Turkey // The Euphrates and Tigris basin //

A Kurdish village experience – Homestays in Yuvacali

The small village of Yuvacalı, set amid bleached fields of wheat, lentils and chickpeas, huddles at the foot of a prominent settlement mound as ancient as nearby Göbekli Tepe, not far from the market town of Hilvan. Here you can stay in a Kurdish village home (€35 per day full-board), eat with the family, sleep beneath the stars on the flat-roof of the family home, and try your hand at milking sheep and baking unleavened village bread. You’ll also be introduced to Kurdish history and culture, taken on a 1hr 30min walk around the village and its ruins, and perhaps walk a part of the waymarked Abraham Path (wabrahamspathinturkey.org), which starts here.

The homestay is part of a responsible tourism project set up by village-born Omer Tanık and his English wife Alison. The host families keep all the money they receive from guests, as do the drivers on the couple’s well-regarded Nomad Tours (t0533 747 1850, wnomadtoursturkey.com). Guests are asked to make a small donation to the project. The money goes straight into the local community and has, for example, helped to set up a pre-school in the village. Booking ahead is essential; accommodation can and does fill up.

To get to Yuvacalı, catch a bus from Urfa’s otogar to Hilvan (TL5), where, if you call Nomad Tours in advance, someone from the village will meet you. With your own transport follow the D-885 to Hilvan (the Siverek/Diyarbakır road) and turn right (signed Gölcuk) at the second set of lights. After a few kilometres, take the second left to Yuvacalı.

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