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Gaziantep (Antep)

History

Before the Arabs conquered the town in AD 638, the Persians, Alexander the Great, the Romans and the Byzantines all left their imprints on the region. Proceeding from the east, the Seljuk Turks strolled into the picture around 1070.

Aintab (the former name of Gaziantep) remained a city of Seljuk culture, ruled by petty Turkish lords until the coming of the Ottomans under Selim the Grim in 1516.

During the Ottoman period, Aintab had a sizable Christian population, especially Armenians. You’ll see Armenian churches, community buildings and mansions scattered throughout the city’s historical core.

In 1920, as the victorious allies sought to carve up the Ottoman territories, Aintab was besieged by French forces intent on adding Turkish lands to their holdings in Syria and Lebanon. Aintab’s fierce nationalist defenders surrendered on 8 February 1921. The epithet Gazi (War Hero) was added to Antep in 1973 to pay homage to the tenacious defence of the defenders.