Batman in Turkey

07:30 Alyson Tart 0 Comments

In honor of last weekend's release of the Batman movie (at least in Turkey), I thought it was time to share a little bit about Turkey's own Batman.

A few months ago, Paul went on a trip for work to Diyarbakır in Southeast Turkey. While he was there, the local employees wanted to show Paul some of the history of the area and took him to the Hasankeyf Caves in the Batman region.

The city was built thousands of years ago along the Tigris River. And of course anything along the Tigris you know has to have one heck of a history. It is thought to be one of the longest consistently inhabited cities (probably right behind Damascus), with a history of longer than 10,000 years. Apparently the city was even mentioned in the Mari tablets, dating back to 1800 BC. Hasankeyf was also an important stop on the Silk Road, showing its importance at the time, even if it is a little mentioned place today.

While there are tons of important sites to visit here in one of the best preserved Medieval towns in Turkey (such as the El Rizk Mosque, Hasankeyf Castle and Zeynel Bey Mausoleum), what Paul visited were the caves. Similar to the caves in Cappadocia, there are thousands here with a picturesque view over the Tigris. Cave living is still an odd concept to me, but it must have had its appeal way back in the day for so many different people to have adopted it.

The big controversy about this area right now? No, it's not that the city is sueing the producers of Batman, although that's a true story.

It's the possible extinction of the city. People are trying to get a dam built in this very region and it threatens this historic city. While the government has offered to move some of the historic monuments (something along the line of 30) out of the city, historians are still up in arms about it. It's thousands of years of history potentially down the dam and underwater. Hopefully it turns out with a happy ending so that the history can be shared with the world for many more years to come.

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