Diyarbakir is ready to be transformed into an attraction center in means of both cultural and belief tourism as an alternative to tourism that has spread to specific parts of Turkey. The city has the characteristics of being a window opening straight from East to Turkey’s tourism. The city, in fact, has the characteristics of an open air museum both in belief tourism and culture tourism. The city, where first residence of mankind was settled, invention of writing was found, laws that set society order, preliminary settlements were set, civilizations that provided to world civilization development such as Sumerian, Babylon, Persian, Assyrian, and Hurry, has a rich cultural heritage.
Diyarbakir, which is in Middle East of Anatolian Region; is counted as one of the most important cities not only in Turkey but in all over the world with its Castle, Citadel, various monumental structures that represents historical development of the city with all aspects, traditional dwelling fabric, and documental values that reflects today’s cultural identity that were left behind by great civilization who had dominations over here. It is an open air museum with the historical potential of the city. The city has witnessed the cradle of many civilizations and carries traces of all civilizations.
Diyarbakir Castle (Diyarbakır City Walls)
Diyarbakir Castle is the second in the world after Great Wall of China in terms of length and is first in terms of age and height. Constantine the Second, Imperator of Byzantine, has covered the surroundings of the city with walls against Sasanians and transformed here into military and administrative center. It consists of two parts: Citadel and Bailey.
There is a co-decision in the resources that it was built during Subari (Huri-Mittani) era. Based to Houris, surroundings of Citadel were covered with walls in Byzantine Era in 349. Being the administration center of province in history, Citadel, has Artuklu Palace, Military Police Building, Old Prison, Army Corps Hall, Courthouse A and B Buildings, Commander Ataturk Hall, His Holiness Suleiman Mosque, and 27 Companion Mausoleums, Saint George Church, Aslanli Fountain, and Artuklu Arch.
Total lengths of Diyarbakir Walls are 5.500 meters and changing from place to place in 7-8 meters in height. There are many tablet figures belonging to civilizations. Some of the bastions of the citadel that has 82 bastions in total attract attention with Myths and figures and epigraphs on it. There are important bastions such as Yedikardes Bastion, Ulu Beden Bastion, Keci Bastion, Leblebikiran Bastion, and Akrep Bastion.
Mosques Of Diyarbakir
Diyarbakir, having an intense history from Houris to Ottomans, has not departed from religious tolerance for centuries and has protected its ethnic and religious mosaics in each era. For this reason, many sanctuaries belonging to various eras in Diyarbakir have been formed and most of those have survived until today.
One of the largest mosques in the city’s history and the most famous is the great mosque, one of the first and oldest of Anatolia. Diyarbakir Grand Mosque, referred to as a reflection of the famous Sam Emeviye Mosque, is considered to be 5th Harem-i Serif of Islamic world. There are 2 mosques (Hanafis and Shafiis parts), 2 madrasahs (Mesudiye and Zinciriye), east-west maksoorah, minaret, privy and a great rectangular yard in the middle of these entire Islamic-Ottoman social complexes. Sundial, located in yard with a history of more than 900 years, is a masterpiece of al-Cazares.
Castle Mosque (His Holiness Suleiman-Nasiriye Mosque)
Mosque was built between the years of 1155-1160 by Nisanoglu Abul Kasim. Besides the Mosque, there is the Meshed where Suleiman, son of Khalid Bin Walid, and 27 companions, who were martyrized during the conquest of Diyarbakir from Arabs, rest. Companions being here have turned this place into a pilgrim. The most important quality of the Mosque is that Dıyarbakir’s conquest had started here during the era of His Holiness Omer.
Safa (Parlı) Mosque
The mosque is called parli, meaning smelly, because of the mystic smell that had aroused from a plant which was mixed with the ingredients used during the mosque’s construction in the Akkoyunlu Era. The architecture has made fame with its minaret rather than itself. Its Kufic and Cone beginning from its pedestal, is nodal with Kufic and naskh writings, as well as various shape and designs.
Sheikh Matar Mosque (Quadruped Minaret)
The mosque, which was built by Sultan Kasim in 1500 Akkoyunlus era, is famous mainly with its minaret. The structure is one and only example of minaret in Anatolia with its quadruped minaret. The four legs of this minaret represent 4 Islamic sects.
Nebii (Prophet) Mosque
Being a monument of Akkoyunlus, it is the only mosque left with one dome from 15th century. It is known as Nebi or Prophet Mosque because of sayings from our Prophet on the minaret and different places of the mosque.
Fatih Pasha Mosque
It was formed between the years of 1516-1520 by Diyarbakir Governor Mustached Mehmet Pasha. It resembles Sinan’s style in terms of the plan that separates it from Dıyarbakir structures with dome which is supported by four quarter dome in the center of the mosque.
Hüsrev Pasha Mosque
It was built in the years of 1521-1528 by Diyarbakir’s 2nd Governor Husrev Pasha. It was first built as a madrasah, later when its prayer room section was continuously used as worshipping area, a minaret was added to structure in 1728 and the structure was turned into a mosque.
Ali Pasha Mosque
Ali Pasha Mosque is known to be built between the years of 1534-1537 by Governor Hadim Ali Pasha. It is known as a work of Architect Sinan. The mosque was built in the form of an Islamic-Ottoman social complex with its madrasah, invocation place, bath, and mosque that belongs to shafiis.
Iskender Pasha Mosque
It was built between the years of 1551-1554 by Diyarbakir’s 12th Ottoman Governor Iskender Pasha. In some compositions it is written as a work of Architect Sinan. Last congregation place is rather exterior swelled and five eyed compared to one dome, square plan styled structure.
Behram Pasha Mosque
It was built between the years of 1564-1572 by Diyarbakir’s 13th Ottoman Governor Behram Pasha. The structure is known as a work of Architect Sinan. Walls of the mosque are decorated with XVI. Century Iznik potteries from bottom to a certain height.
Melik Ahmet Pasha Mosque
Mosque was built in between the years of 1587-1591 by Diyarbakir’s 60th Governor Melik Ahmet Pasha. It is known as a work of Architect Sinan. Its minaret attracts attention with stone adornment on the pedestal side and its Minaret has two ladders until half, and after half its rejoined and continued as a single ladder.
Nasuh Pasha Mosque
It was built between the years of 1606-1611 by the time’s Diyarbakir Governor Nasuh Pasha. Inside of the mosque lacks adornments and it has a simple look.
Kurt İsmail Pasha Mosque
It was built between the years of 1869-1875 by Diyarbakir’s 221st Governor Kurt Ismail Pasha. Kurt Ismail Pasha, which is the first structure to be built outside walls, was designed very differently apart from other mosques within walls. It resembles mausoleum rather than a mosque considering its plan.
We come across distinguished examples of madrasah architecture in Dıyarbakir, the city that had been cradle to various civilizations following one another. Aside from religious sciences such as interpretation, Hadith, Fiqh, and Tafseer, positive sciences such as literature, philosophy, logic, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and astronomies were taught here as well. Mental and transplantation sciences were taught at madrasahs and scientific arguments were carried out among scientists.
Structure that is the first and oldest mosques of Anatolia is popularly known as Sincariye Madrasah.
Accepted as Anatolia’s first university, it is understood from the madrasah’s 1194 dated tablet that it is a fiqh madrasah for 4 Sunni sects.
Ali Pasha Madrasah:
The madrasah, which was built between the years of 1534-1537 by the era’s governor Hadim Ali Pasha, was built according to a rectangular plan scheme.
Churches In Diyarbakir
Diyarbakir, which has been a cradle to many civilizations since the primary eras of the history, has not departed from religious tolerance for centuries and has kept its ethnic and religious mosaics. For this reason, Muslims, Christians, Armenians, Jews, and various sects have lived altogether in Diyarbakir throughout history. For this reason many churches were built in Diyarbakir and some of these were able to survive until today.
Armenian Catholic Church
The church is located in the southeastern zone of Ghazi Street. The church is formed of narthex, naos, apsit, and belfry parts.
St. Giragos Armenian Church
According to deed recordings it is a church used by Catholic Armenians. Name of this church was first mentioned in Polish Sımeon’s itinerary between the dates of 1610-1615.
Saint George Church
The church which is thought to belong to 2.A.C. century due to architectural style and material used in structure, has been transformed into a bath by adding a dome part to west side during Artuklular era.
Virgin Mary Assyrian Ancient Church
This church belonging to Orthodox Assyrians in Diyarbakir has come up to date from IV. Century and is still active.
Mar Pethion Keldani Church
The church, dating back to 17th Century, is still used by Keldanis belonging to Catholic sect even today.
St. Sarkis Church
Located in Alipasa district, St. Sarkis church’s property is registered in the name of Armenian Gregorian Congregation Foundation and belongs to Catholic Armenians.
The church which is located close to Mardin Door belongs to Protestant congregation foundation.
Belonging to Old Bronze, Assyrian, Urartu, and Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Artuklu, Seljuk, Akkoyunlus, and Ottoman eras from Neolithic Era, the museum, in which artifacts acquired through purchases and confiscations are exhibited chronologically and typologically.
Cahit Sıtkı Tarancı Museum:
The house, which Cahit Sitki Taranci was born in, is a beautiful example of Diyarbakir houses’ that have kept their features in most unique way. It was organized as a museum in 1973 by Culture Ministry. Private belongings, letters, poems, and books including ethnographic works of the poet are displayed in the museum.
Ziya Gökalp Museum:
This house, which Ziya Gokalp was born in, has been transformed into museum in 1956. Being one of the civilian architecture examples, the structure is dated back to 1806. Private belongings, photographs, books in his library including topical ethnographic works are exhibited in the museum.
Ahmet Arif Literature Museum Library:
120-year-old mansion, dedicated to one of Diyarbakir’s famous poets, Ahmet Arif, has come into service as Ahmet Arif Literature Museum Library. Neighbor to Cahit Sitki Taranci Museum House, the museum, is one of the most uniquely kept and beautiful examples of Dıyarbakir houses. Numerous books of history, literature, and many others are waiting for their readers at the library.
Formed of two sections as seraglio and the portion reserved for men, Diyarbakir Houses were built as closed properties. The houses, in which basalt stone is dominated as decoration, stand out with white colored adornments known as ‘cist’ or ‘kehal’. There are many houses belonging especially to famous figures. As the most beautiful examples of Diyarbakir houses, Cemil Pasha Mansion, Iskender Pasha Mansion, Cahit Sitki Taranci House, Ziya Gokalp House, Dengbej House, Esma Ocak House can be named.
Since its located on important roads and is a rich trade city, accommodation purposed structures such as khans and caravanserais are often encountered in Diyarbakir. Dressings on the stones are not much tainted because they were made of basalt stones that come out from volcanic Karacadag and they have survived until today without much damage. Main khans in Diyarbakir are: Deliller Khan, Hasan Pasha Khan, Suluklu Khan, Cifte Khan, and New Khan.
Diyarbakir, which has hosted many civilizations from antic eras until today, has been located on intersections of important trade roads. Functionality is at the forefront in Diyarbakir bridges. Ten Eyed Bridge is among the most important bridges. Located on Tigris River, Ten Eyed Bridge is formed of ten arch eyes. Historical Malabadi Bridge, which is located in Silvan County, is an exact architectural wonder with large opening arches and accommodation rooms located at the sides. Apart from that, Haburman Bridge (Cermik), Kara Bridge, Sancak Bridge, Ambar Stream Bridge, Halilviran Bridge, Devegecidi Bridge Cungus Bridge, Kemhuk Bridge (Silvan) are some of the important bridges.
Local Folklore Features
Diyarbakir, with its thousands years of history, historical tissue, literature, beliefs, and lifestyles is a folks treasure. Folks peculiar to the region are pretty colorful. Diyarbakir folks dances, which are danced to with shawm and drum, are concerned with region’s love, misery, and sometimes tribe’s social positions. Some of the folks dances are: Delilo, Halay, Esmer, Cacan, Tekayak, Ciftayak, and Cepik. Those folk’s dances have their own unique characteristics and figures and moves.
There are various food cultures that the city with thousand years of history has acquired from numerous civilizations. Main ingredients of Diyarbakir’s rich kitchen are lamb meat, topical spices (sumac, coriander, and pepper vs.), rice, giblets, butter, and bulghur. Dıyarbakir cuisines consist of heavy meals. Apart from lahmacun and kadayif, Diyarbakir is also known for its row cheese. The most famous dishes are; stuffed rib, sac pan, meftune and liver kebab. For centuries, watermelon has been reconciled with Dıyarbakir’s Watermelon, which grows in the city with its unique largeness.
Traditional handicrafts include jewellery, sericulture, and coppersmith. ‘Mat bracelet, ‘coriander neckband’ ‘silver inlaid patten’ and ‘drawers, those handicrafts that still maintain their importance today are among Diyarbakir’s important handicrafts. In the city, hand weaving and carpet, rugs are also produced.