festivals in Gaziantep
As one of the oldest settlements in Anatolia, Gaziantep has strong traditions and a spectacular history. This charming city is one of Türkiye’s most popular gastronomy destinations with a very special local cuisine. Gaziantep stands out with many gastronomic and traditional events and festivals. In addition, it is one of the most developed cities in Southeastern Anatolia, keeping its finger on the pulse of the region’s cultural and artistic life. The local arts & culture scene is colored by many festivals that showcase various disciplines of art.
The International Gaziantep Opera and Ballet Festival, which is one of the most important festivals of Gaziantep's art scene, is organized by the State Opera and Ballet. Every year, the festival brings local audiences, prominent artists, orchestras, and groups together.
Jazz on Campus has become one of the classics of the Akbank Jazz Festival. The festival is hosted by Gaziantep University (GAUN) and is followed by university students and jazz enthusiasts with excitement. Every year, prominent jazz musicians take to the festival stage.
In October, Gaziantep University also hosts another exciting music event, the Gaziantep Music Festival. Every year, the festival is organized with a different theme within the scope of social responsibility projects and is especially anticipated by university students.
Gaziantep also hosts many film festivals. Each December, the International Zeugma Film Festival showcases the most distinguished and award-winning films of Turkish, Middle Eastern, and European cinema in different movie theaters across the city. The rich festival program consists of feature films and documentaries, and includes a wide variety of films by both emerging and established directors. Apart from watching films, audiences can also participate in talks organized with the participation of prominent filmmakers, directors, and film crews.
Other important film festivals are the International Migration Film Festival, which is the world's largest thematic film festival with the focus on immigration and immigrants, and the Golden Baklava Film Academy International Student Film Festival, which focuses on national and international short films created by students in the categories of fiction and documentary. The Golden Baklava Film Academy International Student Film Festival, with its jury of master filmmakers, awards successful films every year and supports young filmmakers. During the prestigious festival, which hosts famous actors, directors, and film professionals in Gaziantep every year, young filmmakers and cinephiles have the opportunity to participate in film workshops and talks with artists.
Gaziantep's newest film festival, the Antep Short Film Days, is organized to increase the production of short films in the city and to create a new platform for this film genre.
The Gaziantep International Poem Festival brings together many national and international poets with a rich program prepared in Turkish, English, and Arabic in accordance with the multicultural structure of the city. The festival is held annually in November, and includes music performances by guest artists from different countries as well as poetry performances.
The Gazişehir Theater Days, one of Gaziantep's newest festivals, brings together alternative theater groups from İstanbul with theatre lovers. The festival offers a program that focuses on various social issues. Held in October, the festival also aims to contribute to the training of local young actors with the "Acting Workshops for Beginners."
UNESCO Gastronomy City
Gaziantep cuisine displays a very rich diversity as a result of its 6,000 years of history, its location on the Silk Road, and the region’s fertile land and favorable climate. It is the only cuisine in the world that is mentioned not by the name of its country but by the name of its city! The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has included Gaziantep in the Creative Cities Network in the field of gastronomy.
Many festivals and events are held in the city, introducing the tradition and culture of authentic Gaziantep cuisine, and highlighting the region’s products and the city’s delicacies such as pistachios, Antep kebab, and baklava.
The GastroAntep International Gaziantep Gastronomy Festival takes place every September and the main aim of the festival is defined as carrying the cultural heritage of Gaziantep with its rich cuisine from the local to the global scene. The festival promises exciting events for gastronomy enthusiasts such as harvests, workshops, competitions, and panels and talks with the participation of Michelin-starred chefs, Turkish and international gastronomy professionals, representatives of UNESCO gastronomy cities, gourmets, gastronomy writers, and academics. Gastronomy lovers enjoy an unforgettable experience by participating in workshops organized by Michelin-starred chefs using local products, while enjoying the magnificent dishes prepared with local products throughout the festival.
In September, the Islahiye Grapes, Pepper and Culture Festival (Islahiye Üzüm, Biber ve Kültür Festivali) is organized in the district of Islahiye, where there is a respected number of grape and pepper producers. The Oğuzeli Culture, Art and Pomegranate Festival (Oğuzeli Kültür, Sanat, Nar ve Kurutmalık Festivali) is held in the Oğuzeli district, which stands out with its pomegranate production. Both these festivals highlight the important products of the region and visitors enjoy a pleasant time with fun activities and music events.
The visitors have the opportunity to discover the culture of the region and have a fun time at many traditional festivals such as the Seven Climate Folk Dance Festival in Seven Regions (Yedi Bölgede Yedi İklim Halk Oyunları Festivali), the International Gaziantep Aşırtmalı Aba Wrestling Championship (Uluslararası Gaziantep Aşırtmalı Aba Güreşi Şampiyonası) and the Hıdrellez Festival, which are organized in and around the city.
Lifestyle & Sporting Events and Festivals
TEKNOFEST, which is hosted by the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, is one of the world's largest Aviation, Space and Technology Festivals. The festival takes place in September and aims to increase the trained human resources in the fields of science and engineering across the country. TEKNOFEST, which is also held annually in İstanbul, creates an important platform where thousands of young people working in this field can bring their ideas and projects to life. Technology competitions are organized in many categories within the scope of the festival and the winning projects are awarded.
Gaziantep also hosts the Türkiye Drone Competition realized with motto of “Fastest ones in Türkiye” in September. Drone enthusiasts meet at Rumkale, a cultural heritage site which combines nature and history.
Rumkale hosts another big event held in October and anticipated with great enthusiasm. The International Rumkale Water Sports Festival brings water sports enthusiasts and young athletes together at Rumkale, an impressive fortress built on the Euphrates River. The festival includes swimming races, canoe races, dragon boat races, and water-ski, jet ski, Flyboard, and wakeboard shows.
Other important sports events are the Gazi Half Marathon and a public run that is incorporated into the program in December, and the Gaziantep Ethnosport Culture Festival, organized to increase the awareness and popularize numerous traditional sports and games such as archery, oil wrestling, aba wrestling, mangala, jereed (an equestrian team sport with javelins), and mounted archery.