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Hasankeyf is an ancient and touristic district of Batman. It is located in Mesopotamia that one of humanity’s most ancient settlements. Hasankeyf was declared a natural conservation area in 1981. In ancient times,it had always attracted attention with thousands of caves used as a dwelling and maintained its strategic importance through the ages.

Discover Endangered Site: The City of Hasankeyf, Turkey

Hasankeyf is home to thousands of human-made caves, hundreds of medieval monuments and a rich-ecosystem. The waters of the Tigris River gave rise to the first settlements of the Fertile Crescent in Anatolia and Mesopotamia—the cradle of civilization. The ancient city of Hasankeyf, built on and around the banks of the river in southeastern Turkey, may be one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world, spanning some 10,000 years. Hasankeyf and its surrounding limestone cliffs are home to thousands of human-made caves, 300 medieval monuments and a unique canyon ecosystem—all combining to create a beguiling open-air museum. Discover Endangered The City of Hasankeyf, with us.

One of the southeastern Anatolian cities, Batman is a little province which takes its name from the river flowing on its west. The Batman river, spanned by the old Malabadi Bridge, draws the province’s border with Diyarbakir, and then joins Tigris (Dicle) River passing through the land. The southeastern extensions of the Taurus Mountains on the other hand, stand on the eastern side of the region, together with the 1288 m high Raman Mountain. Here is one of the main crude oil production centers of Turkey, and the refinery at Batman was the first founded one in the country.

The history of the province reaches back to antiquity, and the land saw numerous dynasties throughout its long history. Experiencing Arab invasion around 700 AD, Batman was later dominated by Seljuks first and then by the Mongolians. It was annexed by the Ottoman Empire in 1514 after being under the influence of the  Akkoyunlu and the Safevid  throughout the 15th century.

In the early years of the Republic, Batman was attached to the province of Siirt and known as “Iluh”. It first became a district in 1957, changing its name to Batman, and then a province centre in 1990. Once a part of the province of Siirt, the district was especially eminent during the time of Abbasid Caliphate.

Oil extraction and processing characterize the industry of the province. It has a provincial territory of 4,649 square kilometers and a population of 400,380 according to the 1997 Census. Its administrative districts are Besiri, Gercus, Hasankeyf, Kozluk and Sason.

Batman enjoyed a rapid development thanks to its oil reserves. The modern refinery was established in 1955 to process oil extracted from Raman and Garzan areas. The most important development which took place later was the completion of the 494 kilometers long pipeline between Batman and Iskenderun.

The railway which connects the town of Kurtalan near Batman to Istanbul was important in terms of transportation for a time. However, highways gained weight after 1950.

Upon the completion of GAP Project, services and commercial sectors will get stronger to accompany crude oil refinery. There will also be export oriented copper mining.

12,000-Year Old City – Endangered Site; The City of Hasankeyf

Hasankeyf has been standing  adjacent to Tigris river  for centuries is a place with over 5000 thousands carved  caves and the world`s first and only opened and closed stone bridge  built over a steep cliff.  Hasankeyf was able to protect the nature and history together from the middle age. When you get to hasankeyf and if you don’t have any one guiding  you can pick up one of the children who is going to gathered around of you to guide and explain the Hasankeyf.  The name of Hasankeyf was derived from the word Kipani which means Rock in Asyrian language.

According to a rumour about the name of the Hasankeyf;   A guy whose name is hasan captured and  jailed  for  years in a castle. Hasan was depressed by staying in jail and beg the sultan of the land to ride a horse in the castle, Sultan accepted his request then Hasan started to ride the horse through the Tigres river and he fell down almost from 100 mt height to tigres river. Eventually he survived but the horse was dead.  When he was falling down from the cliff guardians asked each other what’s going on and the answer was Hasan keyf so the name of the city remembered as hasankeyf afterwards.

You can start your hasankeyf trip by climbing the peek of the hill by entering from the main castle gate. Castle gate is not well preserved so the figures on the gate almost disappeared.  Castle was built over the cliff ascending like a wall and hard to reach.  A stone traverse stairway passing from 7 gates is available.  There are many tunnels and caves carved in the walls of the hill.  During the besiege of the castle some secret tunnels were made to reach the tigris river to supply water for castle. When you get to the castle at the top of the hill the view is really breathtaking.   Even the legs of the old bridge  gives tips  about the glory of the bridge in time.  The mint`s place where coin money was produced and the system to carry water from tigris river to castle is unbeliaveble.

After an exhausting walk to castle you can rest in the tents set up on the beach of tigris river.  There is a project for a dam to flourish the irrigation of the land and save the area from drought.  This project both rejoicing and sadden the local people as the dam will bring water to landbut at the same time its very sad that the Hasankeyf must go underwater.

You can spend time there until sunset and go back to your hotel with a lovely sunset view on the way back.

Hasankeyf is now a small hamlet in southeastern Turkey, but for centuries it was a regional hub, home to Romans, Byzantines, the Artukids, Ayyubids and Akkoyunlu, before its absorption into the Ottoman Empire in the early 16th century. Remains from all these conquerors can still be found in the city.

Photos of Hasankeyf

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