Hello again. On Monday I relayed the happenings that got me to and from Gaziantep, today, we’re talking about the real deal, the 6th oldest city in the world (supposed) with the best museum in Turkey (again, supposedly) and the largest Fulbright Turkey population known to man. I couldn’t be more excited.
Gaziantep is in the south east of Turkey, real close to the Syrian border. As a result, the city feels a lot like I’d imagine a Syrian city would feel like. It’s way different from the other regions of Turkey that I’ve been to. There are flat roofs. There’s lots of dust and in the summer it can get real warm. There are very few sidewalks, but lots of rubble strewn “paths” along the roadsides. Oh, and there’s huge amount of pistachios. I don’t know how you fine people feel about pistachios, but I’m pretty fond of them. Every Christmas my grandpa used to send me a box of them from a catologue. Good times. In Turkey I have come to appreciate the pistachio (fıstık) not just as a nut, but as an ingredient. There’s pistachio icecream, which before I did not like, has kind of become one of my favorites. There’s pistachio baklava, which is almost an entirely different dessert from the walnut baklava I generally prefer. There’s this think called katmer, which is ground pistachios mixed with clotted cream, which is then used as a filling for a really oily pastry dough–oh, yeah, and then it’s kind of fried on a skillet with butter (yes, I did eat it, and no, I don’t regret it). You get the point, pistachios abound in G’tep.
So I spent a really nice weekend amidst dust, pistachio products, and Fulbright friends. I bought more souvenirs than I have in a good long while, including some copper products from Gaziantep’s copper bazar. I also bought a small piece of Gaziantep silk because it was just so pretty (it’s not actually pure silk, it’s half cotton and half silk, usually woven into very colorful, striped cloth). I also bought a pair of elephant-printed shalwar pants, which are clearly from India, but I like ’em, so why not buy?!
But I did not only eat and shop. I also visited a really old archeological site, called Göbekli Tepe, which is close to Urfa, another city in the south east. The weather was kind of rainy, so it wasn’t the best for picture-taking, but I definitely enjoyed the seeing site. Here’s a pic of the land around the site.
Also, there’s apparently a wishing tree. I saw a bunch of people tying on pieces of white “cloth.” Well, upon closer inspection it turns out they were just ripping up wet wipes and tying those on the tree. I had some wet wipes with me, too, so I just made a wish and tied one on.
After seeing Göbekli Tepe we made our way into Urfa and hung out for a while. We had a great lunch, saw the main sites, and made our way back to Gaziantep, playing kind of cerebral, dorky car games all the way. Good times. Good times.
The last day in Gaziantep we went to the Zeugma museum, which is a very nice mozaic museum, with the mozaic’s taken from Greek ruins near Gaziantep. The museum actually sits on the old silk road. Here I am under a statue of a camel. Don’t ask, it seemed like the right pose in the moment.
That’s all for now. The next two weeks are going to be BUSY, so stay tuned!