Diyarbakir Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Diyarbakir

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    The city walls

    by dabuwan Updated Sep 2, 2003

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    The massive medieval walls encircling the city are the top attraction of Diyarbakir.
    They are made of black basalt and are very well preseved. Though the original walls had been probably built by the Romans, the actual ones date back to the early Byzantine period.
    Because of their length (5.5 kms) and good preservation, the Diyarbakir city walls are credited to be second in the world, just after the Chinese Great Wall.

    One of the four main gates through the city walls
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    River Tigri

    by dabuwan Updated Sep 2, 2003

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    The river Tigri borders Diyarbakir and it is of vital importance for the city and for the whole region.
    In contrast with the surrounding semi-desertic landscapes, the gardens along the river are very green and lush.
    The watermelons that are grown here reach 40 kg of weight and are famous through the whole country

    River Tigri
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    Cahit Sitki Taranci Museum

    by MalenaN Updated Oct 16, 2004

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    The poet Cahit Sitki Taranci was born (1910) in an old Diyarbakir house from 1820. As many of the old Diyarbakir houses from the Ottoman period it is made of black basalt. The house was divided into men's quarters and women's quarters, into summer- and winter quarters. The house is built around a very nice courtyard. In the museum there is an exhibition of the poets life and work.

    The courtyard
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    Esma Ocak Evi

    by MalenaN Updated Oct 18, 2004

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    Another beautiful old Diyarbakir house is Esma Ocak Evi. The house is striped in white and dark grey. In the rooms around the courtyard there is less to see than at Cahit Sitki Taranci Museum, but it is still worth a visit and has got a beautiful architecture.

    The house is just off Yenicapi Caddesi and is easy to pass, as there are no signs. When I came there the caretaker was showing a small group around and I walked around on my own. There is no entrance fee, but the caretaker expects a tip. I gave 2 000 000 TL, as that is the price for foreigners at many museums in Turkish towns. The caretaker did not think that was enough.

    The courtyard
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    ulu camii,a "syrian" mosque...

    by cbeaujean Written Feb 25, 2003

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    this mosque is built around a yard,as in syria and arab countries,(same plan as omeyyades mosque in damas),unlike turkish mosques,covered with a dome...
    was,in fact,the ancient syrian cathedral st tomas ,becoming mosque after islamic conquest.it's the reason why we find a lot of corinthian columns.

    ulu camii
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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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    On Gözlu Köprü

    by MalenaN Updated Oct 19, 2004

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    If you walk south from the Mardin Gate and pass Gazi Köskü you will after another km come to the bridge On Gözlu Köprüsü (Ten-Eyed Bridge). It is a bridge from the 11th century crossing the Tigris.
    I did not walk that far but only saw it from the road to Gazi Köskü - I had walked enough for a while.

    Ten-eyed Bridge
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    The City Walls

    by MalenaN Written Jul 20, 2004

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    The wall going round Diyarbakir is impressive. It is almost 6 km long (only the chines wall is longer and bigger) and it is built of black basalt. The present wall is from early Byzantine time but was improved by the Seljucs.

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    The wall at night

    by MalenaN Updated Oct 19, 2004

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    At night the walls are lighted up and they look very beautiful and impressive.
    During the evening families and old and young people are visiting the parks by the wall. It's a nice place to go for a
    walk at.

    The city wall

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    Nebi Camii

    by MM212 Updated Mar 29, 2014

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    The first intramural mosque to greet the visitor from the northern city gate (Dağkapı) is known by its Arabic name, Nebi Camii (جامع النبي), or Mosque of the Prophet. It is sometimes referred to by its Turkish translation "Peygamber Camii". The mosque dates from the 15th century, during the Ak Koyunlu period ("White Sheep" Turkmen tribal federation), just before the Ottoman conquest. It was built in the typical local style (ablaq or أبلق) with alternating black and white stones, a single octagonal dome. The square minaret is of a later, early Ottoman-period construction, built in 1530 by a local butcher named Haji Hussein in the traditional style (unlike the typical Ottoman pencil-style), and is decorated with beautiful Arabic calligraphy. In later Ottoman times, the short pointed top was added, giving the minaret a more Ottoman flavour.

    Nebi Camii, Dec 2012
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    Mardin Gate (Mardin Kapı)

    by MM212 Updated Apr 4, 2014

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    The southern gate of Diyarbakır is named after Mardin, the city towards which it leads. It is also known in Arabic as Bab el-Tel (Hill Gate). It marks the end of Gazi Caddesi, the Roman Cardo Maximus. I only saw it from inside the walled city, as in the attached photograph. The part of the wall that connects Mardin Gate with Urfa Gate in the west is the best preserved part of the ancient wall, and about 3km south of the Mardin Gate lies the 11th century 10-arched bridge that crosses the Tigris River.

    Mardin Kapı, Dec 2012
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    The Walled City

    by MM212 Updated Apr 1, 2014

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    Old Diyarbakır's borders are very clearly defined by the formidable walls. The size of the area within the walls shows how large and important the city was during Classical and Mediaeval times. Unfortunately, much irreversible damage has been done to the old city over the past century that it is hard to imagine what the city might have looked like before concrete infested human lives. Still, old architecture has survived in pockets and provides us with a glimpse of what larger parts of the city might have looked like. Attached are a couple of photos of some of the better preserved alleys I encountered.

    For more photos, check out the travelogue: "Old Diyarbakır"

    Old Diyarbakır, Dec 2012 Dec 2012 Old Architecture, Dec 2012
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    The Great Mosque of Diyarbakır

    by MM212 Updated Apr 11, 2014

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    Although the Walls of Diyarbakır are the city's most famous architectural feature, I would say its Great Mosque (Ulu Camii in Turkish) is probably its most important. It sits on a site used for worship for thousands of years, but such is the story of many of the great cities in the Middle East (think Aleppo and Damascus). Presumably, there was a Semitic pagan temple on this site, which the Romans would have replaced with their own, then Christianity took over and ensured the conversion of the temple into a cathedral, and it may have been reconstructed in the Byzantine period. Finally, Islam arrived and did much the same. In fact, upon the arrival of Islam in 637 AD, Diyarbakir's Cathedral of Mar Toma (Saint Thomas) stood on the site, and shortly thereafter it became a shared place of worship between Moslems and Christians (the same occurred in Damascus, for example). At some point later (probably in the early 8th century Omayyad-period), the structure would have been purchased from the Christians and converted and rebuilt into a mosque, and it is thus considered the oldest mosque in Turkey. It fell into disuse and decay over time, but the Seljuk ruler, Malik Shah, decided to rebuild it in 1091 AD (he also rebuilt the Aleppo mosque in 1090 AD). Malik had been responsible for restoring part of the Omayyad Mosque of Damascus, which inspired him to build the Diyarbakir mosque with a strong resemblance. An earthquake and subsequent fire in 1115 AD caused significant damage necessitating some reconstruction, this time under the Artukid rulers. In this phase, the minaret was erected, and a great amount of Roman and Byzantine materials was reused in the courtyard, creating a successful synthesis of Islamic and Classical styles, unique to this mosque. Although some additions and changes were made in later periods, the 11th/12th century structure has survived remarkably intact to this day. Unfortunately, few or no archaeological studies have been conducted to research what any of this mosque's predecessors might have looked like, except we know that a Persian traveller in 1046 (i.e., prior to the construction of the existing structure) noted that the mosque's interior consisted of a hypostyle hall with hundreds of ancient columns (which evokes other early Islamic-period mosques, such as those in Kairouan, Cairo, and Cordoba). We also do not know to which deity the Roman pagan temple might have been dedicated or how much of the Roman and Byzantine materials in situ belonged to the prior structures, or if they had been imported from elsewhere. When I visited in Dec 2012, the mosque was halfway through a restoration project.

    Great Mosque of Diyarbakır, Dec 2012 Fa��ade under restoration, Dec 2012 Fa��ade closeup, Mar 2014 The minaret, Dec 2012 Fa��ade decorations, Dec 2012
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    Ulu Camii - Interior

    by MM212 Updated Apr 11, 2014

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    The interior of the Great Mosque (Ulu Camii) of Diyarbakır recently underwent a successful restoration that brought it back to its former glory. It is a rectangular hall, measuring 75x47 metres, with a central nave containing the mihrab (prayer niche) in the direction of Mecca due south. The central nave is flanked by two wings, each of which is divided into three naves with east-west orientation, separated by arches and square pillars. The central nave is topped by a flat, wooden ceiling painted with colourful floral and geometric designs and Koranic verses. Both the mihrab and the minbar (pulpit) are made of delicately carved white marble and are arguably the jewels of the interior of the mosque, particularly the intricate muqarnas (stalactite) half-dome above the minbar. Their whiteness makes them stand out remarkably against the black basalt stones of the walls of the mosque. The existing structure mostly dates from the Seljuk period construction, built in 1091 AD, with probable subsequent restorations and additions. According to a Persian traveller who visited the city in 1046 AD, the previous structure - probably built in the early 8th century Omayyad period - contained a hypostyle hall with hundreds of Classical columns, perhaps similar to la Mezquita in Cordoba.

    For more photos, take a look at the travelogue: "Great Mosque of Diyarbakır Interior."

    Diyarbakır's Great Mosque, Dec 2012 Ulu Camii of Diyarbakır, Dec 2012 Mihrab & Minbar, Dec 2012 Dec 2012 The Ceiling, Dec 2012
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    Ulu Camii - Courtyard

    by MM212 Updated May 18, 2014

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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...

    Great Mosque Courtyard, Dec 2012 Eastern Portico under restoration, Dec 2012 Courtyard and Western Portico, Dec 2012 Northern entrance, Dec 2012 Corinthian capital of Mesudiye portico, Dec 2012
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