Maras, officially Kahramanmaras is a city in the Mediterranean region of Turkey and the administrative centre of Kahramanmaras province. The city lies on a plain at the foot of Mount Ahir, located in the southeastern part of Turkey. The city is known for its rich cultural heritage, including its ancient buildings, historic landmarks, and traditional crafts. It is also a popular destination for foodies, as it is home to several famous Turkish dishes, such as Maras ice cream and Maras pepper.
Before 1973, Kahramanmaras was officially named Maras, and later, it attained the prefix "Kahraman" (Turkish word meaning "hero") to commemorate the Battle of Marash. The city is best known for its distinctive ice cream which is thick enough to cut with a knife and fork.
The city offers a range of tourist attractions, including museums, parks, and natural landmarks like the Cendere Bridge and the Aglayan Rock. Kahramanmara? is also an important industrial centre, with a strong textile and manufacturing industry.
On 6 February 2023, much of the city was destroyed in the 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquakes which had their epicentre in Pazarcik and Elbistan in Kahramanmaras province.
Kahramanmaras is the administrative centre of the Kahramanmaras Province and has a population of approximately 1.1 million people. Kahramanmaras has a growing economy, with a GDP of around 12 billion Turkish lira (approximately 1.5 billion USD) in 2020. The city has a relatively low unemployment rate compared to other regions in Turkey, with a rate of 10.6% in 2021.
The city has a strong agricultural sector, with crops such as wheat, barley, and pistachios being major contributors to the local economy. The Kahramanmaras region is home to a number of natural attractions, including the Caglayancerit Dam and Lake, the Kapicam National Park, and the Eshab-i Kehf Cave, which is believed to be the site where seven sleepers sought refuge from persecution.
The city is home to one of the largest and oldest open-air markets in Turkey, known as "Kapali Cars?" or "Covered Bazaar," where visitors can find a variety of local products, spices, and textiles. Kahramanmaras has a strong tradition of wrestling, with "Yagli Gures" or "oil wrestling" is a popular sport in the region.
The administration of the city of Kahramanmaras is headed by a mayor, who is elected by the people every five years. The mayor is responsible for overseeing the city's day-to-day operations, managing the budget, and implementing policies and initiatives that support the city's growth and development.
The city is divided into a number of districts, each of which is governed by a district mayor. The district mayors are responsible for managing local issues and implementing policies and initiatives that are specific to their respective districts. The administration of Kahramanmaras also includes a number of municipal departments and offices, each of which is responsible for managing a specific area of the city's operations. These departments and offices include:
The city of Kahramanmaras has a modern and well-developed infrastructure, which has contributed to its growth and economic development. It has a well-established water and sewerage system, which provides clean and safe drinking water to residents and businesses. The city has also invested in the construction of new wastewater treatment plants, which help to protect the environment and public health.
With a well-connected transportation network including that highways and railways, Kahramanmaras is well-connected to other parts of Turkey. Kahramanmara? airport offers flights to several destinations within Turkey and internationally. In terms of infrastructure for education, Kahramanmara? is home to several universities, including Kahramanmara? Sütçü ?mam University and Necmettin Erbakan University. These institutions provide high-quality education and research opportunities, which help to attract and retain skilled professionals.
The city also has a well-developed healthcare system, with several hospitals and medical clinics located throughout the city. These facilities provide comprehensive medical care to residents and visitors, including emergency services and specialized treatments.
Kahramanmaras has a reliable and efficient energy supply, with several power plants located in and around the city. The city is also home to several solar power facilities, which contribute to the country's renewable energy goals.