Gaziantep is the last Turkish-speaking city before the Kurdish and Arab areas east of it, and somehow manages to mix the modernity of western Turkey with the more exotic flavors of the Middle East. Not long ago it was an average regional city exporting car parts and pistachios, but local authorities have put a huge effort into promoting tourism by developing the old quarter and showing off the rich food culture as well as the historical mosaics excavated from nearby Zeugma. Spend some time wandering through the narrow-laned old town, with its graceful stone houses, and venture into the bustling bazaar filled with the sound of hammering coppersmiths. Many old houses and their large interior courtyards survive; some have been converted into museums, cafés, hotels, and inns.
A melting pot of many culinary traditions, Gaziantep is also one of Turkey’s most important food capitals, and a collection of restaurants and baklava bakeries are considered among the best in the country. You can see the main sights in one day, but could easily spend two days exploring and eating. This is pistachio country and the tasty green nuts are even named after the city (Antep fistiği in Turkish). Many Turks still refer to the city as its old name, Antep. The "Gazi" prefix was added after the city held out against a French and Armenian siege during the War of Independence (it means "war hero").