1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Aintab

AINTAB (anc. Doliché), a town in the vilayet of Aleppo and ancient Cyrrhestica district of N. Syria. Pop. 45,000, two-thirds Moslem. The site of Doliche, famous for its worship of Baal (Zeus Dolichenus), adopted by the Seleucids and eventually spread all over the Roman empire, lies at Duluk, two hours N.W.; but nothing is to be seen there except a mound. The place was probably of Hittite origin and does not appear to have been settled by Greeks. The bazaars of Aintab are a great centre for "Hittite" antiquities, found at various sites from Sakchegozu on the west to Jerablus on the east. The modern town lies in the open treeless valley of the Sajur, a tributary of the Euphrates, and on the right bank, 65 m. north-east of Aleppo, with which it is connected by a chaussee, passing through Kulis. This road proceeds east to the great crossing of Euphrates at Birejik, and thus Aintab lies on the highway between N. Syria and Urfa-Mosul and has much transit trade and numerous khans. In the middle ages its strong castle (Hamtab) was an important strategic point, taken by Saladin about A.D. 1183; and it supplied the last base from which Ibrahim Pasha marched in 1839 to win his decisive victory over the Turksat Nezib, about 25 m. distant north-east. Lying high (3500 ft.) and swept by purifying winds, Aintab is a comparatively clean and healthy spot, though not free from ophthalmia and the "Aleppo button," and it has been selected by the American Mission Board as its centre for N. Syria "Central Turkey College," educational and medical, lies on high ground west. It was burnt down in 1891, but rebuilt; it has a dependency for girls within the town. Thanks to its presence the Armenian protestants are a large and rich community, which suffered less in the massacre of 1895 than the Gregorians. There is a small Episcopalian body, which has a large unfinished church, and a schismatic "catholicos," who has vainly tried to gain acceptance into the Anglican communion. There is also a flourishing Franciscan mission. Striped cloths and pekmez, a sweet paste made from grapes, are the principal manufactures; and tobacco and cereals the principal cultures. The town is unusually well and solidly built, good stone being obtained near at hand. The Moslem inhabitants are mainly of Turkoman origin, and used to owe fealty to chieftains of the family of Chapan Oglu, whose headquarters were at Yuzgat in Cappadocia.