Hasankeyf in Cilicia





The Turkish name Hasankeyf literally means Hasan's joy, which is a corruption of the Arabic name Hisn Keyfa. Hisn Keyfa means rock fortress or rock castle. The Romans called the city Kipas, Cehpa or Ciphas. This could come from the Aramaic form Kifa for "rock".
The history of Hasankeyf only goes back to the first centuries. Chr. tangible. This place was in the region that claimed Byzantium and the Sassanids. So they often took turns here. In the middle of the 4th century Byzantium built a fortress here and was able to keep the Sassanids away. In 638, the Arabs conquered this place. From this time on, the Christians of this region always lived under Islamic sovereignty. Hasankeyf had no particular strategic importance for the Muslims until then.


The bridge from the year 1116  

From 1101 Hasankeyf became the centre of this area. The bridge was built over the Tigris, Medreschen, as well as water channels that reached up to the castle. 1260 the city is overrun by the Mongols, 1301 destroyed. After the destruction, the Ayyubids rebuilt the city. Many of the buildings date from this period. From the middle of the 15th century the development of the city stagnated. In 1515 the Ottomans won this area. The Ottomans struck Hasankeyf in Diyarbakir province. In the 16th century the city is said to have had 10,000 inhabitants. Of these, 60% were Christians. At that time, however, the area belonging to Hasankeyf was larger and included all of Batman, Siirt and parts of Mardin.


Above the present place  

Over time Hasankeyf lost more and more of its size and importance. In the last 20-30 years Hasankeyf was only one big village. When a dam was to be built here, national and international protests began. The dam was not built under this pressure. As a result, interest in the city grew again and it is now being partially restored for tourism.
● The bridge, built in 1116 by Fahrettin Karaaslan, of which only ruinous remains remain today.
● The Palace
● Ulu Camii Mosque
● The little palace of the Ayyubids
● Rock apartments
● Zeynel-Bey mausoleum


Caves apartments  

In the course of the Southeast Anatolia project, which aims to create many dams - as well as the Ilısu dam - in southeast Turkey, the Turkish state plans to flood Hasankeyf. There is still national, mostly Kurdish, and international protest against this. Nevertheless, Turkey began construction of the dam at the beginning of August 2006. On 15 December 2006, the Swiss Federal Council granted the companies Alstom, Colenco, Maggia and Stucky export risk guarantees amounting to 225 million Swiss francs for the Ilısu dam project. Of the approximately one hundred conditions listed, at least 25 should be met "satisfactorily". On 26 March 2007, the German and Austrian government cabinets also approved loan guarantees for local companies involved in the construction project, as the specified criteria were fulfilled. Parts of the ancient city are to be moved and rebuilt in a cultural park. However, critics report that only a small part of the ancient treasures will be preserved.
Switzerland stopped the export risk guarantee, just like Germany and Austria, after conditions for environmental and cultural protection had not been fulfilled satisfactorily despite considerable improvements to the project. In February 2010, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that his government had found new lenders to build the dam.

The financing of the highly controversial project had become questionable after Germany, Austria and Switzerland had terminated loan guarantees in the summer of 2009. According to current plans, Hasankeyf is therefore expected to be flooded for the most part by 2016. At the beginning of 2016, the Turkish parliament finally decided to implement the project. The dam was completed in July 2017. On 12 May 2017, the Zeynel-Bey mausoleum was equipped with a special transporter to avoid flooding. It is now 2 km away in the new Hasankeyf Cultural Park. A further eight important buildings are to be completed in the near future.

Photos: @chim    
Translation aid: www.DeepL.com/Translator    
Source: Wikipedia and others