As it says in the latest edition of Lonely Planet’s guide to the Middle East, when referring to Diyarbakir’s bad press over the past twenty years or so:
“Tension, violence? What tension, what violence?”
After being seen as the headquarters of Kurdish resistance, and after decades of loss of income, Diyarbakir is desperate to rebrand itself – and it is well worth a visit.
The old city surrounded by black basalt walls has mosques, churches, hans and houses with some of them containing evidence of the earlier Roman occupation of the site.
This relief shown above is probably Roman but has been surrounded by a later Arab inscription the edges of which you can just see in our photograph.
Tourist Information is located in one of the towers in the walls and will give you a free map of the city plus lots of brochures on local places of interest.
There is an amazingly tall minaret on legs which seems to have lost its mosque as it stands in the middle of a narrow street on the edge of the old city. The ‘legs’ are around 8 feet tall and the minaret they support is very tall indeed.
And in the market a yoghurt seller who still makes and sells his yoghurt in traditional tinned copper pots.
Everyone is pleased to see foreigners here, and it is a good gateway to Mardin and its environs.
Sun Express do cheap flights several times each week from Antalya to Diyarbakir, a one and a half hour journey.
Diyarbakir’s airport is almost in the city itself and a cheap 15TL taxi ride from downtown.
In fact a great way to see the whole area would be to fly to and from Diyarbakir and rent a car to visit other places while you are there.
We’ll show you more of Diyarbakir in our next episode.