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Sinking history at Hasankeyf

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to visit the amazing ruins at Hasankeyf, a village which has been under threat from the Ilisu dam project.

Hasankeyf is a mainly Kurdish village that sits on the Tigris River in the Batman Province in southeastern Turkey and has a very long history. The cliffs at Hasankeyf contain thousands of cave dwellings dating back nearly 4000 years.

The city was an important part of the Silk Road and has been important throughout history. The Romans once had a fortress there, it was sacked by the Mongols and the Arabs. As well as the caves, there are many mosques, mausoleums, palaces, and tombs. There are also remains of the Old Tigris Bridge which dates back to the 12th century.

The Kurdish people in Hasankeyf are wonderfully friendly people, and I enjoyed my time there. Whilst wondering around the ruins above the cliffs I shared a some chicken with a group of women having a picnic – one of the reasons I always remember this place…

If the Ilisu dam project is completed, Hasankeyf, and the entire valley, will be submerged under 30m of water. The dam project will effect about 400 km of the Tigris and the ancient city of Hasankeyf and over 200 other archaeological sites will be lost in the waters.

At the same time thousands of people will lose their homes!

Here is a link to an excellent video about the plight of Hasankeyf and it’s people
made by Journeyman Pictures:

And here are some of my pictures from Hasankeyf and other places in
Turkey taken on the same trip:

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Hello retrotraveller,
Beautiful pictures in the gallery (esp the Armenian church). Dams have indeed caused displacement and loss of subsistence in so many rural areas..

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