Turkey: Hasankeyf & Diyarbakir

Posted November 28, 2009 by David McGuinness

I left Midyat after breakfast and quickly found a bus to Hassankeyf. I arrived shortly afterwards, and after depositing my bag in a cafe it was time to explore. I didn’t get far however as I was soon met by a kindly older Kurdish man who spoke German (as many older Kurds do, many having worked in Germany). He insisted on buying me tea and we chatted about Germany, the Kurdish situation and the issues hanging over Hassankeyf. He was a true gentleman and told me if I wanted to I could come and stay in his house, five kilometres from Hassankeyf. I had to decline and started out to discover the sights of Hassankeyf.

Sprawled over a hillside the site of Hassankeyf is still being excavated and not fully discovered. What can been seen now however comprises a very pretty set of buildings including a castle, some mosques and various domestic buildings of a honey-yellow colour.

The setting is superb as well, looking down over the Tigris plain below. I met with Derick again after about an hour and we explored together before having some lunch in a restaurant recommended by some friendly locals carrying out the excavations. From there we took the bus to Diyarbakir (known as “Amed” in Kurdish parlance), where I was to stay the night and Derick was to continue on to Urfa.

We said our goodbyes and I got a taxi across town to meet with Gulay, a friend of Sehmus’, who had offered to show me around and offered me a room in her apartment while I was here. After a quick shower we headed out for some dinner with a friend of hers and then found ourselves in an apartment on the other side of town, drinking beer, eating snacks and watching the Man United – Besiktas game, which they were all very pleased to see Besiktas win. A very nice evening and a really good group of people. Tomorrow I will head into Diyarbakir, famed for its walls which the 2nd biggest in the world after the Great Wall of China, and allegedly can been seen from space but I have yet to verify this.

This blog is part of an Off-The-Beaten-Track Travel Diary. Click on the links below to navigate through this journey.

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