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Country  Turkey
University  Kahramanmaras Sutcu Imam University
Area  3,017.45 km2
Region  Mediterranean
Population  443,575

Kahramanmaras is a city in the southern Turkey (The Mediterranean Region) and the administrative center of Kahramanmaras Province . The city lies on a plain at the foot of the Ahir Dagi (Ahir Mountain) and has a population of 575,000 as of 2013. The region is best known for its production of salep, a flour made from dried orchid tubers, and its distinctive ice cream. It is connected by air to Istanbul and Ankara. Turkish Airlines has daily direct flights from Istanbul and also AnadoluJet operates direct flights from Ankara.


Map of Kahramanmaras


Marash was called Germanicia CaesareaGermanikeia, in Greek) in the time of the Roman and Byzantine empires. According to a 2010 Cumhuriyet article, the first ruins of Germanicia have already been unearthed in the Dulkadirogullari quarters of the city).

In 645, Germanicia was taken from the Byzantines by the Muslim Arabs, to whom the city was known as Mar?ash , which is also the Syriac ). Marash was an important Syrian Orthodox diocese. Mor Dionysius Bar Salibi (died 1171) was its bishop. Over the next three centuries, Marash belonged to the fortified Arab-Byzantine frontier zone (Thughur) and was used as a base for incursions into Byzantine-held Asia Minor by the Arabs. It was destroyed several times during the Arab-Byzantine Wars. It was rebuilt by the Umayyad caliph Muawiya I and was expanded ca. 800 by the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid. The city was also controlled by the Tulunids, Ikhshidids and Hamdanids before the Byzantines under Nikephoros Phokas recovered it in 962.

After the defeat of Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, Philaretos Brachamios, a former Byzantine general, founded a principality centred on the city, which stretched from Antioch to Edessa.

Germanikeia was captured by Baldwin I of Jerusalem in 1098 during First Crusade and was part of County of Edessa. It was an important centre during Crusaders rule. According to the Chronicle of Matthew of Edessa, it was destroyed by an earthquake and 10,000 people were killed, which is probably an exaggeration. In 1100, it was captured by Danishmends and by Seljuks in 1103. But in 1107 Crusaders retook it with aid from Byzantine. In 1135, Danishmends besieged Germanikeia unsuccessfully but they captured it next year. However, Crusaders retook it in 1137. Baldwin of Germanikeia died in a war in 1146. He was trying recover Edessa Nur ad-Din Zangi which had taken the side of Joscelin II of Edessa. His successor, Reynald of Germanikeia also died in battle of Inab against Zengids and Mesud I, Sultan of Rum took the city in 1149.

Marash was captured by Zengids in 1151 but recaptured by Seljuks in 1152. But, Maras was recaptured by Zengids in 1173 and was left to Mleh, his collaborator. Marash passed to Seljuks in 1174 and to Ayyubids in 1182.

Kaykhusraw I, Sultan of Rum captured Marash in 1208. Seljuk rule lasted to 1258. In 1258, Maras was captured by the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, following the war with the Ilkhanate. Served by an Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop, it became for a very short period of time, the seat of the Catholicossate of the Great House of Cilicia. Marash was captured by Al-Ashraf Khalil, Mamluk Sultan in 1292. But, it was recaptured by Hethum II, King of Cilician Armenia in 1299. Marash finally was taken by the Mamluks in 1304.

Marash was ruled by Dulkadirs, as vassals of Mamluks between 1337-1515 before being annexed to the Ottoman Empire. In the early days of Ottoman rule (1525-6) there were 1,557 adult males (total population 7,500), at this time all the inhabitants were Muslims. Later a substantial number of non Muslims immigrated into the city mainly in the 19th century.


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