Turkey // The Euphrates and Tigris basin //

Eski Malatya (Battalgazi)


The ruined Roman/Byzantine/Selçuk/Ottoman town of Eski Malatya, or “Old Malatya”, north of modern Malatya, has now been engulfed by the modern settlement of Battalgazi.

From the main square where buses arrive, which holds plenty of shady çay places as well as a few basic restaurants, a 200m walk southwest brings you to a massive seventeenth-century kervansaray, the Silahtar Mustafa Paşa. The building has been so heavily restored it looks like new, and some of the former stables are now shops selling tacky souvenirs, but the kışlık (winter room), with its fine cross-vaulted ceiling and rows of fireplaces, is impressive.

The wonderful Ulu Cami, a huge mosque complex commissioned by Selçuk sultan, Alâeddin Keykubad, is a five-minute walk south. Built around a central courtyard, it comprises both summer and winter mosques. The latter consists of plain stonework with massive pillars, and the former of a central bay with a soaring domed roof flanked by two wings.

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