TURKEY: DIYARBAKIR

Posted December 1, 2009 by David McGuinness

After Gulay went to work I grabbed a minibus into Diyarbakir centre. The city is known as Amed to the Kurds and the capital of a would-be Kurdistan. The population is also predominantly Kurdish. After arriving at the walls I spent a couple of hours walking around the walls, sometimes outside, sometimes inside, and sometimes on top. They are very impressive and stretch for about five and half kilometres around the city centre.

I noticed that if I walked around with my camera in my bag and my sunglasses on no one noticed I was a foreigner (the beard probably helped), but with the camera out or the sunglasses off (the blue eyes stand out here) I was immediately noticed, which mostly meant offers of tea, but sometimes kids following me, which gets a bit annoying after a while, but all I had to do was pop into the nearest mosque for a minute and they would disappear.

When Gulay was finished work I met up with her and a friend of hers, Kadir and they showed me around the city. The Ulu mosque and the Armenian church were particularly impressive, and Hasan Pasa is a lovely square in the market area, perfect for a tea break.

I also found a lovely 16th century Han (house) that has been converted into a hotel. the rooms were fairly functional but the hotel itself is lovely and full of character.

We then met up with Gulay’s brother and a couple of his school friends who were visiting for a few days and we decided to hit a bar.

I had a lot of fun, and the levels of English varied quite a bit, but I managed to communicate with everyone pretty well, though some required a little translation; mostly from Gulay!
 

After a few beers we went back to the apartment for some food and a couple more beers. It gets a little hazy there, but when I left in the morning everyone was gone as one of the girls was flying to Istanbul. I was sorry to miss them but we had exchanged details the night before and I will certainly stay in touch, and hopefully some day I can repay the kindness.

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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