Diyarbakir Things to Do

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  • Things to Do
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  • Things to Do
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Most Recent Things to Do in Diyarbakir

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    Dört Ayakli Minare - Four-legged minaret.

    by Askla Updated Jul 4, 2014

    The Seyh Mutahhar Mosque was built in 1512. It's not a big attraction in itself but the free-standing minaret is worth a visit since it stands on four basalt pilars, about two m high. This is the only such construction in the whole of Anatolia.
    Unfortunately there were restoration works being carried out during the time of my visit, as seen on the picture.

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    Dengbe Evi, kind of story telling.

    by Askla Written Jul 4, 2014

    A group of elderly Kurdish men gathers everyday in the afternoon in a courtyard off Kilici Sokak, just north of Behrem Pasa Mosque. There they do what is called Dengbe Evi, a kind of story telling by singing. The songs are always about bygone days and seems to follow some certain patterns. Any of them can start or take over after another one, but it's all volountarily. They can just come and socialize without singing if they want. There is always an audience, quite a big part of which being young. Tea is served for free.
    There was especially one man who sang a lot, a real artist, he knew how to arrest the audience! All this was a very special experience, one that I will never forget. I am very greatful to have been showed this by my temporarily "guide".
    I filmed this event but when looking at it on the computer the film doesn't run, just the song can be heard, alas.

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    The Fortress, Ic Kale.

    by Askla Updated Jul 3, 2014
    Entrance into the fortress area.

    In the north-eastern corner of the Old Town do we have the fortress area, called Ic Kale. It's quite large area with several buildings from different times. There is the old St George Church dating from the 4th-5th century. It is now being transformed into an exhibition hall but has served as a prison for a while. To the south of the main buildings sits the Prophet Süleyman-Nasiriye Mosque. It was built in 1160 and is said to hold the türbe of Prophet Süleyman.

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    The Archeological Museum.

    by Askla Written Jul 3, 2014

    The Archeological Museum was closed during my visit due to its relocation to the Fortress area, where in turn huge construction works were being performed. I could not get a date for the opening, not even an estimated date.

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    The Ten-eyed Bridge.

    by Askla Updated Jul 3, 2014

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    The Ten-eyed Bridge was constructed in 1065. It then replaced an earlier bridge.
    Two lines in Kufic script states that it was built by order of Nizamüddin and Müeyyidüddevle during the Kurdish dynasti which lasted from 990 until 1085, and that the architecht was Sancaroğlu Ubeydoğlu Yusuf. The bridge consists of ten arches hence the name On Gözlü Köprü in Turkish, or Pira Dehderi in Kurdish. It is also known as Dicle Köprüsü since Dicle is the Turkish name of Tigris which the bridge spans.
    It sits about 2-3 km south of of Mardin Gate.

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    Deliller Hani.

    by Askla Written Jul 3, 2014

    Deliller Hani was built by Hüsrev Pasa, the second governor of Diyarbakir to serve the mercahnts who were traveling to the countries along the Silkkroad. It was built with mosque and medresa (Koran school) and consisted 72 rooms, 17 shops and a stable with the capacity to host 800 camels.It was built between 1521 and 1527, building material was black stones brought from Kurtbogaxi stonemine, and white stone from Urfa (Sanliurfa).
    It is today another kind of "hani" since there is now a hotel, Büyük Hotel.

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    Surp Giragos Armenian Church.

    by Askla Written Jul 3, 2014
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    The Armenian church Surp Giragos was closed in 1916 and put into a miserable shape of derilict. It has however recently been restored and was reopened on 23 October 2011. The original church was built in 1376.
    It is now a beautiful church. Just opposite the entrance to the church is a kind of a small museum with pictures from early days and some books.
    The large holes you canse on the first picture aare made to promote the accustics.

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    Iskender Pasa Camii.

    by Askla Written Jul 3, 2014
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    Iskender Pasa Camii was built between 1551 and 1554 by order of Iskender Pasa, who was the 12th Ottoman governor in Diyarbakir. He is buried here. It is believed that Sinan the Great was the architecht to this mosque.
    (Mimar Sinan was the great architecht of the 16th century and the man behind many beautiful mosques, mianly in Istanbul but also for instance the famous one in Edirne. He also built bridges and many other buildings.)

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    Ulu Camii.

    by Askla Written Jul 3, 2014
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    Ulu Camii (the Great Mosque) is the third shrine on the same spot. The oldest was a church called St Thomas. It was replaced by a mosque and in 1091-92 the Ulu Camii was built.
    The mosque sits on the southern side of courtyard because Diyarbakir is on the 40th meridian of the Eastern Hemisphere like Mecca and therefor all mosques in the town should be built on a north-south axis.
    The gates and columns are richly decorated with elaborate stonework. One can also find many inscriptions, even in Greek!
    The eastern portico was completed in 1117 according to a Kufic inscription, while the western portico was completed in 1164.

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    The Basalt Wall.

    by Askla Written Jul 3, 2014
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    An now since long extinct vulcano near Diyarbakir erupted the basalt layers which were used to build the city walls. Basalt is one of the most resistable materials one can find naturally.
    The walls are said to have been built in 297 when Diyarbakir was incorporate into the Roman Empire. They were later restored and extended by Emperor Constantin II in 349. What we see nowadays, however, is said to be the work ordered by Malik Shah, a Seljuk leader, when he had them completely rebuilt in 1088 after he conqered the city.
    The walls are 5,7 km in lenght, making them the longest city walls in the world and the second longest structure whatsoever after the Great Wall in China. The city walls originally had 82 towers. 77 still remains. There were, and still are, four main gates, one in each direction north-east-south-west named: Harput Kapisi (aka Dag Kapisi), Yeni Kapisi, Mardin Kapisi and Urfa Kapisi. The walls are about 12m high, 4-5m thick at the baseand hollow inside which is clad with brickwork. The lower parts were used as barracks and storage rooms.

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    Ulu Camii - Western Portico

    by MM212 Updated Jun 4, 2014
    Roman & Islamic, Dec 2012
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    The Western Portico of the Courtyard of the Great Mosque of Diyarbakir is nearly a mirror image of its Eastern counterpart. It is in fact slightly angled and contains minor differences in architecture; the angle is probably a result of the plot of land it was enclosing and the style differences come from the fact that this Portico was built in 1164 AD (according to the Kufic-style Arabic inscription), some 47 years after the Eastern Portico. Much like the other side, the Portico consists of two floors, each with nine arches separated by Corinthian-style Roman columns. The lower level has three broken arches (as opposed to only one on the Eastern side), one in the centre and one at each end. The Roman columns on this side reach higher making the entablature decoration between the two floors more compressed, but here too it is a dazzling mix of Roman and Islamic styles. Another unique feature on this side is the carved columns of the upper level, each of which in a different pattern, some looking like crosses! During the Ottoman-period, the upper level portico was closed off and used as an office of sorts, but fortunately, this renovation does not ruin the effect of the façade.

    For detailed photos, check out the travelogue: "Great Mosque, Western Portico"

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    The Walls of Diyarbakır

    by MM212 Updated Jun 4, 2014
    Bastions of Diyarbakır, Dec 2012
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    After the Great Wall of China, the Walls of Diyarbakır are the world's longest and best preserved mediaeval walls. They form an irregular circle and measure 5.5 kms in length, and contain 82 bastions and four gates (one at each cardinal point). The width of the wall ranges from 3 to 5 metres and the height from 8 to 12 metres - quite formidable by any standards - and it was almost entirely built using the local black basalt stone, used in construction in most of the city's ancient buildings. Some sort of defensive wall probably existed since ancient times, but it is known that it was Roman Emperor Constantius II who in 349 AD built the walls that have survived to this day. Naturally, every passing dynasty thereafter reinforced and restored the walls and left traces of decorations, inscriptions, and other marks, including the Romans, the Byzantines, the Abbasids, the Marwanids, the Seljuks, the Ayyubids, the Akkoyunlu, the Artukids, and the Ottomans, among others. The Walls of Diyarbakır are the city's most famous feature and a source of pride for its inhabitants.

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    Ulu Camii - Courtyard

    by MM212 Updated May 18, 2014
    Great Mosque Courtyard, Dec 2012
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    The Courtyard of the Great Mosque of Diyarbakır (Ulu Camii) contains some of the most astonishing architectural features of the structure. It is accessed through three entrances, the main one is an archway on the eastern side connecting the Old City's main square on Gazi Caddesi (the former Roman Forum) with the courtyard. Flanking the archway from the outside are two haut-relief figures of a lion attacking a bull, similar to those seen elsewhere in Diyarbakır and quite unusual for a mosque to have. The second entrance is a lesser one through the western portico. The third entrance is through a narrow passageway from the north side that passes between the 12th century Mesudiye Madrassa (theological school) and a separate prayer hall for the Shafie branch of Sunni Islam. Both have their own exterior entrances, but the school is also accessed from the courtyard via the north portico that borders the school. This portico consists of a single-storey with cusped arches supported by columns and large elegant Corinthian capitals recycled from Roman structures (were these previously inside the 8th century mosque, I wonder?). The centre of the courtyard contains two 19th century Ottoman ablution fountains, one with a conical roof and another pyramidal. On the southern side of the mosque is the main prayer hall whose façade consists of arched windows and a limestone band carved with Koranic verses in beautiful Kufic-style Arabic calligraphy. The eastern and western ends of the courtyard consist of 12th century two-storey porticoes whose similar façades incorporate recycled Roman and Byzantine-period materials that are brilliantly blended into Islamic-style architecture and decorations. The synthesis between the two styles is rather unique and mesmerisingly beautiful. In the Ottoman period, the upper porticoes of both sides were converted into functional buildings, but fortunately, the courtyard façades were preserved. When I visited in Dec 2012, the eastern façade and the Mesudiye portico were both being covered in scaffolding for a restoration so I was unable to see them properly. I wish I could return soon to see the result...

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    Hüsrev Paşa Camii

    by MM212 Updated May 18, 2014
    Minaret of H��srev Paşa Camii, Dec 2012

    Hüsrev Paşa Camii was constructed in 1528, though originally as a madrassa (theological school). It was converted into a mosque in 1728, which is when the tall, slender minaret was added. It is named after, Hüsrev Paşa, a prominent Ottoman governor who left us with several structures named after him scattered around cities of the former Ottoman empire. Among them are a caravanserai (Deliller Hanı) in Diyarbakır, the Sinan-designed al-Khusrufiya Mosque Complex in Aleppo (Hüsrev is pronounced in Arabic Khusruf), but who knows if it will survive the civil war, and also a charitable fountain in Cairo. His namesake mosque in Diyarbakır is located close to the Mardin Gate, in the southern part of the walled city.

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    Hüsrev Paşa Hanı (Deliller Hanı)

    by MM212 Updated May 18, 2014
    H��srev Paşa Hanı, Dec 2012
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    Another impressive khan (caravanserai) in Diyabakır, this one is located right near Mardin Gate. It was built in 1527 by the Ottoman governor Hüsrev Paşa who also built a mosque in the city. The caravanserai is also known as Deliller Hanı, which translates to "Caravanserai of the Guides," i.e. those who guided people towards Mecca during the Haj season. This was the period when Hüsrev Paşa Hanı was used by pilgrims on their way to Mecca, and their journey was due south from Mardin Gate. Hüsrev Paşa Hanı is the largest surviving caravanserai in Diyabakır and is nowadays used as a hotel and a restaurant (consider staying here if you plan to visit the city).

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