|Bins of nuts sold on many sidewalks. We watch a bird standing on top of|
one bin, eating his fill. We will not be buying from these outdoor bins.
|An unusual headscarf.|
In Turkish the preface 'gazi' to a town name means 'war heros'. This city was known forever as Antep. Thousands of Turkish men in Antep were killed fighting the French in 1921 to 1923 during the Turks' struggle under General Ataturk to form a new country from the Ottoman Empire. To honor these war heroes the name of the city was changed from Antep to Gaziantep. It is an ancient city; and, like most of the other places we would visit during this trip, was an important part of the old Silk Road. Merchants have traveled and traded through Gaziantep for millennia. Gaziantep is among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
|Top of a minaret; no idea which mosque in Gaziantep|
After settling into a basic hotel we again boarded the small bus and headed off for a fabulous lunch at a restaurant right next to the Sirvani Mosque, also called Sirvani Mehmet Mosque. The restaurant was named 'something' çağdaş That is a coincidence because a good friend in Gocek also has the surname çağdaş. The squiggly beneath the c and the s means those letters should be pronounced as 'ch' and 'sh' and the symbol over the g means it is silent, so the name is pronounced Chadash. In 1923 at the formation of the country Turkey from the old Ottoman Empire each person had to choose a surname. In Turkish the word çağdaş means modern. A fitting new last name for a man in a 'new' country.
|Sirvani Mosque under rennovation|
|Sirvani Mosque minaret|
|Entrance to newer separate section of the bazaar|
|Inside the old labyrinthe bazaar.|
|Center, where 5 alleys meet|
|Making copper pans by hand.|
|Looking into a shop inside the bazaar that had an old|
boombox with a TV in the center of it. The shop owner
would not let me take a photo of it.
|Very old doors to close up shops|
at night. These were on regular
streets in the old city district,
not inside the bazaar.
|Dried veggies. The white ones are|
dried small squash.
Many shops both inside and outside the bazaar had the typical mini-mountains of multi-colored spices and graceful garlands of various dried chiles and other dried vegetables. We saw these strings of dried vegetables everywhere we visited on this trip.
|The long light green ones are okra; black are eggplant; the|
red ones are tomatoes and sweet & hot peppers.
Many, if not most, of the homes have no refrigeration. Millenia ago the people of this region learned how to dry most vegetables and see no reason to switch to processed vegetables in cans or jars. These dried vegetables are rehydrated when desired and then cooked as usual. We have been told that these are very good and closely resemble fresh veggies. There also were many shops selling baklava as this region of Turkey is the pistachio growing area. Iran is the world's largest producer of pistachios, followed by the USA, and Turkey is third. Pistachio trees covered the countryside of this region.
|These metal serving dishes were so pretty I wanted to buy|
some. Then realized these would never get used, so didn't.
Right in the heart of the bazaar is a quaint kahvehane (coffeehouse) set in a restored caravanserai. A caravanserai was a large inn enclosing a courtyard providing accommodation for caravans during the old years of camel caravan merchants. After our huge lunch we were not tempted by coffee and baklava, although many others in our group enjoyed the delicacies. We got a kick out of one particular member of our group. He loved baklava but had the oddest way of pronouncing this word. Our neighbor in Houston for many years was a Greek who had immigrated to the USA. His mother made the best baklava, but using walnuts rather than pistachios.
|Walking sticks, heavily inlaid; beautiful work. Thought|
about buying one for Bill's brother as a Christmas present
but did not. (Sorry, John; you won't be getting a new
fancy walking stick for Christmas this year.)
|Lamps and trinkets made from|
silver and other metals
I do not eat pistachios, so this Turkish baklava was of no interest to me whatsoever. But a British man in our group loved the Turkish baklava made from pistachios. He pronounced it bah-CLAV-ah instead of BAHK-lah-vah. Everytime he said bah-CLAV-ah I thought he was talking about a headscarf worn by a Russian woman.
Heard this many times daily for a week and never did get accustomed to this strange pronunciation. If he reads this blog posting, I submit this link for him (and some of the other Brits) to hear how the name of this pastry should be correctly pronounced:
Correct pronunciation of baklava
|Chess set; Crusaders vs. Muslims|
Adjacent to the Zincirli Bedesten but not part of the labyrinthe was another section of the bazaar that was more brightly lit and with wider aisles for shopping. This section has more items of interest to tourists. One of our group members purchased a chess set with teams of players of the Crusaders vs. the Muslims. Also available were teams of players such as the Egyptians vs. the Romans. The Turks have long memories.
|Typical coat, all year long.|
|Another year-round coat.|
|More year-round coats. Everywhere.|
The coats are worn OVER long pants or skirts AND long-sleeved tops, along with the usual tradition headscarves. I do not see how they can tolerate that in such heat. Don't tell me that they are used to it and don't feel the heat like we do. I have seen women stand up and their entire backs and legs are drenched with sweat, with the coat saturated.
|The inaccessible Citadel|
Next we walked a few blocks to the Gaziantep Citadel. Our guide had heard from local people that the bridge had collapsed and the citadel was closed, but we all wanted to see for ourselves that it really was closed to visitors. It was. The 250-year-old wooden pedestrian bridge at the entrance had collapsed just a few days prior to our visit. There was no way to enter the castle. I was glad that it had collapsed BEFORE we arrived rather than collapsing while we were on it.
|Tower at entrance of Citadel|
Gaziantep Citadel is a castle, located in the center of the city. The history of castle is a mystery. As a result of the relatively recent excavations conducted there, bronze age settlement layers have been found beneath the castle section existing on the surface of the soil. The original castle is next to and beneath the current old castle. The current castle was built as an observation tower during the Roman Period and was enlarged over the course of time. It achieved its present appearance after undergoing restoration work during the period of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century AD. It is approximately 325 feet in diameter and 3,900 feet in width. The castle incorporates 12 towers and bastions today; but during its heyday this castle was much, much larger. At one time it had 36 towers. It looks quite large with just the 12 towers; I can only imagine how large it must have been when it had 36 towers.
|Excavation project of the old original castle which is both|
adjacent and BENEATH the Citadel sitting so high up.
The glass panels allow visitors to see the ancient site
but entry is forbidden.
The ditch around the castle is about 33 feet deep. Access to castle is possible only via that collapsed wooden pedestrian bridge. According to the tourist information, inside the castle are remains of Roman baths, cisterns, masjid and various other constructions. On the basement level are halls, galleries and corridors constructed in order to provide support for the upper sections of the castle. There is also a water source under the main block. This citadel could have housed and protected a great many people for a very long time if a siege had occurred.
Here is a link for images and info on the Gaziantep Citadel which we were unable to enter:
Gaziantep Citadel info in first section of this link
|Freshly harvested olives for sale. People like to process|
their own fresh olive oil as well as cooking the olives that
we are familiar with in jars. Special spices to individual taste.
Next we walked through a different section of the old city area with yet even more small shops of every description. Olives are now being harvested and there were bins and bags and barrels of olives for sale along the streets and sidewalks.
|Intricate metal work and inlays on old knives, swords & guns.|
|Bill liked this old gun|
A sword and gun shop caught our attention. The metal work was gorgeous.
Our destination was yet another mosque. I have forgotten the name of this one but it hold great meaning to the Turkish people because over 1,000 men were killed inside this mosque by the French during the fighting of 1921 to 1923. The French would line up the men and shoot them inside the mosque. I did not go inside but others of our group did and they spoke of the bullet holes still visible on the interior walls.
This was enough for our first day of this group tour. It had been a long day of travel and sightseeing after a too-early rising this morning. We were all more than ready to return to the hotel and relax.
On the bus this day one person was slightly ill and sneezed several times. A few of our group spoke a little Turkish said something each time she sneezed. I cannot remember the Turkish words but the translations go like this:
Person sneezes and instead of "God Bless You" one says: "Long Life."
Instead of saying "Thank You" the person who sneezed says: "May you live to see it."
Isn't that a nice exchange of expressions.
Here is a short video of men baking bread in a small shop in Gaziantep. There were lots of these small bakeries.