Known as "Markasi" in earliest ages, this city, 78 km north of Gaziantep, stands as a site of history, having a long past filled with numerous invasions, was once the capital of Gurgum, a Hittite State in the 12th century BC.
here exists an archaeological museum inside the citadel, where Hittite sculptures are on display. Other important remains in the area are the Ulu (Grand) Mosque and the Tats Medrese, both dating back to the 15th century, together with the Hatuniye and Beyazit Mosque of the Ottoman period. This province, the original name of which was Maras, had shown such valour during the War of Independence, that it was then given the title "Kahraman", which means of "hero". The speciality of the region is its famous ice cream well, and worth trying. Whatever you do, eat ice cream. Maras dövme dondurmasi (Marash beaten ice cream) is famous throughout Turkey. Because of the hot climate, it's made with a lot of "binder" to keep it from melting. This gives it so much "body" that isellers used to hang it on hooks outside their shops (or so they say....).
Carved wooden furnitures, copper and brass works and handworks of glided silver thread are also treasured. Caving, hunting, fishing beside plateaus
Population is about 330,000 inhabitants (2004 estimate), at an elevation 700 metres above sea level, on a fertile plain below the Ahir Mountain, near the Ceyhan river. It is the capital of Kahramanmaras province with 1 million inhabitants (2004 estimate).
It is a regional trade centre with food-processing and textile industries. Kahramanmaras produces 30% of Turkey's cotton yarn, 7% of its woven fabric and 14% of its knitted fabric. Other local industries produce and export olive oil, spices, and handmade goods. The surrounding region is mountainous and contains rich mineral deposits, chiefly iron and silver. The agricultural regions, watered by the Ceyhan River, produce wheat, rice, and legumes.
All major road and rail connections for Kahramanmaras goes south, with Gaziantep 100 km southeast as the closest major city.A medieval fortress built on Hittite foundations dating back to the 12th century bc is a major landmark. In addition are there several older mosques and religious schools as well as churches.
12th century BCE: Is the capital of the Hittite kingdom Gurgum.
645 CE: Conquered by Muslim Arabs, who turned it into a military base for campaigns into Asia Minor. This leads to many counterattacks from both the Byzantine and the Armenians on the town.
670's: Rebuilt on the command of Caliph Mu'awiyya 1.
Around 800: Is fortified by the command of Caliph Harun ar-Rashid.
1097: Occupied by Christian Crusaders for a short period of time.
12th century: Comes under control of the Seljuqs.
1515: Becomes part of the Ottoman Empire.
1919: Occupied by France.
1921: Transferred back to Turkish control.