Reinforced concrete buildings suffered significant damage in the region affected by the 29 May 2011 earthquake in Simav (Kutahya), Turkey. Typical building damage is classified and potential causes of damage are investigated. Reinforced concrete moment resisting frames with hollow brick infill walls are the most common structural system in and around the Simav city center while masonry construction is common in rural areas. Although the Simav earthquake, with a magnitude of 5.7 to 5.9, can be classified as a moderate earthquake, many buildings experienced damage varying from frequent diagonal cracking and brittle failure of infill walls to collapse or severe damage to frames due to short columns, soft stories or other reasons including insufficient or poor detailing of reinforcement. This study investigates and presents the seismicity of the region, characteristics of the measured ground motions, seismic load demands including response spectra, and damage mechanisms, potential causes and classification of observed damage in reinforced concrete buildings.