Battalgazi was the original location of Malatya, as implied by its local (and formerly official) name, Eski Malatya (i.e., "Old Malatya").
The settlement in the vicinity—the Arslantepe mound (Arslantepe Höyüğü) in particular, which lies to the southeast of Battalgazi, close to the town of Orduzu—dates back to the 4th millenium BCE. However, it was the Hittites, originated from Central Anatolia and conquered the area in 14th century BCE, who gave the area its name—Malidiya, possibly related to the Hittite word of melid, which means "honey".
The area was subsequently ruled by Assyrians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Armenians, Crusaders, Seljuk Turks, Mamluk Turks, and Ottoman Turks.
In 1838, during a war between Ottoman Empire and the forces of Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt, the Ottoman army seized the town, forcing the local population to nearby 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 has later been re-populated, and after being called as Eski Malatya for more than a hundred years, officially renamed as Battalgazi in 1987, after a legendary warrior who is thought to have borned in the region.
Today, with its 14,000 inhabitants, Battalgazi is a typical Turkish provincial town with mostly concrete low rise buildings and some faint remnants from its past.