Antep is close to the Syrian border and made a lot of capitalistic progress in the last 10 years. This leads to a very interesting city. On my first day in Antep I met Turkish and Kurdish people, Syrian refugees, Europeans who volunteer in helping the Syrians and American capitalists who try to make money in Antep.
I met people who are very pro capitalism and people who are on the opposing side. This lead to many good discussions about capitalism and socialism. I got the impression, that turkey is making many mistakes which other capitalistic countries made before. Some turks believe money equals happiness, but forget about its consequences on people, the nature and life quality.
Initially I only wanted to stay one night, but the many discussions and interesting people made it worth to stay for 4 days.
Antep is known all over turkey for its good food. Many people say it has the best kitchen in Turkey. You probably heard of Baklava before, it originates in Antep and is made with locally grown pistachios and wheat.
More dishes from Antep:
- Atom, a beverage with lots of fruits, nuts and honey
- Katmer, another sweet dish made with local nuts and lots of sugar
- Gözleme, looks like filled crepes, but is made without eggs
One event describes very good, how hospitable and generous the local people are to foreigners. One day, I walked through the industry district of Antep on the way to a museum and got hungry. I went into a small restaurant and got lots of food and tea. The moment I wanted to pay, the owner of the restaurant said it was free for me and offered me to pay the bus to the museum for me. I refused as I needed a walk after three large plates of fried vegetables, smoked aubergines, chickpeas and bread.
I went to a 500 year old Hamam in Antep, "Tarihi Naib Hamamı". I expected to have sauna, pools and maybe some steam rooms. In reality it had one big hot stone and some rooms with washing basins. So it actually is a bath house. I paid a strong guy for "Kese" and massage. "Kese" is a strong scrub which feels like you got your skin peeled off.
Hitchhiking works really well in Turkey, as there's lots of helpful people and it's very common. I tried to hitchhike from Antep to Urfa and waited at the wrong spot. After 5 minutes of waiting, there were about 10 people explaining me in kurdish, syrian and turkish, that I'm at the wrong spot. Eventually one of them organized a car to the bus station and they paid me a bus to Urfa without a chance for me to refuse the money.