Malatya is a relatively new city by Turkish standards, although its ancient name, Malidiya, dates back to Hittites, a Bronze Age people of Anatolia. In 1838, during a war between Ottoman Empire and the forces of Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt, the Ottoman army seized what was then the town of Malatya, forcing the local population to Aspuzu, then a collection of cottages amidst the orchards in the outskirts of the town. After the war, the people decided not to return to their battered town, settling permanently in Aspuzu, and renaming it to Malatya (the abandoned old town, 10 km north of the current city, has later been re-populated, and is now called Battalgazi, covered in its seperate article). 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. The plateau on which Malatya lies is surrounded by higher mountains, some of which are covered with orchards that produce the apricots, for which the city is famous. 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.
Climate 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.