If you like apricots, you’ll love Malatya, the apricot capital of Turkey. Malatya’s farmers produce huge harvests of excellent apricots and cherries which, fresh or dried, are shipped throughout the world.
The city is also an alternative base for visits to Nemrut Dagi. There has been a town here for at least 3000 years, known in Hittite times as Milidia, in Roman times as Melitene, today as Malatya.
Ismet Inönü, Kemal Atatürk’s comrade-in-arms and second president of the Turkish Republic, was born in Malatya.
If use Malatya as a base for your ascent of Nemrut Dagi (instead of Adıyaman or Kahta), it will take you longer to reach the top, and you’ll have to stay overnight in a dingy hotel, but you’ll see both sunset and sunrise at the summit, and you won’t have to endure the tour-operator hassles which are the norm in Kahta. Here in Malatya the tours are organized by the tourist office.
Turkish Airlines flies daily nonstop between Malatya, Ankara and Istanbul , also there are alternatives like Atlas Jet, Onur Air, you just have to choose when to fly, so if you need to fly in and fly out quickly, Malatya is a better choice. You could conceivably fly from Istanbul or Ankara to Malatya, rent a car, drive up Nemrut Dagi , explore the summit, drive back down, and be back in Istanbul or Ankara the next day.
Daily express trains connect Malatya with Ankara, Istanbul , Kayseri , Sivas , Elazig and Diyarbakir, but the bus is faster and usually more comfortable.
You can cross over from the north (Malatya) side of the summit to the south (Kahta) side, or vice-versa, but there is no scheduled transportation from either side. Have all your luggage with you (which is a hassle), walk to the other side and ask to see if there’s an empty seat in a car or minibus descending that side.
Malatya is a busy city situated on a fertile plain at the foot of the Anti-Taurus Mountains. The Archaeology Museum houses new finds from the Lower Firat region that date from the Neolithic and Chalcolithic ages.
Surface Area: 12.313 km2
Population: 853.658 (2000)
Population growth rate: % 19 (2000)
Income Per capita: $1863 (2000)
Number of districts: 13
Literacy Rate: % 97
Urbanization Rate: % 59
When the 17th century Turkish writer Evliya Çelebi, who travelled throughout the Ottoman Empire recording everything he saw, visited Malatya he remarked upon the plentiful water from numerous springs, the good air, and the orchards and vineyards in the green plain, and said that this was a city which aroused the admiration of all those who travelled there.
Malatya is a city encircled by the Beydağları range of mountains, an extension of the Toros, and its position on the road linking Anatolia to Mesopotamia meant that it was settled at a very early stage in history. It saw many civilisations come and go, including the Hittites, Assyrians, Romans, Persians, Arabs, Seljuk Turks and their successors the Ottomans. Assyrian tablets unearthed at Kültepe and dating from the early 2nd millennium BC give the name as Melita, while the Hittites knew the city as Maldia meaning honey, the Romans as Melite or Melitene, the Persians as Aspozanı, the Arabs as Malatiyye, and the Turks as Malatya.
Next to the city museum, you can shop in at the bazaar where an entire passageway of shops is devoted to copperware.
In Malatya, the apricot growing center of Turkey, it is possible to sample many delicious apricot confections as well as other fresh and dried fruit.
The two small towns which pre-date the establishment of present-day Malatya are easy expeditions. Aslantepe, 7 km away, was the capital of a Hittite state in the first millennium B.C., and Battalgazi, 9 km away, was once the ancient city of Melitene. At the latter, stand the ruins of a Byzantine enclosure, and in the center of town, the 13th-century Ulu Mosque is an excellent example of Seljuk architecture.
Local Days of Celebration:
Arrival of Atatürk at Malatya
13 February Festivals:
22-24 July Festivities:
Arapkir Grape Harvest Festivities
First week of September
Darende Zengibahar Traditional Wrestling Matches
SITES OF INTEREST
Pınarbaşı forest recreation area, Takaz Spring, Old Malatya (today Battalgazi), Castle, Malatya, Arapkir and Darende Grand Mosques, Şahabiye-i Kübra old theological school (medrese),Sadrazam mosque complex, Melik Sunullah, Akminare, Abdülselam, Karahan, Cafer Pasha, Mirliva Ahmed Pasha, Gümrükçü Osman Pasha, Çobanlı and Köprülü Mehmed Pasha mosques, Ispanakçı Mustafa Pasha Library (later Molla Eyüb Mosque), Kanlı (bloody) Vault, Twin Mausoleums, Şeyh Hamid-i Veli (Somuncu Baba) Dervish’ Lodge, Silahtar Mustafa Pasha Inn, Taşhan, Kırkgöz Bridge, Bazaar (Arasta of Haç Hüseyin Pasha), Hasan Pasha and Köprülü Mehmed Pasha baths.