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Diyarbakır

on 05/07/2012
Diyarbakir City Walls

Diyarbakir City Walls

The city of Diyarbakır, located in the south-eastern Turkey on the Tigris River,  reveals many of its often ignored treasures only to those who take the time to discover.

The basalt color of most of its monuments could give the city a wry face, as its difficult economic situation, and yet …

The history of this city dates back to around 1500 BC and many nations, for example the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni, the Urartians, Assyrians, Persians, and even Alexander the Great took its possession over time. First called Amida, the town was renamed “Diyar Bakr” (ie “the kingdom of Bakr), named after an Arab tribe is being installed there.

A huge circular wall adorned with four monumental gates at the four cardinal points around the old town.

The most famous Mosque of Diyarbakir is the Ulu Cami built in 1091 by Malik Şah, an early Seljuk sultan. Above the entrance porch, a medallion made 90 years after construction of the building represents a lion attacking a bull, symbol of Newroz, Kurdish New Year.

Many churches still exist in the city including Surp Giragos, former seat of the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate and one of the largest cathedrals of the Christian era. If the exact date of its construction is unknown, it is certain that it was built after 1518 on an old cemetery.

On the opposite side of the street, the Ethnographic Museum is housed in a magnificent building with typical architecture of the city. In this building that  Ziya Gökalp, famous Turkish writer and politician, was born in 1876.

The church of the Virgin Mary, erected in the third century, belongs to the Syrian Orthodox community. There are many other Christian places of worship scattered throughout the old city.

The Büyük Kervansaray, old caravanserai, built between 1521 and 1527 near the Mardin Gate now houses one of the best hotels of the city.

Diyarbakır is also known for its watermelons with astonishing dimensions and some of them reach up to 90 lb… A festival is held every year in late September in honor of this delicious fruit.


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