Gaziantep Castle, an important tourist destination and historical site in southeastern Türkiye, has been severely damaged by the earthquake that hit both Türkiye and Syria on 6 February. It was used by Romans and Byzantines for centuries but the 7.8 magnitude earthquake caused the castle to collapse.
Some of the bastions in the east, south and southeast parts of the historical Gaziantep Castle in the central Şahinbey district were destroyed by the earthquake, the debris was scattered on the road.Anadolu, Turkish state-run news agency
“The iron railings around the castle were scattered on the surrounding sidewalks. The retaining wall next to the castle also collapsed. In some bastions, large cracks were observed,” the report said.
Before the earthquake, Gaziantep Castle was one of the best preserved castles in Türkiye, which has always attracted attention with its splendor and history. The location of Gaziantep Castle served as a lookout spot during the 2nd century BC for the Hittite Empire. Archaeological excavations have shown that the castle was first built in Roman times as a watchtower and was expanded over time. In its present form, it appeared during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century, when the castle was expanded and refurbished.
Since 962, a period of constant conquests and reconquest lasted, during which the castle was owned by the Muslims, the Byzantines, the Seljuks, the Crusaders, the Armenian Cilician Kingdom of Cilicia, the Zengid dynasty, the Ilkhanate and the Mamluks. It ended in 1516, when the castle was captured by the Ottoman Empire, after which it lost its military significance. Aintab was the former name of Gaziantep, which was bestowed with the honorary prefix of G(h)azi, signifying ‘warrior’, in recognition of the residents’ defense of the city against French troops during the Siege of Aintab in 1920.
The 2200-year-old Gaziantep castle in Turkey suffers major damage after the earthquake.— tartary and antiquity (@AndTartary) February 10, 2023
It witnessed the Hittite Empire…
From the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I
Witness to the reign of the Ayyubids in the 12th and 13th centuries. pic.twitter.com/iBtPksU97l
The castle was an historical witness of Türkiye’s culture. The inscription on the main gate shows that the towers on both sides of the main gate and the castle bridge were reconstructed by Sultan Suleiman “the Magnificent” in 1557 during the Ottoman Empire. During the archaeological excavations, the remains of various architectural structures of the early Islamic, Byzantine, Ottoman periods, bullet cores, fragments of bracelets of the Byzantine period, terracotta oil lamps, coins of the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, numerous iron cores, fragments of flint muskets and some sealed parts of pipes, as well as some animal bones were discovered. Thanks to this, Gaziantep Castle has become one of the main attractions in the city center due to its historical structure.