Explore The Euphrates and Tigris basin
The spectacular ruined settlement of HASANKEYF is one of the most evocative in Turkey. Here the swift-flowing waters of the Tigris have carved a sheer cliff from the mountainside, and poised on its very lip are a remarkable series of remains of Selçuk, Arabic and Kurdish origin. Below the ruins the Tigris is spanned by the arches of a vintage 1950s concrete bridge, itself overlooking the mighty piers of its medieval precursor. It’s a photographer’s dream, especially at sunset and sunrise, and a meal at one of the many simple fish restaurants lining the bank beneath the cliff is unforgettable.
In the surrounding hills, are over 4000 caves many inhabited in prehistoric times, but the original settlement was founded by the Romans as an eastern bastion of the empire, and later became the Byzantine bishopric of Cephe. In 640, the conquering Arabs changed the town’s name to Hisn Kayfa. During the twelfth century the Artukid Turcoman tribe made it the capital of their realm, which it remained until the Mongols arrived in 1260. Hasankeyf then served as the stronghold of the Ayyubids, a clan of Kurdish chieftains supplanted by the Ottomans early in the fifteenth century.Read More
That sinking feeling
That sinking feeling
In 2008 Hasankeyf was put on the World Monuments Fund Watch List as one of the hundred most endangered heritage sites in the world. Despite this, and a domestic and international outcry, much of the ancient city looks certain to be drowned by the waters of the İlisu dam across the Tigris, part of the GAP project. Pledges to save key elements of the site, (for example the brick-built Zeyn El-Abdin Türbesi) and remove them to a reservoir-side open-air museum are decried by critics, who say the remains are far too delicate to move. The most vociferous critics of the scheme are the eighty thousand or so locals likely to be displaced by the floodwaters though several other groups oppose it including those living downstream in Iraq (who fear their already scant water resources will be wiped out by the dam), Kurdish nationalists (who view the dam as a deliberate attempt to wipe out their cultural heritage) and assorted environmental groups.