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Malatya is one of the biggest cities in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey.
Malatya is a relatively new city by Turkish standards, although its ancient name, Malidiya, dates back to Hittites, a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.
Today, with its population of more than 400,000 inhabitants, Malatya is the largest city of central-eastern Anatolia, where gently rolling steppes of Central Anatolia give way to heavily-rugged terrain of Eastern Anatolia.
Unlike rest of Eastern Anatolia, much of the urban population speak a non-dialectical standard Turkish, sometimes with a slight accent.
Local people are generally friendly and helpful.
A semi-arid continental climate reigns in the area. In summers (May onwards), daytimes are sunny and hot, enough to walk around comfortably in just a t-shirt, however, nights and early mornings are cool enough that you will want to pack along a jacket or a sweater.
Malatya Erhaç Airport (MLX) is 30 km away from the city center and can be reached by shuttle buses of the airlines and taxis. Flights leave from Istanbul and Ankara. Turkish Airlines THY, AnadoluJet, Pegasus Airlines and Onur Air have daily flights to Malatya.
If bought one month prior to the flight date, a one-way flight between Istanbul and Malatya costs between 114 and 154 TL, depending on the company.
Direct trains run daily from Ankara to Malatya, taking 16 hours. There are couchettes and a sleeping car but no buffet. The main stops along the route are Kayseri and Sivas. Twice a week the train continues east via Elazig to Tatvan (10 hours by the Vangölü Express), with dolmus connections to Van.
Malatya can easily be reached by car, via Kayseri-Malatya motorway, which is numbered D300.
The city has a wide number of public buses, some fairly modern and some quite old, easily recognizable by their flashy yellow colour and big Malatya Belediyesi ("Malatya City Council") banners on the sides.
Once in the center, everywhere is easily accessible by foot as the city lies on a fairly flat ground, except for southern neighbourhoods leaning against a steep hillside, which an average traveller takes little, if any, interest anyway.
What to see
New Mosque (Yeni Cami), (at the central square). A beautiful mosque built in 1912, and perhaps the only one in Turkey featuring three minarets. The one on the side—top of which was demolished long ago—was perhaps the minaret of an older mosque on site.
Just across the street from the New Mosque at the front yard of Governer's Office is the last standing statue of İsmet İnönü, a native of the city and the second president of Turkey (in office 1938-1950), who was later blamed for instituting a cult of personality for himself after the death of Turkish Republic's founder, Kemal Atatürk.
From the central square, a stroll of 800 metres along the Fuzuli Caddesi (Street) will bring you to Kernek Square (Kernek Meydanı).
Waterfalls Park (Şelale Parkı), Kernek Meydanı. A park on the side of a hill with lots of water features. A man-made waterfall running through a concrete canal and getting stronger at each upper cascade is the main attraction. The park surrounds a small hydropower plant harnessing the power of the waterfall—which, actually why the waterfall exists in the first place—although the plant is not open for visits. Some open-air cafes line the cascading water canal.
Museum (Müze), Kernek Meydanı (next to the park)
What to do
Visit during the Malatya International Arts and Apricot Festival in July.
Go to Malatya Park AVM (shopping mall), the largest mall in eastern Turkey. An ice skating rink and a movie theater with subtitled films are also available there.
Aslantepe, Aslantepe Mah., Orduzu, Malatya Merkez, Malatya (Located on the North East periphery of Malatya it is a short 10 minute taxi ride from the city centre that should cost about 20TL each way. It is worthwhile asking your driver to stay or to come back within an hour as other transport options are limited.).