GAZİANTEP CITY OF MUSEUMS
Gaziantep has a total of 14 museums, each focused on a different aspect of the province’s rich history and culture accumulated over the centuries. This feature makes Gaziantep a veritable “city of museums”.
Zeugma Mosaic Museum: The Zeugma Mosaic Museum is described as the largest mosaic museum in the world, as exhibited here are 2,248 m2 restored mosaics and 140 m2 frescoes; and also fountains, columns, sarcophagi, and other building elements. Zeugma was one of the most prominent cities of its time, and the museum displays bring it to life as far as possible, giving visitors a real sense of what it was like.
The Archaeology Museum: The Gaziantep Archaeology Museum, with 450 m2 of exhibition space, displays the moveable artifacts found in the area in sequence, as a “chronological museum”. The museum houses approximately 2000 exhibits, which demonstrate the chronology of Gaziantep.
Hasan Süzer Ethnography Museum: The Hasan Süzer Ethnography Museum contains exhibits relating to the traditional Gaziantep lifestyle, and is housed in a historical building whose every brick holds a memory. This museum building is a typical example of an Antep house, one of the most important cultural elements of Gaziantep. Its architecture was suited to the functional and self-contained way of life of its inhabitants, meeting all the needs of a three-generational family from the past, living together under one roof.
Bayazhan City Museum: The Beyazhan is an impressive building, inside which almost every historical and cultural aspect of the city can be seen. Through effective audio and visual material, the Beyazhan museum informs visitors about historical buildings in the city, popular culture, daily life, and traditions and customs. It is a visitor service complex in which people can get detailed insights into the subjects covered by the mueum through displays which engage all the senses.
Museum of Cultural History: The museum covers an area of 450 m2, houses nearly 550 exhibits, and gives information, accompanied by original artifacts, on cultural life in Gaziantep from the earliest period to the present. Using information panels and electronic visual aids, the museum guides visitors through the cultural history of Gaziantep, explaining the tastes, customs, and artistic sensibilities of the city’s people.
Emine Göğüş Cuisine Museum: Gaziantep is renowned for the variety, originality and tastiness of its cuisine, and the Emine Göğüs Cuisine Museum on Sadık Dai Street in the city’s Kalealtı quarter acquaints visitors with the city’s rich dining tradition. In this typical old Antep house, the museum showcases the ingredients, utensils and table settings used in Antep cuisine, and local cooking and dining customs.
The Gaziantep Defence and Kahramanlık Panorama Museum: The Gaziantep Defence and Panorama Museum is inside the castle, in the restored gallery section in which the dungeons are located. It reveals the heroic fight put up by the people of Antep; with statues of the partisan bands, craftspeople, doctors, women and children who took part in the Defence of Gaziantep, and reliefs depicting the dramatic events of the period.
Gaziantep War Museum: The Şahinbey War Museum is housed in a historic Antep house next to the Şehitler Park in Şehreküstü, one of Gaziantep’s oldest neighbourhoods. The museum lays bare in a striking manner the unknown aspects of the illustrious defence of Antep, which earned the regard of even the occupying armies. With 850 m2 of covered space, the museum contains 12 rooms, a large courtyard and a cave of approximately 350 m2.
Gaziantep Mevlevi Lodge Foundation Museum: The museum situated in the Tekke Camii külliye (social complex attached to a mosque) occupies two buildings. The 400-year-old building was used for a long time as a Mevlevihane before being restored by the Regional Directorate of Foundations and opened as the Gaziantep Mevlevihane Foundation Museum, in which many items belonging to the foundation are exhibited. The museum has 366 m2 of covered area containing a total of 127 items, 102 of which are on display. Exhibits in the museum include: in the Calligraphy room, 11 calligraphy panels and 18 Korans; in the Clocks and Ethnographic Artefacts room, 7 stamp seals, 4 grandfather clocks, 2 Korans, 1 kilim and one lectern; in the Kilim hall, 5 carpets and 10 kilims;in the Carpet hall, 21 carpets.
Medusa Glassware Museum: Medusa, the mythological character who turned those who looked upon her face to stone, was the inspiration for the first private glassware museum in Turkey. The Medusa Glassware Museum is housed in three restored old Antep houses on Şakir Street in the Seferpaşa neighbourhood of Kalealtı. The structure was built in the 1930s of the local white limestone, and contains the museum, an antiques sales room, telkarı (“silver filigree”) room and glass bead workshop.
Saklı Konak Copperware Museum: The Saklı Konak Copperware Museum, located in an old mansion near Gaziantep Castle, is the first private copperware museum in Turkey. It houses about 1060 pieces that were crafted by coppersmiths during the Ottoman period. Artefacts displayed in the museum include: plates, ewers, cauldrons, bowls, trays, pails, jugs, scales, radios, Ottoman era rifles and bayonets, daggers and swords.
The Game and Toy Museum: The Game and Toy Museum is housed in an old 3-storey building in Bey Mahallesi, one of Gaziantep’s historical districts. 591 pieces dating from 1700-1970 are on display in the museum, which was put together under the guidance of Sunay Akın. In addition to the exhibits, there are also workshops which help children develop their manual skills.
A Living Museum in the Historical Gümrük Han: The “Living Museum in the Historical Gümrük Han” has been opened in this centuries-old, recently restored building located in Uzun Çarşı, in order to publicize handicrafts which face extinction and pass them on to new generations, Among the traditional handicrafts on display here are: silver and coppersmithing; kilim weaving; yemeni (flat leather shoes) making; mother-of-pearl inlay; the weaving of woolen aba and colourful silk/cotton kutnu and alaca cloths; carpentry and woodcarving; mosaic; prayer bead manufacture; and the Antep embroidery done by local women.
Yesemek Open Air Museum and Sculpture Workshop: This museum is located on the hill of Karatepe in the village of Yesemek, 22 km southeast of İslâhiye. More than 300 unfinished stone statues were uncovered during excavations here, most of them lions intended as gateposts. Among the half-finished statues on display here are sphinxes, a bear-man, a war chariot, mountain men representing the Amanos Mountains, reliefs of hunting scenes, and building blocks. The vast scale of the Yesemek Open Air Museum (a former Hittite quarry), and the number of sculptors who must have worked here, underlines the importance of art to the people who lived in the region at that time.
Gaziantep Castle is one of the best-preserved and most impressive castles in Turkey. Magnificent and imposing, cloaked in the secrets of its history, it stands guard over Gaziantep from its highly visible position in the middle of the city, on a 25-30- meter-high mound on the south bank of the Alleben Stream. The castle was first built as a Roman watchtower on top of the tumulus. It took its present form in the 6th century during the rule of Byzantine Emporer Justinian, known as the “castle builder”. It measures about 100 meters across, and 1200 m around its perimeter, which is shaped like an irregular circle. There are 12 towers on the ramparts. Gaziantep’s spectacular castle is well-worth visiting for a closer look.
The Gaziantep Planetarium and Science Center is Turkey’s first planetarium. It has 3,500 m2 of covered area and 1,500 m2 of open air space, and is situated in the 100. Yıl Atatürk Culture Park.
The planetarium is a special kind of hall for watching informative and entertaining presentations about astronomy and space. These are projected onto the planetarium’s spherical dome, which has a diameter of 10.6 m. Watching the show is an enjoyable way of way of learning more about earth and its position in the universe.
The Botanical Garden covers an area of 17,000 m2, and has more than 30,000 plants of 750 species. It provides both research opportunities for students and a peaceful environment for visitors to relax in.
Different groups of plants are found in specially designed areas: the Rock Garden, the Gymnosperm Garden, the Colour and Scent Garden, Medicinal and Endemic Plants; the Ottoman Garden, Zen Garden, Rose Garden, Japanese Garden and Aquatic Plants Garden.
PARKANTEP WORLD OF WONDERS
Turkey’s first amusement theme park covers an area of 95,000 m2. Visitors of all ages will enjoy Parkantep, which has many fun rides including: a “tunnel of fear”, rafting, water flume, a drop tower, car racing and rally, rollercoaster, and miniature train ride.
The 280,000 m2 Şahinbey Park contains Miniatürk, an amusement park with models of 20 famous buildings; a cable car lift and funicular; amphitheater; and “dancing fountains”.
The miniature buildings in Miniatürk include the Selimiye Mosque, Çanakkale Monument, Leander’s Tower, Dolmabahçe Palace, St. Antoine Church, the Süleymaniye Mosque, Topkapı Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, Hagia Sophia Mosque, Anıtkabir, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Mostar Bridge (Bosna Hersek), the Mehmet Ali Pasha Mosque (Egypt), the Taj Mahal (Hindistan), Kubbet-ül Sahra (Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem) and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The cable car in the park affords visitors a bird’s eye view of these attractions.
Turkey’s largest wildlife sanctuary and recreation area is in Gaziantep in the Burç Forest. The area contains 264 species and 6,814 individual animals. The zoo covers an area of approximately 1,000 m2, making it the largest in Turkey and one of the largest in the world. Its 21-section aquarium is one of the two biggest in the world, and there is also a monkey house, camel and llama house, horse stable, kangaroo enclosure, giant aviaries and areas for predators. 3,720 birds of 90 different species occupy the 400 m² cage, which has specially heated areas to house tropical birds. The aquarium covers an area of 1200 m², holds 450 tons of water and has both marine and freshwater species. It contains 2,950 fish of 74 species. Visitors can easily see all areas of the zoo by taking the train, or a nostalgic carriage ride around it.