

  1. Gaziantep Castle – originally part of the Hittite Empire where it served as an outlook post, the castle was then constructed by Romans in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries ACE. Over centuries it was expanded and renovated by the Attubids and Ottomans. It was partly destroyed in the 2023 earthquakes. 
  2. Alaüddevle Mosque – founded by Bozkurt of Dulkadir in roughly at roughly the turn of the 16th Century.
  3. Skyline of modern Gaziantep. 
  4. The Great Synagogue of Gaziantep – a mystery as to when it was originally constructed, with some saying in the 17th Century and others stating in the 20th Century, it was closed between the 1970s to 2012. 


From right to left:

  1. Bagras Castle – from 965 ACE was constructed by Nikopheros II Phokas, a Byzantine Emperor who placed the stronghold there to guard the Amanian Gate, which was the passage from Syria to Cilician Anatolia.
  2. The Church of Saint Peter – overlooking the city of Antakya, formerly known as Antioch, this church is one of the oldest in Christendom and holds mosaics, frescoes, and the original cave in which members of the early church would have gathered. 

Photos from top right to bottom left:

  1. Historic City Center of Antakya – Hittites, Seleucids, Alexander the Great, Romans, and more have inhabited this area since the early 6th Century BCE. 
  2. Modern cityscape of Antakya. 
  3. St. Paul’s Church – A historic Greek Orthodox Church. Like much of Antakya, much of the city has been destroyed by the 2023 earthquake. 
  4. Antakya Ulu Mosque – was built in 1268 by the Mamluk Empire of Egypt, which controlled Egypt, the Levant, and the Hejaz (the Western Coast of Saudi Arabia – including Mecca, Medina, and Jeddah). 

Photo from right to left:

  1. Sculpture of King Šuppiluliuma of the Hittites at the Hatay Museum of Archaeology (HMA).
  2. Roman Sarcophagus at HMA. 
  3. Mosaic of Dionysis at HMA. 


Photos from top right to bottom left:

  1. The Cityscape of Kahramanmaraş City – formerly known as Maraş and Germanicia was originally a Syro-Hittite state but was eventually taken by the Romans, given its name Germanicia, after Caeser Germanicus. 
  2. Mount Ahur – part of the southeastern Taurus Mountains. 
  3. Ice cream vendor in Kahramanmaraş – probably you have seen the famous ice cream vendors of Turkey, this is the city where that tradition began. 
  4. View of rural Kahramanmaraş. 

Part 3 will be coming soon…


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