Yesemek was the largest quarry and sculpture workshop in the Near East between the end of 2nd millennium BC and the 8th century BC. It is located near Yesemek Village, southeast of Islahiye District of Gaziantep province. The workshop, where the local Hurrians worked, was operative during the reign of Emperor Suppiluliuma I in 14th century BC, when the region came under Hittite rule. Here, especially Hittite, Syrian, Aramaic and Assyrian art elements gained prominence. This style, known as Orientalism, formed the core of Greek art by influencing the Aegean cultures that began to develop in the West. By the end of 8th century BC the Assyrians shut all the activities down at Yesemek and took its masters and artisans to Assyria, leaving everything as-is behind at the site where time seemed to have frozen until its discovery in 1890. Scientific excavations carried out in 1950s and 60s by Turkish archaeologists.
Today, the archaeological site is an open-air museum where more than 300 sculptural sketches, mostly made of red basalt, are unearthed and exhibited. Sphinxes, gate lions, sitting lions, winged lions, Mountain God reliefs, battle scene reliefs and architectural pieces are exhibited in their natural environments. It's believed that Yesemek Quarry and Sculpture Workshop was a unique sculpture school in the ancient world, where the stages from cutting the stones from the quarry to the preparation of the sculpture drafts and completion can be seen on site. This shows the importance given to art by the communities living in Anatolia at that time.