Diyarbakir

Diyarbakır (Ottoman Diyar-i Bekr دیاربکر 'land of the Bekr'; Kurdish Amed [1]; Syriac ܐܡܝܕ Āmîḏ; Greek Ἄμιδα Amida; Armenian Ամիդ Amid) is a major city in southeastern Turkey situated on the banks of the River Tigris, and the seat of Diyarbakır Province.

Diyarbakir has a large Kurdish population, and both some Kurds and outside observers often refer to it as the unofficial 'capital' of a Turkish Kurdistan [2] [The Encyclopaedia of Islam] [3].Many Kurds consider Diyarbakir to be the capital of Turkish Kurdistan, and outside observers sometimes refer to it as the unofficial capital of Turkish Kurdistan.

The city is surrounded by a dramatic and fully intact set of black basalt walls, first constructed in 297, extending in a 5.5 km circle around the old city. The dramatic warren of alleyways and old-fashioned tenement blocks which makes up the old city contrast dramatically with the sprawling suburbs of modern apartment blocks and gecekondu slums to the west. Diyarbakır boasts numerous medieval mosques and madrassahs, crowned by the 11th century Ulu Cami ("Great Mosque") constructed by alternating bands of black basalt and limestone. The same patterning was used in the 16th century Deliler Han Madrassah, which is now a hotel, and the 12th century Castle Mosque (Kale Camii).

The Syriac Orthodox church of Our Lady (Meryemana), was first constructed as a pagan temple in the 1st century BC, and is still in use as a place of worship today.

Diyarbakır also boasts one of the region's most lively and dramatic street markets.

After the PKK's cessation of hostilities, a large degree of normality returned to the city, with the Turkish government declaring a 15 year period of emergency rule over on 30 November 2002. The local economy is slowly improving and as of July 2004, Diyarbakır is safe to visit.



Cities and Regions

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