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Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Chalcolithic, followed by Hittite, Mitanni, Assyrian and Persian, and finally Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, Turkish-Islam and Ottoman… Consecutive epochs and civilizations that have shaped the history of the city…

Footprints from the past in the form of historical buildings, ruins and shrines that are scattered throughout the city…

Gaziantep, with its rich heritage, is widely accepted as one of the oldest cities in the world. The mosaics of Zeugma, the ancient artistic and cultural centre of Karkamış, the natural beauty of Rumkale, the ancient religious centre of Doliche, the sculpture fields of Yesemek... Not forgetting the pistachios, baklava and kebabs that make this a city of culinary delights..and the wealth of artefacts from throughout the ages that illuminate the past and make Gaziantep a City of Museums.

Suffice to say, Gaziantep is a city that has certainly been in the limelight throughout history. As the famous traveller Evliya Çelebi said, “Neither tongue nor pen is enough to describe this city. Spread over a wide area, its spectacular, large buildings, its sought-after products, its many hamlets, its plenitude and fertility, its endless fountains and rivers of food and drink, make this city the apple of the world’s eye.”

As we feel that a city that is hard to define will be even harder to explore, we have put together 5 routes that will take you to all corners of the city. In determining these routes, we aimed to cover points of cultural and religious interest together with the plateaus of the uplands, but also to offer optional destinations appealing to those with different interests.

After following the tours which we have named Zeugma, Rumkale, Yesemek, Karkamış and Ravanda, we arrive at the southern border district of Kilis.

The guide leads you around the area’s cultural sites worth visiting, but also gives practical information to help you throughout your journey.  

Enjoy your travels…

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The contents of this publication, which has been prepared by the 2013 Economic Development Financial Support Programme of the Silk Road Development Agency does not represent the views of the Silk Road Development Agency and/or the Ministry of Development. Sole responsibility for the content lies with Neva Bilgi Teknolojileri Medya ve Danışmanlık Hizmetleri San. Tic. Ltd. Şti.

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Rumkale Tour and Alternative

  • Şenlikçe Sarcophagus

    If you pass by the village of Şenlikçe to the east of Yavuzeli, don’t miss the house with Roman remains in the garden. The 1.5 ton limestone sarcophagus is just lying in the garden of a village house. It was discovered during digging for sewage works, and dates from the Roman period.

  • Yarımca Quarry

    Travelling southwest from Balıklıgöl and turning right onto an asphalt road after one km, the Yarımca Quarry is about 500 m along, on the barren hillside to the left.  The stones quarried here were used in the nearby Roman road and bridge. On the vertical cut face of the quarry is carved a relief depicting a god, and an eagle on the left. 

  • Sultan Murad Bridge

    Going southwest from Balıklıgöl for one km and following the path to the left, you will reach the Sultan Murad Bridge via a route running parallel to the Merzimen Stream. The road is rough, but still passable by car. The bridge, which dates from 200 AD, is surrounded by mountains.

  • Balıklıgöl

    Balıklıgöl is in the village of Yarımca, about 10 km east of Yavuzeli. Proceed past the fields surrounded by pistachio trees, and over the Ibrahim Alan bridge.

    Nobody eats the fish in this 250 m2 pool as they are considered sacred. Local people explain that the fish arise spontaneously in the natural underground spring which wells up here. The wishing trees around the pool are festooned with rags symbolizing the many wishes they have perhaps helped come true. 

  • Dolmen Tomb

    To see the Late Bronze Age Dolmen Tombs, go northwards on the Yavuzeli to Araban road. Called gavrikul (stones with holes) by locals, the tombs are 2 km north of the hamlet of Akkuyu near Küçükkarakuyu Village. 

    A dolmen is a megalithic, single-chambered tomb, consisting of a giant, flat stone block laid on top of three upright ones. The fallen stones of another ruined tomb can be seen next to the intact dolmen.  Further stones in this 850 m2 area in the limestone foothills of Karadağ, are evidence that there were once numerous dolmens here.

  • Cingife Castle

    The 30-metre-high tumulus you will see when you come to the town of Yavuzeli is known as Cingife Castle, Cingife being the former name of the town.  According to hearsay, the name derives from a Genoese settlement that existed here at an uncertain date in the past.

    Fortress walls and stones from ramparts appear in various places on the sides of the mound. Closer examination reveals traces of Early Bronze Age buildings. Yavuzeli grew up around the tumulus and the town’s first houses, made of mudbrick, can be seen today on the east, south, and west sides of the tumulus.  At the top of the mound is a concrete building and transmitting antenna. 

  • Akdeğirmen Bridge

    The Akdeğirmen Bridge is on the Merzimen Stream, 4 km south of Ballık Village and 28 km along the old Gaziantep to Yavuzeli road travelling northwest.

    The bridge is built of ashlar and is well-preserved. It spans the Merzimen Stream from north to south; and is 60 metres long, 5 metres wide and 4 metres high. It has a total of six arches, one main pointed arch flanked by smaller ones.

  • Roman Watchtower

    The ruins of the Saraymağara Watchtower are about 25 km northeast of Dülük Village, by the side of the road linking the villages of Saraymağara and Büyükkarakuyu.

    The tower was on the ancient road connecting Doliche and Samosata in Roman times, and traces of the road can still be seen.  Seven rows of the northeast wall of the watchtower are still standing at the entrance to a vineyard house, but the other walls are largely destroyed. Nowadays, rather than an ancient ruin, it seems more like a recently demolished part of the house next door.