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Mardin, Turkey

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Mardin Turkey

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The town is located on the slope of a hill looking down south to the Mesopotamian plains. Mardin is on the rail and highway routes connecting Turkey to Syria and Iraq.  According to a hearsay, the history of the city dates as far back as the Flood.

The city lived within the rule of the Hurri-Mitani, Hittites, Surs, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Arabs and the Seljuk Turks. Later, the Mardin branch of the Artuklu Kingdom called “Tabaka Ilgaziyye” was established and the city flourished during this time.

The city used to be known as “Marde” by the Persians, “Mardia” by the Byzantine, “Maridin” by the Arabs and “Merde-Merdo-Merdi” by the Syriac. These were transformed into “Mardin” after the area was occupied by the Turks.

The fortress, Kasimiye Medresse, Zinciriye Medresse and Grand Mosque are important historical sites around the city. Other historical assets in the area worth seeing include Dayrul-Zeferan Monastery and Harizm Medresse.

Dating from 1385, the Sultan Isa Medresse is an interesting, beautiful Turkish monument with its magnificent carved portal.

The Kasim Pasa Medresse, is also significant for its dome of beautiful stonework and the Ulu (Grand) Mosque with its well-decorated minaret, is another sightseeing spot.

The very best instances of Artutid architecture can be seen at Kiziltepe, 21 kilometers south of Mardin, with the 13th century Ulu Mosque with its fine mihrap relief and beautifully decorated portal.

At Hasankeyf which is on the borderline with Batman province, you will see the ruins of the ancient 12th century capital of the Artutids. The bridge which once connected the two parts of the city over the Tigris (Dicle) river and the palace, are others. Hasankeyf will be completely flooded whenever they will finish the nearby dam, a part of GAP Project.

The 15th century Zeynel Bey Mausoleum nearby, is attractively decorated with blue tiles.

Deyr’ul Zafaran Monastery is a Syriac monastery 9 kilometers to the east of Mardin, built in the 9th century. At the present time, it is a visit place and a shelter for impoverished Syriacs.

The monastery had been a religious centre for the Syriac until 1932. One of the biggest of many monasteries existing in the region, Deyr’ul Zafaran has 52 Syriac Patriarchs buried here. The secret section for worshipping called “mahzen” is the oldest part of the monastery.

The monastery was enlarged with additional sections built later. Around the structures which form a trinity with Deyr’ul Zafaran, Church of Virgin Mary and Mar Yakup Monastery, there are three fortresses built for protecting the trinity.

Mar Yakup Monastery derives its name from a priest (Marislium). It was later known as “Marevgan Monastery”. Based on a hearsay, Marbinyamin, one of the heralds of the east had the bones of his oldest disciple buried here. The monastery was also knows as “Marhonesya” for a time.

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The museum is housed in the former patriarchate constructed in 1895 by the Patriarch of Antakya, Ignatios Benham Banni. Now restored to its original condition, the dwelling houses collections dating from 4000 BC up to the present day and representing the Assyrian, Urartian, Hellenistic, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, Artuklu and Ottoman periods. Pottery, seals, cylinder seals, coins, lamps, figurines, teardrop bottles, and jewelry are among the many and fascinating exhibits.

Mardin has preserved the old-style carving in its houses. Since located in a volcanic area, the basic input used in local architecture is easily workable calcareous rock. Houses in Mardin, reflecting all top features of a closed-in life style are surrounded by 4 meters high walls and isolated from the street. These walls provide protection from harsh climatic conditions.

Houses have their separate sections for men and women and mostly have no kitchen. The most crucial feature of these houses is the stone craftsmanship called “Midyat Work”. Doors, windows and small columns are dressed with arches and various motif.

The central settlement was given the status of urban site area in 1979. Above the house doors are carved pictures of the Kaaba if the owner has made the pilgrimage to Mecca, and the door knockers have a distinctive form resembling the beaks of birds.

Mardin Turkey

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Often the lanes run through arched tunnels beneath the upper floors of houses. Relief carvings of animals and fruit lend the city a dream-like character, and the modern world appears to disappear.

Syrian Orthodox gold and silver smiths whose work is famous through the entire country still practice their craft here, their workshops alongside with those of Muslim copper smiths. Along with the buildings themselves, it is to be hoped that this living culture can also be preserved.

Having a provincial territory of 12,760 square kilometers, Mardin is located in the area where the Southeastern Taurus Range meets the Arabian platform to the south. The area called “Mardin-Midyat Passage” produces a large part of the territory of the province.

The population is 646,826 (1997 Census). Mardin’s administrative districts are Dargecit, Derik, Kiziltepe, Mazidagi, Midyat, Nusaybin, Omerli, Savur and Yesilli.

Upon the conclusion of GAP Project, 100,000 hectares of land will be brought under irrigation in Mardin. Newly irrigated areas will mainly grow cotton which is to be processed by enterprises in the Organized Industrial Zone. Besides flour products, fruit processing and seed production, Mardin will also process its local grapes.

A part of the phosphorus fertilizers which crop farming needs will be provided by the fertilizer industries existing in the province.

Besides an arranged Industrial Zone, Mardin also has a site for small enterprises which offer employment to 1,140 persons with its approximately 190 work places. Finally, Mardin also has its Free Trade Zone.

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Hidden treasures: Hasankeyf, Turkey

8:51 am

Hasankeyf, hasankeyf photos, Mesopotamia, Anatolia

Hasankeyf (Kurdish: Heskîf, Greek Kipha, Turkish: Hasankeyf, Latin, Aramaic and Arabic CEPHA: Hisn Kayf) is an ancient town and district located along the Tigris River in the province of Batman in southeastern Turkey. It was declared a natural conservation area by Turkey in 1981. Kurds form the majority in this city.

The legend told by Cheref-Ouddin, Bitlis Kurdish prince, in his book “Cheref-Nameh” (Wonders of the Kurdish nation), written exactly 400 years ago, recalled an Arab prisoner named Hasan.

Hasan, who had been sentenced to death, he asked one last favor. He asked if I could go for one last time his beloved horse in the courtyard of the fortress, which towers over the river Tigris, where he was imprisoned? His last request was granted – and during the course of his journey, the prisoner jumped his horse over the wall of the fortress on the Tigris – a formidable leap of 150 meters. The horse died in the landing in the water but the prisoner escaped, to the astonishment of all who witnessed the scene. According to legend, the audience cried: “Hasan Keif? (Hasan, how), and from that day the name was given to the strength that has kept over the centuries.

Hasankeyf, Turkey

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An ancient citadel built by the Ayyubid

Today, the ancient citadel built by the Ayyubid in the 13 century and later occupied by many Kurdish leaders, is in ruins at the top of the huge limestone cliffs rising vertically over the Tigris River. The ancient city of Hasankeyf, built alongside the existing mosque in the fort, is also in ruins. About 30 years ago, its inhabitants were forced by the government to abandon its centuries-old houses, many of which were carved into the limestone, and settle down in the valley. The bitter irony of history is now the new city of Hasankeyf is under threat, doomed to disappear under water in 5 or 6 years after the new Ilisu dam is built in the valley below, under Project Southeast Anatolia (GAP).

Its inhabitants had remained in their places of origin, could have been without problems in a place that stil found several hundred feet above the new water level. But all the new city, the Old Bridge and many historical monuments, all disappear in the flooding of the dam. The premises are dispersed in search of new homes and jobs in Batman or elsewhere, without any government help.

All final weeks of summer the small town is invaded by large crowds of local tourists from Batman, a large industrial Kurdish city, about 30 km away. For two days, Hasankeyf is full of people seeking a little shade and rest on the bank of the Tigris, where you can eat kebab and drinking a cold drink while dipping their feet in the river. ” Others prefer to enjoy the cool of huge caves in the cliff, where local entrepreneurs have set up coffee, carpets, sofa cushions and old wood, where tourists can sit for hours listening traditional Turkish music, waiting for the moment the day when the worst heat of the day is gone and can climb the steps carved centuries amazing, partly on the edge of the cliff, partly inside the rock – and reach the ancient ruins of the old fortress.


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Spectacular ruins

The ruins of the palace located in the northeast corner of the fortress stands on the edge of spectacular cliffs, overlooking the valley like the back of a huge stone ship. Looking down on the Tigris and the valley through one of its remaining windows can understand why the Kurdish leaders who lived there until the end of 19 century was so proud and confident as follows: perched up there, almost in the clouds, was not much in common with humans working poor in the valley. Unfortunately, little remains of the great palace, but one of the pillars of the foot of the ancient gate. But the former Ulu Mosque, built by the Ayyubid in 1325 in an old church still stands amonst the ruins of the city and you can still select a very old inscription at the base of its minaret.

Down in the valley, many beautiful historical monuments are destined to disappear forever, like the old bridge. El Rizk mosque, built by the famous Ayyubid sultan, Suleiman, also disappear under the water will rise to half the height of its minaret. On the other side of the Tigris ancient monuments also several dives, as the tomb of Zeynel Bey, the son of Uzun Hasan, of the dynasty that ruled over Akkoyunlu little Hasankeyf. You can still see some of the turquoise and dark blue tiles adorning the cylindrical body of the tomb – a rare example of its kind in Anatolia. But this “troubled” is in very poor condition, as most monuments of Hasankeyf. Since the decision to build a dam was taken 40 years ago, the whole site is badly damaged by negligence.


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You just have to stay in Hasankeyf after the weekend to see that after the exit of tourists to the town is small sleeping – a morbid dream. The hotels that used to cater to tourists about a year ago by several people, and except for a few young men as Ali, 15, son of “muhktar” (mayor), who loves his old town and has come to dominate enough English to guide tourists around occasional foreign – all young people have already left the city to find a job in Batman or Izmir. Paradoxically, the police do not help to promote tourism and harass foreign tourists rarely stubbornly decided to spend the night and sleep in the old caves of the fortress.

All the inhabitants of the city – and all local branches of political parties – are against the construction of a dam that will destroy your life. But their efforts to prevent the crisis have been in vain. While the ministries in the distance from Ankara decided to fund a project to “rescue the cultural and historical heritage of Hasankeyf” – by developing a database and file of the site itself, one of the oldest civilizations in the world will be “lost forever” … 

Hasankeyf Ancient Site

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Archaeological Sites


 Hasankeyf is rich in history over time and apart from the sites below, there are thousands of caves in the cliffs surrounding the city. Many of the caves are multi-story water supplied. Churches and mosques were also carved into the cliffs and there are many old cemeteries in the area.

The old bridge over the Tigris – Built in 1116 by Artukid Fahrettin Karaaslan, which replaced an older bridge. The bridge over the Tigris River is considered the greatest of the medieval period. Support for the bridge was built of wood in case the bridge had to be removed to prevent an attack. Because of this, two piles and some foundation work is all that exists of the existing bridge.

The Citadel – This structure is 100 meters above the river Tigris, in order to Hasankeyf. The Citadel has probably been used as a dwelling place for centuries.

Petit Palace – This palace was built by the Ayyubid Hasankeyf and ignored as it is located on a cliff.

Ulu Mosque – Built by the Ayyubid in 1325, on top of the remains of a church.

Grand Palace – The palace was built by the Artukids and has an associated rectangular tower that may have been a watchtower.

El Rizk Mosque – The mosque was built in 1409 by Sultan Suleiman Ayyubid and is located on the banks of the Tigris River. The mosque also has a minaret that has remained intact.

Suleymaniye Mosque – This mosque was built by Sultan Suleyman and almost destroyed with the exception of a minaret. Suleyman’s tomb is not on the site as well.

Koc Mosque – The mosque is located east of the Mosque of Suleiman and was probably built by the Ayyubid.


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Kizlar Mosque – Located east of the Koc Mosque, the mosque was Kizlar also likely from the Ayyubid period as well. The section of the structure used as a mosque today was a mausoleum in the past, containing remains of grave.

Imam Abdullah Tomb – The tomb is located west of the new bridge in Hasankeyf and the tomb of Imam Abdullah. Abdullah was the grandson of Cafer-i Tayyar, uncle of the Prophet Muhammad. An epitaph on the tomb of the states that the tomb was restored in the Ayyubid period.

Zeynel Bey Mausoleum – The name of Zeynel Bey, the mausoleum is Hasankeyf frontage on the river Tigris. Bey was the son of Uzun Hassan ruler of the dynasty that ruled over Akkoyunlu Hasankeyf in the 15th century.

Hasankeyf Latest News:

Decided the dam, locals say Hasankeyf

Mardin-Over five decades have passed since the construction of a dam in Hasankeyf was first proposed and local residents are tiring of his dilemma without end. Although the situation only worsens the poverty of the old town, residents refuse to give in to government tenders, instead calling for more support to fight against the impending flood.

After half a century of uncertainty about whether or not their city will be submerged, the people of Hasankeyf, in the southeast are sick, but say they will not give up.

Hasankeyf, one of the most charming historical sites in eastern Turkey, was drowned in 135 feet of water, whether the proposed Ilisu dam project goes ahead. The historic town could be sacrificed for a dam that would provide an estimated 2 percent of Turkey’s electricity needs.

Where is Hasankeyf

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Hasankeyf and anxiety people are tired of waiting to see if the dam was built and destroyed their homes. They are tired of the uncertainty, however, continue to fight for the protection of their ancient homeland. They remain hopeful, but ask for more support as they have been living with the fear of losing their homes for more than half a century.

As a resident, Sait Tekin, and are drowning under the dam project. “We’re tired. It’s been 54 years and still do not know if we will be able to live in our city or if we are to be relocated.” Tekin home and leaks when it rains but I can not fix. “I have to spend at least 5,000 lire to renovate my house and do not want to spend much money. Firstly I do not have and secondly we are not sure if we will be forced to move in a few months,” Tekin said, and added that he lands in Hasankeyf value of 4 million lire, but the State Hydraulic Works, or DSi, only offers one hundred thousand liras.

“Although the land is a historic center, one day we learned that the government gave permission to a foreign archaeologists to excavate the land. We demand the government later.”

Aydın Tekin brother, who was chatting with him in his booth, said that as residents gathered to stop the project, but their hands were tied because the government only change the law to make legal plans. The brothers are awaiting a crucial decision for them to continue with their lives, which they describe as “desperate.”

“We are the poorest region in Turkey,” Tekin said. The inhabitant civil records have been taken to Batman, where the state housing agency TOKI is planning to build new housing for the people of Hasankeyf.


Hasankeyf, Mesepotamia, Anatolia, Ancient Site in Turkey

The Turkish government Ilisu dam project, supported by Germany, Switzerland and Australia, has been one of the buildings of the highest dam in dispute in the world today. The dam project, which will leave the region 10,000 years under water, started 50 years ago and over the years the people of Hasankeyf always been against it. They never signed the papers TOKI that forced them to sell their homes for 15,000 lire before paying 70,000 lire for the new to be built on a mountain. However, although many have left the village, a large proportion of the population has no intention of leaving his hometown, even if they are left penniless.

Population to 2500

Just two years ago Hasankeyf population was 4,000 strong, now is only 2,500. Those who have left because he did not give up Hasankeyf, simply could not afford to stay. Their houses are still here. And those who have fallen can not build anything or renovate their homes because the land is considered a protected area. The residents are asking what right does the government to build a large dam in an area protected by the same institution. Unable to build shops and hotels to cater for tourists, Hasankeyf has not been maintained in recent years.

Hasankeyf - Batman

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Ömer Güzel, who owns a restaurant Hasankeyf, is a volunteer worker for Doğa (Nature) Foundation, which opened a branch in Hasankeyf.

“We never supported Hasankeyf local dam project,” he said. The population is mostly Arab, who had been born and raised in Hasankeyf, Güzel said. According to Güzel, people who migrated to the village are not so concerned about the imminent destruction of the village. “They can not understand the value of this place.”

The DSi is to provide houses on top of a mountain is a mile from where they are now, but locals are not buying. “We see other dam projects that forced the residents out and ruined his life. There is unemployment here, but if we move are not guarantees of jobs for us. They offered 15,000 lire for my garden, but they claimed as are offering me 50,000 lire. But of course we can be deceiving because they do not care about material wealth. On the other hand, are not so strong to resist the government, after so many years, our grandparents and us fighting the draft Dam may have to give up one day. With Doğa Foundation and volunteer support of others who are trying not to give up our land. “Our strategy is correct, Güzel said.” Do not give importance to our homes it is our life that are important. Turkey will lose a species civilization, nature and animals with this project. “Said Project Coordinator Foundation Erkut Ertürk Doğa countries supporting the project, known as the environment, should withdraw support for the project.” There is a tangible part of the project when the environment and life history are considered, “he said. Living in Hasankeyf for half a year, Ertürk said that was one of them.” We are planning to raise awareness because we lost many historical and cultural lands government projects of the dam. “Although the villagers try to keep, there are those who have lost faith. Hüseyin Akkoyun, owner of a young barber, said he was against the project.” It will drown our lives here, our homes, our jobs. . Stores in town offer planned, but we are asked to pay more “By cutting the hair of a child, said:” I am the only one left of my family, all my brothers migrated to different cities. We had no help from the government. They only think of the dam, and the rest is not important to them. “I do not believe that the support of the various communities save Hasankeyf, Akkoyun said he also did not trust DOGA Foundation. THEIlısu history of the dam

The Ilisu Dam Project was thought in the late 1950 and adopted in 1982. Since 2000, the Swiss company Skanska, Balfour Beatty Construction English, Italian firm Impregilo, and the Swiss bank UBS have withdrawn their support for the project, which it considers would be too social and ecological damage to the region. The State Hydraulic Works, or DSi, found new partners to continue the dam project.

The Austrian company VA Tech Hydro, with the German firm Züblin, Swiss companies Alstom, Stucky, Maggia and Colenco, and Turkish companies Nurol, Cengiz, Çelikler and Temelsu, all formed a consortium and persuaded the governments of Germany, Austria and Switzerland to invest in the dam.
However, the credit was promised came with conditions necessary for the government to meet. International protest the dam project led to international partners to pause and consider their participation in a dam that would destroy the story. A visit by an international team of Hasankeyf earlier this month to see if the ISD had been no progress on project management and documentation was another reason to think twice about financing the project. What we found was the ongoing construction without any environmental reports or investigations. In addition, the ISD had not formed even a Project Implementation Unit to organize things.

The assessment team’s report revealed that Turkey has not fulfilled its contractual commitments including 153 requirements. Although the commission gave the ISD six months before they would lose funding, which seemed unconcerned.

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