The Ancient City Of Hasankeyf
The ancient city of Hasankeyf is one of the world’s most amazing wonders. The town was settled over 12,000-years ago. It is located in the superbly of Batman, in Turkey. It sits right on the banks of the Tigris River. The area contains 200 different hamlets, and around 2,500 residents are living there. Because the town has been around for so long, some of the families have been there for over 300 years.
The town has stood for over 12 centuries, which makes people believe that there are plenty of important relics in the area. Over the years, over 300 archaeological digs have taken place in the area. Many of the finds date back to the Neolithic age, which proves that the location is significant.
There are plenty of essential areas in the town, including thousands of caves dotted around the cliffs in Hasankeyf. They are entirely manmade, and many have multiple stories and running water. These modern-day homes are based on the Neolithic-era caves that were dug by the original settlers in the area. People didn’t just carve their homes out of stone; they also carved cemeteries, churches, and mosques.
A Thriving Town
The cave-dwellers started to farm the land all around the Tigris. Later, this settlement would be part of an ancient kingdom. The area also became an important trade hub, which was a stop on the famous merchant route, the Silk Road. When this happened, the town began to thrive. Because of this, experts believe that Marco Polo, who famously journeyed along the Silk Road from Europe to China, visited Hasankeyf during his travels.
The Fourth Century
During the fourth century, the Roman Empire built a fortress in the area. They created a military base that housed the legionaries who patrolled the Persian border. An archaeological dig in 2005 revealed that the Romans were a presence, and also a way of life. They discovered an empire-era wall and floor mosaics. They also found the remains of a massive gate and a row of shops. The fact that these structures survived all this time is incredible.
During the 5th century, the city became essential to the Byzantine Empire. It was part of the Islamic world when Arabian forces took over in the mid-600s. Later, the Muslim dynasties ruled the area, and in 1260, the Mongols conquered the town. A little over 300-years later, the Ottomans became the last of the invaders who came to the settlement. Their empire became what we know today as Turkey.
Over the years, plenty of fabulous archaeological finds have been discovered. In 2017, archaeologists found some very unusual remains. They found skeletons, and the bones had black and red lines painted on them. Experts believe that when a person died in Hasankeyf, the settlers would wait for the bodies to decompose so that the bones would be exposed. Then they added the black and red decorations before the bodies were buried. What shocked the experts the most was that this ritual only took place in 30 percent of the graves that were discovered.
Hasankeyf isn’t just an archaeological treasure. Because it is located at the base of the Tigris river, it has environmental importance. The area has a unique microclimate, making it the perfect home for animals and plant life. Many rare bats and birds call the area, home. It is located many miles away from the biggest towns and industrial areas of Turkey. For most of the modern era, wildlife has been allowed to thrive.
Protected For Now
The entire area was officially designated a protected archaeological site in 1980, and a conservation area in 1981. For over 40-years, research has taken place in the town. This is a fantastic site, but if the Turkish government has its way, the whole area will soon be gone. This 11, 000-year-old city is steeped in history, but Turkish authorities want it destroyed. The homes and livelihoods of over 3,000 residents and the land have not changed for thousands of years. Rather than preserving the history, the landmarks, and the houses and wildlife in the area, the Turkish government is more interested in hydroelectricity.
Energy Production Or Destruction
Hydroelectricity is a form of energy that is safe and powerful with no resulting waste. If the Turkish government has it their way, they are going to destroy the whole area to make way for hydroelectricity. The project already started, and the next planned dam would block the Tigris River. The government claims that the new dam will bring jobs and tourism, but for it to be fully operational, Hasankeyf must cease to exist. These plans have caused a stir all over the world because a piece of ancient history will be lost forever.