Gaziantep Castle

Gaziantep Castle

Gaziantep Castle, locally known as Gaziantep Kalesi, lies in the center of the city of the same name, in the province of Gaziantep in Turkey.

The site of Gaziantep Castle was already used as an observation point by the Hittite Empire in the 2nd millennium BC. In the 2nd and 3rd century AD the Roman Empire built a fortification on the same site.

The castle underwent further expansion and renovation under the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century. Originally the fortification stood on a rock, the Byzantines enlarged it by constructing a mound against the slope of the rock. They then circled the complete site with a dry moat, defended by a subterranean gallery against the foot of the castle.

In 661 AD the castle passed to the Umayyads. It stayed in Muslim hands until 962, when Gaziantep was recaptured by the Byzantines. In 1067 it was taken by the Seljuks. It was captured by Crusaders in 1098 and became integrated in their County of Edessa.

It reverted to the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm in 1150. Then a period of constant conquering en reconquering followed, during which it was alternately possessed by the Seljuks, the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and the Zengid dynasty.

The Ayyubids captured it in 1181. During their rule over the castle, they restored and strengthened it. In 1218 Gaziantep was again retaken by the Seljuks. And yet again a period of constant conquering en reconquering followed, during which it was alternately possessed by the Ilkhanate and the Mamluks. This period lasted until 1516 when the castle was captured by the Ottoman Empire. From then on, Gaziantep Castle lost its military importance.

The castle has the shape of a somewhat irregular circle. It has 12 towers, some of which are adorned with Ayyubid and Mamluk decorations.

Gaziantep was formerly known as Aintab. It received the honorific prefix of G(h)azi, meaning 'warrior', after its inhabitants had defended the city against French forces during the Siege of Aintab in 1920.

Gaziantep Castle is now used as the Gaziantep Defense and Heroism Panoramic Museum. The accessible part of the subterranean gallery is used for the exhibition. Sadly enough, it completely focuses on the 1920 defense and learns you nothing about the history of the castle itself. In the bailey of the castle there is not much to be seen except some small excavated sections which you cannot enter. But still, this is a great castle to visit. Also, do visit the charming old city center next to the castle.


Gallery

Gaziantep Castle

Gaziantep Castle

Gaziantep Castle, locally known as Gaziantep Kalesi, lies in the center of the city of the same name, in the province of Gaziantep in Turkey.

The site of Gaziantep Castle was already used as an observation point by the Hittite Empire in the 2nd millennium BC. In the 2nd and 3rd century AD the Roman Empire built a fortification on the same site.

The castle underwent further expansion and renovation under the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century. Originally the fortification stood on a rock, the Byzantines enlarged it by constructing a mound against the slope of the rock. They then circled the complete site with a dry moat, defended by a subterranean gallery against the foot of the castle.

In 661 AD the castle passed to the Umayyads. It stayed in Muslim hands until 962, when Gaziantep was recaptured by the Byzantines. In 1067 it was taken by the Seljuks. It was captured by Crusaders in 1098 and became integrated in their County of Edessa.

It reverted to the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm in 1150. Then a period of constant conquering en reconquering followed, during which it was alternately possessed by the Seljuks, the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and the Zengid dynasty.

The Ayyubids captured it in 1181. During their rule over the castle, they restored and strengthened it. In 1218 Gaziantep was again retaken by the Seljuks. And yet again a period of constant conquering en reconquering followed, during which it was alternately possessed by the Ilkhanate and the Mamluks. This period lasted until 1516 when the castle was captured by the Ottoman Empire. From then on, Gaziantep Castle lost its military importance.

The castle has the shape of a somewhat irregular circle. It has 12 towers, some of which are adorned with Ayyubid and Mamluk decorations.

Gaziantep was formerly known as Aintab. It received the honorific prefix of G(h)azi, meaning 'warrior', after its inhabitants had defended the city against French forces during the Siege of Aintab in 1920.

Gaziantep Castle is now used as the Gaziantep Defense and Heroism Panoramic Museum. The accessible part of the subterranean gallery is used for the exhibition. Sadly enough, it completely focuses on the 1920 defense and learns you nothing about the history of the castle itself. In the bailey of the castle there is not much to be seen except some small excavated sections which you cannot enter. But still, this is a great castle to visit. Also, do visit the charming old city center next to the castle.


Gallery