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14

AramcoWorld

Through

the bazaar’s vaulted stone passageways, the

coppersmiths’ hammers tap-tap-tap patterns onto platters and bowls. Spice

merchants heap chromatic cones, geometrically shaped to fill the air with

scent. Shoemakers line their windows with handmade, cherry-red leather

slippers, each tip curved delicately upward like a crescent moon. Every piece

of merchandise, it seems, proclaims that Gaziantep (gah-zee-AHN-tep), in

Turkey’s southeast, is proudly alive with artisanal traditions.

And what Gaziantep is most proud of today is crafted not in its

bazaars but in its kitchens: baklava, the sensually syrupy pastry of

layered, paper-thin filo dough and crushed pistachios, first beloved

in the bygone Ottoman Empire and today on menus and grocery

shelves worldwide. Gaziantep’s baklava, locals say, isn’t just good:

It’s theworld’s best. That being quite a claim, I’ve come to investigate.

WRITTEN BY

Gail Simmons

PHOTOGRAPHED BY

George Azar

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