Probably the first sight that will arouse curiosity out of any visitor to Gaziantep are the high massive walls on top of a hill. It's hard to have missed it when you arrive, it's almost visible from a fair distance within the city center.
It immediately caught my attention as I was crossing the vast Cumhuriyet Meydani (Republic Square) while staring at the statue of Kemal Ataturk. My sleepy eyes (I just came from a flight) are transfixed on the sight while I was lethargically dragging my luggage along Istasyon Cadessi searching for my hotel. It must be a fortress, so I thought.
Built on top of a 25m high huge rock called Kudret, the Gaziantep Castle is located right in the middle of the old city centre. It’s surrounded by the bazaars and bedestans of the city.
It was thought to be a Hittite castle although excavations conducted reveals a Bronze Age settlement.
The castle was thought to have been first built in the 2nd and 3rd century AD during the Roman period as an Observation tower. It was enlarged and strengthened during the time of the Byzantium Emperor Justinianus between 527-565 AD.
The thick high walls of the castle were made of huge stones and supported by 12 towers and bastions.
According to inscriptions, the several towers were constructed during different historical eras - the north tower by the Romans, west towers were constructed by the Mamluks, the two towers on the sides of the bridge during the reign of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent.
Access inside the castle is not guaranteed as restoration work is ongoing in and around.
Address: Seferpaşa Mh., 27240 Gaziantep, Turkey