General historical information
and some historical remains
Hasankeyf is a
small town which had a thousand years past in Batman in the southeast
Many valuable historical and cultural works and a thousand historical
caves in this town will be under the water of the Dam of Ilisu.
Activists of nature, environment and history refuse the building of
this dam which is supported by some Europe countries.
I have also
supported these actions with my this site fnom 1996..
Hasankeyf is an open museum located at the end
of an impressive gorge formed by the Tigris River.
The cave dwellings and ruins of Hasankeyf tell of a long history
although it is not known when and by whom Hasankeyf was first
Romans built the stronghold of Cephe on the frontier
separating the Roman Empire from the Persian Sassanid Empire in a
strategic place on the steep rocks overlooking the River Tigris. Under
the name Kiphas, which means "steep rock",
Byzantines made it also their stronghold in the south-east of
Anatolia. In the fifth century, this
place became the seat of a Bishopric. Coveted
by the Arabs, in the seventh century,
the city fell to the Omeyyads who changed
its name into Hisn Kayfa, and later to the Abbassids.
The Ayyubids (descendants of Saladin),
who captured the city in 1232, built mosques that made Hasankeyf an
important Islamic center. In 1260, the Mongols invaded
the city which suffered badly from this period but rose from its ashes
for it became the place where the summer residences of the Turcoman Akkoyunlu emirs
ruling the area from Diyarbakir, were built. The city, having stayed
under the Safavid hegemony for sometime, was incorporated to
the Ottoman Empire
in 1515 and gradually lost its historical
importance and past glory.
to its archaeological and historical assets, Hasankeyf
has been declared conservation area since 1981.
But within the scope of GAP project,
the area is to be flooded by the Ilısu dam, and the works implemented
for the rescue of the lower and middle parts of the town are still
being carried on.
historical remains in Hasankeyf
The Old Tigris
magnificent bridge was also considered to be the largest in the
Medieval Period. The opening between the two middle piles which
carried the large vault is 40 meter. This vault was made of wood so
that it could be removed to prevent access to the city in case of
danger. However, it seems that this property shortened the life of the
Hasankeyf Castle, built solely from stone, is situated on the
bank of Tigris River and is 200 m high from the river bed. İk was
built by the Byzantines as a center for Assyrian Archbishopric in 363
A.D. This Castle, being extremely strong and hard to invade, makes it
the most protected castle built by Byzantines in the east. The
original name of Hasankeyf Castle was 'Hisno Koyfa' meaning 'Rock
Castle'... It is interesting: being very defensive as built from one
piece of stone, having many monuments on it the river and with its
graceful and magnificient door on the road mounting to thi fortress.
The Citadel is perched on top of steep
limestone cliff 100 m / 328 ft above the Tigris. It is clear from the
rock cut structures that it has been used as dwelling places since
remote ages. The access to the citadel is made through a winding
footpath defended by four gates (there were seven in total). The ruins
of the Small Palace built by the Ayyubids, raise spectacularly
on the edge of the cliff at the north-east
end of the citadel which offers a
breathtaking view over the valley. Over
one of the windows, a relief of two lions and plates with Kufic
script inscription can be seen. Further are the ruins of the Great mosque built by the Ayyubids in 1325 over the remains of a church.
The ruins of the Great Palace, built by the Artukids, are
located at the north of the citadel under the Ulu Cami Mosque. The
rectangle tower, independent from the building, may have been a watch
mosque of Hasankeyf, This mosque on the Hasankeyf fortress. This
is a first work of Eyyubies in the Hasankeyf. It was built on year
1325 A.D. over the remmaints of a church. Generally its minaret is
built of ruble stones as well as its structure pflaster ornament and
epitaph located at the North of minaret are worth attention. Wooden
epitaph with its writing and carved ornament which reached nowadays
from mosques pulpit is one of the are valued parts.
El Rizk mosque,
built in 1409 by the famous Ayyubid sultan Süleyman, stands on the
bank of the river with its imposing minaret which has remained intact.
The inscriptions on the minaret and the portal door, the vegetal
ornaments make the charming characteristics of the Mosque.
Süleyman Mosque, also built by Sultan Süleyman, is completely
destructed and even the grave of the Sulatn is lost. Only the minaret,
which is adorned with plant ornaments and Kufic script inscriptions,
is located on the eastern side of Suleyman Mosque. From its general
properties and plaster ornaments, it is supposed that the mosque
belongs to the Ayyubid period. Due to the remains of different
buildings around the mosque, it seems that it was part of a "külliye",
a complex consisting of a medrese, imaret (soup kitchen), hospital etc...
located in the east of Koç Mosque, is estimated to belong to the
Ayyubid period. The section which is used as a mosque today, was
mausoleum in the past. Grave remnants have survived to the present day.
Imam Abdullah Tomb
stands on the small hill located at the west side of the new
bridge. Imam Abdullah was the grand-son of Cafer-i Tayyar who himself
was the uncle of Prophet Mohammed. An epitaph mentions that the tomb
was restored at the time of the Ayyubids.
Mausoleum is situated on the other bank of the Tigris. Zeynel bey
was the son of Uzun Hasan, of the Akkoyunlu dynasty which ruled over
Hasankeyf in the 15th century during a short period. One can still see
traces of the beautiful turquoise and dark blue glazed tiles that
adorned the cylindrical body of the mausoleum, and the calligraphical
inscriptions mentioning the names of Allah, Mohammed and Ali. This
tomb is one of the rare examples of its kind in Anatolia.
Hasankeyf ruins surrounded by calcerious land from the south and the
southeast have the famous cave houses and the unicuely and enormous
canyon, shaped as a result of cooperative of the nature and man,
forming a natural wonder wth over 4000 caves...
Since the dark ages of the history or the date of mankind adapting the
sedentary life, the caves of Hasankeyf were used as shelter and home,
have survived to date without losing anything from the original shape
at construction and preserved their multi-functional characteristics
in every age...
to these historical traces, all of Hasankeyf locality is interesting
because of its thousands of caverns and cave dwellings. Some were
multi-storied and water supplied structures. There were also churches
and mosques carved into rocks, and cemeteries. Until recently, more
than 30 millstones carved into the rock were still used to grind all
wheat of the region.
View some images from Hasankeyf
Who is Mehmet Masum SÜER