For other uses, see Malatya (disambiguation).
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A panorama of Malatya.

Location of Malatya within Turkey.
Location of Malatya within Turkey.

Coordinates: 38°21′N 38°18′E / 38.350°N 38.300°E / 38.350; 38.300Coordinates: 38°21′N 38°18′E / 38.350°N 38.300°E / 38.350; 38.300

Country  Turkey
Region Eastern Anatolia
Province Malatya Province
 • Mayor Ahmet Çakır (AKP)
AreaTemplate:Turkey district areas
 • District Template:Turkey district areas km2 (Formatting error: invalid input when rounding sq mi)
Population (Template:Turkey district populations)Template:Turkey district populations
 • Urban Template:Turkey district populations
 • District Template:Turkey district populations
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 44xxx
Area code(s) 0422
Licence plate 44

Malatya (Armenian: Մալաթիա Malat'ya; Greek: Μαλάτεια, Malateia;[1]; Template:Lang-syc Malīṭīná) is a city in the region of Eastern Anatolia in Turkey and the capital of its eponymous province.


The city has been a human settlement for thousands of years. The Assyrians called the city Meliddu.[2] Strabo says that the city was known "to the ancients" [3] as Melitene (Greek Μελιτηνή), a name adopted also by the Romans following Roman expansion into the east. According to Strabo the inhabitants of Melitene shared at that time with the nearby Cappadocians and Cataonians the same language and culture. The site of ancient Melitene lies a few kilometres from the modern city in what is now the village of Arslantepe and near the dependant district center of Battalgazi (Byzantine to Ottoman Empire). Present-day Battalgazi was the location of the city of Malatya until the 19th century, when a gradual move of the city to the present third location began. Battalgazi's official name was Eskimalatya (Old Malatya); until recently, it was a name used locally.


Aslantepe and Ancient Malatya

Main article: Melid

Arslantepe has been inhabited since the development of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent, nearly 6,000 years ago. From the Bronze Age, the site became an administrative center of a larger region in the kingdom of Isuwa. The city was heavily fortified, probably due to the Hittite menace from the west. The Hittites conquered the city in the fourteenth century B.C. In Hittite, melid or milit means "honey," offering a possible etymology for the name, which was mentioned in the contemporary sources of the time under several variations (e.g., Hittite: Malidiya[4] and possibly also Midduwa;[5] Akkadian: Meliddu;[2] Urar̩rtian: Melitea).

After the end of the Hittite empire, the city became the center of the Neo-Hittite state of Kammanu. The city continued old Hittite traditions and styles. Researchers have discovered a palace inside the city walls, which has statues and reliefs that are examples of the artistic works of that age. The people erected a palace, accompanied by monumental stone sculptures of lions and the ruler. Archeologists first began to excavate the site of Arslantepe in the 1930s, led by French archaeologist Louis Delaporte.

The Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser I (1115-1077 B.C.) forced the kingdom of Malatya to pay tribute to Assyria. Malatya continued to prosper until the Assyrian king Sargon II (722-705) sacked the city in 712 BC. At the same time, the Cimmerians and Scythians invaded Anatolia, and the city declined. Since 1961, an Italian team of archaeologists, today led by Marcella Frangipane, have been working at the site.

Under Roman rule, Melitene was the base camp of Legio XII Fulminata. It was a major center in Lesser Armenia (P'ok'r Hayk'), remaining so until the end of the fourth century A.D. Emperor Theodosius I divided the region into two provinces: First Armenia (Hayk'), with its capital at Sebasteia (modern Sivas); and Second Armenia, with its capital at Melitene.[6]

Middle Ages

During the reign of the Emperor Justinian I (527-565), new administrative reforms were carried out in this region, and Melitene became the capital of the province of Third Armenia.[7] The city was captured by the Rashidun Caliphate in 638 became a base for their raids further into Anatolia, which was pursued also by the Abbasids. In the 9th century, under its semi-independent emir Umar al-Aqta, Malatya rose to become a major opponent of the Byzantine Empire, until Umar was defeated and killed at Lalakaon in 863. The Byzantines attacked the city many times, but did not finally take it until the campaigns of John Kourkouas in 927-934. After successively accepting and renouncing vassal status, the city was finally taken in May 934, its Muslim inhabitants driven out or forced to convert, and replaced by Greek and Armenian settlers.[8]

The West Syrian diocese of Melitene has been established since the sixth century and was as well surrounded by other bishoprics belonging to nearby towns.[9] In the tenth century the Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas convinced the Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch to move the head of the patriarchate into the region of Melitene.[10] The city was attacked and devastated by the Seljuks in 1058.[11] In the period that followed the Turkish advance into Anatolia after the Battle of Manzikert, Gabriel of Melitene, a Greek Orthodox Armenian (see Hayhurum) who had risen from the ranks of the Byzantine army, governed the city. From 1086 to 1100 he preserved his independence with the aid of the Beylik of the Danishmends and after 1100, he invested heavily on the commanders of the First Crusade, especially Bohemond I of Antioch and Baldwin of Boulogne.[12]

The Danishmends took over Malatya one year later in 1101 (see Battle of Melitene). With the Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate based in Konya taking over the Beylik of Danishmend in late 12th century, Malatya became part of their realm. It was part of the Mamluk Sultanate in end of 13th century. The city became Ottoman in 1515.


The current city of Malatya was founded in 1838, with the old site of Mitilene now designated as Old Malatya.[13]

Persecutions of Armenian citizens

Malatya was the scene of anti-Armenian violence during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. During the Hamidian Massacres of 1895-1896, 7,500 Armenian civilians were massacred by Islamist mobs and Turkish nationalist forces alike. In the aftermath, a Red Cross team sent to Malatya and led by Julian B. Hubbell concluded that 1,500 Armenian houses had been pillaged and 375 burned to the ground.[14]

According to the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, Malatya city was inhabited by 30,000 people at the time, with a clear ethnic Turkish majority, and an Armenian population of 3,000, of whom 800 were Catholics.[15] A more recent source, however, states that Malatya's population hovered around 40,000, of which half (20,000) were Armenian.[6] Of the five churches in the city, three belonged to the Armenians. They were chiefly involved in commerce, silkworm cultivation, silk trade and agriculture. In the spring of 1915, the Armenians of the town were rounded up by Ottoman authorities and sent to the deserts of Syria, death marches later considered part of the Armenian genocide by some scholars. Those who survived settled in a number of different countries.[6]


Malatya has a continental semi-arid climate with hot and dry summers and cold and snowy winters. The highest recorded temperature was 42.2 °C (108.0 °F) on 31 July 2000. The lowest recorded temperature was -19 °C (-2.2 °F) on 27 December 2002.

Climate data for Malatya
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.2
Average high °C (°F) 3.7
Average low °C (°F) −2.6
Record low °C (°F) −17.0
Precipitation mm (inches) 35.6
Avg. rainy days 7 7 9 9 8 3 1 1 1 5 6 7 64
Mean monthly sunshine hours 108.5 117.6 176.7 216.0 294.5 348 387.5 365.8 297.0 229.4 156.0 102.3 2,799.3
Source #1: Devlet Meteoroloji İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü[16]
Source #2: Hong Kong Observatory[17]


Historically, Malatya produced opium. The British, in 1920, described the opium from Malatya as having "the highest percentage of morphia".[18]


Meatballs (köfte) have a special place in the cuisine as do apricots, which are used in many meals from kebabs (meat broiled or roasted in small pieces) to desserts. There are over seventy kinds of köfte (meatballs) usually made with wheat and other ingredients mixed in. "Kağıt Kebabı" is one of the most important local specialities. "Kağıt Kebabı" is a dish made of lamb and vegetables broiled in a wrapper, which is usually oily paper.

The Malatya region is best known for its apricot orchards. About 50% of the fresh apricot production and 95% of the dried apricot production in Turkey, the world's leading apricot producer, is provided by Malatya[19] and the name of the fruit is synonymous with the city. It reached its most delicious and sophisticated form in the fertile soil of Malatya, nourished from the alluvial soil of the Euphrates. Overall, about 10-15% of the worldwide crop of fresh apricots, and about 65-80% of the worldwide production of dried apricots comes out of Malatya. Malatya apricots are often sun-dried by family-run orchards using traditional methods, before they are collected and shipped throughout the world.


Malatya Fair and Apricot Festivities has been held since 1978, every year in July, to promote Malatya and apricots and to convene the producers to meet one another. During the festivities, various sports activities, concerts and apricot contests are organized.

Near Apricot Festivities, there are also some other annual activities on summer. Cherry Festivities at Yeşilyurt District of Malatya and Grape Festivities at Arapgir District are organized annually.


Malatya's official team is Malatyaspor with colors red and yellow. Malatyaspor football team is currently competing in TFF Second League. Malatyaspor's stadium is Malatya İnönü Stadium located in the city's center. Malatya's other team is Malatya Belediyespor with colors green and orange. It is currently competing in TFF Third League.


Inonu University, one of the largest universities in eastern region of Turkey, is located in Malatya. It was established in 1975 and has three institutions and nine faculties on its campus, with more than 2,500 faculty and 20,000 students. Its large campus is located in the southern part of Malatya. There are 162 High schools and some of the well-known, national high school entrance examination based high schools in Malatya are Private Rahime Batu Anatolian and Science High Schools, Private Turgut Özal Anatolian High School, Malatya Science High School, Malatya Anatolian High School, and Turgut Özal Anatolian High School.


By its relative advance in industrial growth, Malatya is also a pole of attraction for its surrounding regions, in commercial as well as inward immigration terms. The city is at a key junction in Turkey’s road and rail network. By rail, it also serves as the junction for Aleppo through Syria-Samsun line. The bus terminal is located 5 kilometers west of the city center and there are regular intercity services to and from Ankara, Istanbul and Gaziantep. The railway station lies at a distance of 3 kilometers west of the city center and daily express trains run to Elazığ, Diyarbakır, Istanbul and Ankara. Both these stations are easily reached by taxis and dolmuş services.

Malatya's airport, Erhaç Airport, is 26 kilometers west of the city center and there are daily domestic flights from Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. Since 2007 there have also been international flights during the summer months. These international flights are especially from German cities to Malatya, and most of the passengers are Turkish citizens who are now living and working in Germany.

Notable natives

Sister cities


Further reading

  • (Armenian) Alboyajian, Arshag. Պատմութիւն Մալաթիոյ հայոց (The History of Armenian Malatya). Beirut, 1961.

External links

  • Malatya Sivil Toplum Örgütleri Birliği Malatya Sivil Toplum Örgütleri Birliği
  • Malatya Haber Ajansı Malatya Haberleri
  • Malatya Haber Portalı - Malatya'nın Güncel Haberleri
  • Malatya Sonsöz gazetesi Malatya Haberleri
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