Known as Markasi in earlies ages, this city, 78 km north of Gaziantep, stands as a site of history, having a long past filled with numerous invasions, was once the capital of Gurgum, a Hittite State in the 12th century BC. There exists an archaeological museum inside the citadel, where Hittite sculptures are on display. Other important remains in the area are the Ulu Mosque and the Taş Medrese, both dating back to the 15th century, together with the Hatuniye and Beyazit Mosques of the Ottoman period.
This province, the original name of which was Maraş, had shown such valour during the War of Independence, that it was then given the title Kahraman, which means of "hero". The speciality of the region is its famous icecream well, and worth trying. Carved wooden furnitures, copper and brass works and handworks of glided silver thread are also treasured. Caving, hunting, fishing beside plateaus and picnicking areas are also famous.
In the 12th century BC, Kahramanmaraş was the capital of the Hittite state of Gurgum. A massive citadel built in the 2nd century BC houses the city's museumand its good collection of Hittite sculptures. Other sites include the 15th century Ulu Mosque and the Taş Medrese.
The ice-cream of Kahraman Maraş, thickened with gum arabic and beaten with a wooden paddle, is known throughout Türkiye. Kahramanmaraş has been known as the city of lions since ancient times. Called as Markasi in Assyrian sources, the city has been carrying the same name of Kahramanmaraş for at least 1500 years. According to a rumour, the name comes from the word mahris, which means month abscess or year abscess. It is the name given to a a deep scar formed by the bite of a fly. As the excavations, done around the city, unearthed many Hittite works, the city is thought to be a Hittite settlement. It was the capital city of Gurgum state, which reigned after the Hittite Empire collapsed.
Being ruled by Assyrians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Seljuks, Memlukians, and Dülkadiroğulları successively, it became part of the Ottoman Empire in the first half of the seventeenth century. Named as Maraş till 1973, it was donated the prefix Kahraman which means 'heroic' after the city resisted to French invasion under the leadership of Sütçü Imam. Maraş Castle, situated on the hill in the center of the city, is thought to be built in the firtst and second centuries.
Taş Medrese, which dates from Dülkadiroğulları, Taşhan and the Grand Mosque, Haznedarlı Mosque, which is thought to be built in the 15th century, the Mosque of Hatuniye and Iklime Hatun Medresesi are the historical works in the city. While in the plains, a kind of Mediterranian climate prevails, on the high plateaus and Elbistan Plain, land climate persists. Economic life of the city mostly depends on cattlebreeding. In 1968, it was included in the priority given cities in the process of industrialisation but this did not have a pronounced effect on the economy, and the public and private industries established were the limited number of agricultural products.
Construction of the highways that connect the city to Kayseri, Gaziantep, Adana and Iskenderun led to an increase in the population. Kahramanmaraş is on the lands that have rich ores but mining industry still needs to be developed. There are ores of iron and lignite in Elbistan, aluminum and iron in Göksun, manganese in Pazarcık, barite in Türkoğlu which awaits to be processed more efficiently.