Antep city is not only about delicious food and archaeological riches. It is possible to hear the hidden story of the city sometimes in a folk song, sometimes in the hammer sounds of the craftsmen or the thundering of the Euphrates River.
If there is one thing that is as good as food Mesopotamia, it is music. Songs are indispensable tastes for the cultural life of the city, as well as the taste that a delicious meal leaves on the palate. The meetings in which music is performed provide the unity of feelings, thoughts and spirit among the citizens, and also help handing down the cultural elements such as tradition, customs, adaptation and manners to the next generations.
There are also voices coming from the ancient times, which a peddler describes with the rattle of his bowls or a castle rising above the water with its silence.
Gaziantep Meshk Nights
In the meshk nights that continued popularly from the 1925's to the 1970's Turkish classical music or maqam music was performed rather than folk music. Although the importance of meshk nights in the city culture has weakened over time, there are still places where traditional meshk nights are held in Gaziantep today.
Rumkale, a wonder of nature and human, built on the slopes rising steeply from the banks of the Euphrates River, has the appearance of a peninsula surrounded by a dam lake on three sides. Observing Mesopotamia over the steep cliffs on which it was built, Rumkale tells us its various stories in a dignified silence.
It is rumored that Saint John, one of the apostles of the Jesus, wrote a copy of the Bible and kept his gospel here. For this reason, Rumkale is considered sacred and frequently visited by Christians.
Coppersmiths Bazaar (Bakırcılar Çarşısı), which has been full of hammer sounds for about four centuries, takes its visitors to another era with its wood-covered shops and stone-paved streets. The art of coppersmith, which gives its name to the bazaar, is still popular today, as copper items still occupy an important place in city culture, especially in the kitchen. Copper items are a very popular souvenir for tourists as well as for local people of Antep.
However, the magic of Coppersmiths Bazaar does neither originate from the traditional shopping experience, the magic is in the sound of the hammer, which the masters who skillfully beat the copper to shape the products. This is such a symphony that its notes, which have been passed down from master to apprentice for hundreds of years. Copper masters know which notes to be piano and which to be forte, and turn that gentle copper material into a wonderful piece with their experienced strokes.
Licorice Sherbet, or in Turkish, Meyan Şerbeti, which is an integral part of Gaziantep culture, is consumed especially in summer, on religiously important days and during Ramadan. This sherbet, which does not contain sweetening agents and consists of completely natural ingredients (licorice fibers, water, cinnamon powder, clove, and rose water), is made at home by some people of Antep, but it is often bought from sellers wandering the streets, wearing traditional clothes, and carrying a large “sherbet bag”. Sellers pour the licorice sherbet in the leather bottle on their backs into a bowl or glass and sell it. In order to attract customers and make them noticed, they rattle the two bowls they put on top of each other by hitting each other.