I am writing this from a new friends apartment in Gaziantep, eastern Turkey. I met this new friend of mine a couple of weeks back when I was living in my Olympos Tree house. We only talked for a minute but I learned he lived in Gaziantep and we exchanged Facebook info. I sent him a message a few days back saying I would be passing through Gaziantep and he invited me to stay with him. He is originally from Syria and has shown me hospitality that I have never seen before. So straight up I need to thank him for all his generosity. I have now been in Gaziantep for about 3 days and have really done nothing but work online and eat. I really mean EAT! Gaziantep is known for its food, and we have eaten like the kings that once ruled this land. I guarantee I will leave here about 10lbs heavier than when I arrived. But enough about that, back to my day in the market checking out some guns for sale.travel backpacking Gazianteptravel backpacking gaziantep

Turkish people just doing Turkish stuff

As I said, I have been super lazy the last couple days and decided it was time to change that. I woke up early this morning, and after a quick breakfast of Gozleme (a Turkish pancake type thing stuffed with cheese) and some tea I hit the road and headed to the Gaziantep old town market. As I walked there I really felt like I was in a far off land. There is absolutely no English spoken here at all. When I try to order something or ask something in my terrible Turkish, if I mispronounce any word even the slightest they have no idea what the hell I’m talking about. This is annoying of course but I know I am in their country and their city so why should they know MY language? Anyways, as I strolled down the street towards the Gaziantep market I passed many an interesting sight. And by interesting I mean Turkish people just doing Turkish people stuff. Sitting on benches, drinking tea, talking to each other… As you can see Gaziantep may not be the most interesting, but the market sure is and we are getting to that.travel backpacking gaziantep

Getting closer to the Middle East

I passed an old church that was covered in bullet holes; it was a gentle reminder of where I was and what has happened in these parts in the past. Gaziantep has it’s history of conflict. I continued on. It was still morning so they sun had not hit its peak yet and I was thankful for that. I was in heavy jeans, I would like to be in shorts but no one else in Gaziantep is. I think I would look like an asshole if I were. I am getting closer and closer to the Middle East by the day with every new city I venture to and that means more conservative in every aspect of life, including the obvious of clothing, and Gaziantep is no exception. All that said, Gaziantep is spotlessly clean and pretty modern. Gaziantep is now mostly a purpose-built city and new construction is going on everywhere, there are an influx of Syrians coming and they are preparing. You can tell there is money here. As I walked through Gaziantep I had my camera around my neck and stuck out like a sore thumb. I am pretty sure I am the only traveller/tourist/backpacker whatever you want to call me; I am the only one here. This is even more obvious when I walk through the market and people just stare.. they do not call me to their shop, they do not try to lead to places I do not want to go, they just look and wonder what the hell I am doing here and why I am so interested in taking pictures of what they consider normality.travel backpacking gaziantep travel backpacking gaziantep

What lies behind the closed doors of Gaziantep Market

After about a 30-minute walk through the streets of Gaziantep I reached the entrance to the market. The market itself is fairly expansive and fills up the entire old town. They sell everything here, and I mean everything. I am sure the list of what’s offered in Gaziantep goes far beyond what I could see in the shop windows but as curious as I am, I decided it was best not to pry into what may lie behind the closed doors of this market. I passed the usual spices, nuts, leather, silverware, ect.. One thing that caught my eye was the amount of firearm stores. This made me think back to when I was on the ferry from Istanbul to the Princess Islands a few weeks ago and some dude bent over and I could see a pistol tucked into his pants. They weren’t barred off at the windows on the stores here, they had doors wide open with crazy ass big guns in the windows. Were talking AK’s, shotguns that were about 5 feet long, anything you could ever want along with combat knives, expandable batons, bulletproof vests and other weapon like objects. I was curious about the prices and asked a couple of the sop owners but once again I was foiled by the language barrier and left with the same curiosity that I entered with. As a simple price gauge there was this crazy looking shotgun of sorts you will see in the pic below, that is 2500 Lira or $1250. Is this a good deal? Maybe some one can comment on that below and let me know what they think..

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Gotta love cheap Gaziantep electronics!

I strolled around the market for a few hours and tried to get lost in the Gaziantep old city streets. Of course my natural internal GPS prevents me from ever getting lost and I easily and instinctively found my way back to the road that would lead me home. On the way home I popped into an electronic shop to pick up a charger for the fake beats by dre speaker I bought in Istanbul that had no charger in the box as well as a brand new authentic “Compaxe Optik Mouse”! The charger was 3 Lira ($1.50) and the mouse was 5 Lira ($2.50), not a bad deal at all.travel backpacking gazianteptravel backpacking gaziantep

I am now going to hang out in this apartment and hide from the mid afternoon Gaziantep heat. I have laundry to do, blogs to write, and things on the internet to look it so my day is set. Later on will be another fantastic dinner that I will take pictures of this time and post about that later. Tomorrow I will be leaving Gaziantep either by bus or plane. I have already bought a ticket back to Istanbul with plans to hit up the Greek islands while I wait for a conference I will be attending.. But there is also the option of continuing east by bus and that may provide more excitement at a discounted price. The place ticket was only $45 so not a huge loss if abandoned. I will decide last-minute tomorrow depending on how I feel at that very moment, true FTF style. In the mean time enjoy some pictures of the Gaziantep market and remember to please like my Facebook page and share this on social media! Later Gator. travel backpacking Gaziantep travel backpacking Gaziantep travel backpacking Gaziantep travel backpacking Gaziantep travel backpacking Gaziantep travel backpacking Gaziantep travel backpacking Gaziantep

6 Responses

  1. Natalie

    Bought back memories. I too looked at the gun shops but could not even pick the items up. I hate them. Did you go to the war museum? That explains in depth the history, mainly 1922 when the war of independence was happening. Have you also been to Urfa?
    Natalie recently posted…The Ottoman Stone Bridges of Firtina RiverMy Profile

    • Alex

      Hey Natalie, I never made it to war museum I was too busy stuffing my face with loads of delicious food! I’m actually in Urfa now and for the last couple days and will probably stay a couple more. Do you have any suggestions for me here?

      • Natalie

        Everyone always says go to Gobeklitepe on the outskirts but to be honest, was not that impressed. Harran Beehive houses were great but they are near the border so not sure what the situation is there at the moment. I loved the climb up to the castle. The ruins are not great but the view of the old town is. Assuming Balikligol and cave of Abraham is on your list already? Try some Dalek if you can get it. Still publishing my posts about it but you are welcome to dig through for ideas http://turkishtravelblog.com/category/destinations/urfa-sanliurfa-turkey/ So jealous. I loved Urfa! Fantastic place!
        Natalie recently posted…The Ottoman Stone Bridges of Firtina RiverMy Profile

      • Alex

        Sorry to just getting back to all of your comments just now Natalie. I was able to see Gobeklitepe and Harran. Missed the castle and not sure if I tried Dalek.. I tried so many things I’m not even sure what it is!

  2. bryan flake

    That first photo is a really cool looking display of guns. I am in the market for a Glock 9mm handgun. Is that a gun that would require a strict and lengthy background check? Like anyone, I want to buy the gun and take it out immediately for target practice.

    • Alex

      haha honestly I have no clue the legality. I am sure in Turkey you could just by whatever you wanted with the right amount of money!