Hasankeyf History and Story

hasankeyf history and story
Photo: wikipedia

Hasankeyf is a historical district that is connected to Batman, separated by both sides of the Tigris. The history of the district goes back to 12.000 years ago. Natural protection area was declared in 1981.

Effects of its development

Hasankeyf developed commercially and economically, as it was located on the Tigris River, which curved from north to south and a significant part of the trade was carried out by the river in those days.


Due to the houses carved into the rocks, the city mentioned with the names Kifos and Cepha / Ciphas derived from the word Suryânice Kifo (rock) is called Arabic and “Hısnı Keyfa”, which means “City of Caves” or “City of Rocks”. The name “Hısn-ı keyfa” became Hısnıkeyf in the time of the Ottomans and Hasankeyf among the people.


Although it is not known exactly when Hasankeyf was founded, its history goes back to ancient times. In the studies carried out in Hasankeyf mound, archaeological finds from 3.500 to 12.000 years ago have been found. The settlement was strategically important because it was established on the road from Upper Mesopotamia to Anatolia and on the banks of the Tigris river. It changed hands between the Byzantines and the Sassanids as a border settlement in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. Roman Emperor II, who conquered Diyarbakır and its surroundings. Constantius built two border castles to protect the area from Sassanids. Built in 363 AD, the castle remained under Roman and Byzantine rule for a long time. After Christianity began to spread in the region from the 4th century, the settlement became the center of the Syriac diocese. Kadıköy The Council was given the title of Cardinal to the bishopric in Hasankeyf in 451 AD. Hasankeyf was captured by the Islamic army in 640, during the Caliph Omar. The settlement, which was ruled by the Umayyads, Abbasids, Hamdanis and Marwanians, was captured by the Artukids in 1102. Hasankeyf, the capital of the Artuklu Principality between 1102-1232, experienced its brightest period during these dates. It was reconstructed from the castle town and became a city after it was reconstructed during the Artukids period. The settlement, which was seized by the Ayyubis in 1232, was captured and destroyed by 1260 Mongols. The Ayyubid judge of Hasankeyf was able to continue his sovereignty in the city by reporting his allegiance to Hülagü. Although Hasankeyf remained an important city in the 14th century, it did not have its former bright days. The city, which was seized by Uzun Hasan in 1462, joined the territory of Akkoyunlu. With the weakening of Akkoyunlular, the management of Eyyubi orders started again in Hasankeyf in 1482. After a while, the settlement, which was under the control of Safavids, joined the Ottoman lands in 1515. Hasankeyf, which was managed by Ayyubi rulers under the Ottoman rule until 1524, started to be managed by Ottoman administrators from this date. The city lost its importance as a result of the pause in trade as a result of the change in the main trade routes and the Ottoman-Iran wars since the 17th century. The settlement, which was connected to Mardin Midyat after 1867, was connected to the district of Gerçüş in 1926. When Batman became a province in 1990, the district was connected to this city. When the Ilısu Dam was decided to be built, a new settlement was established at a distance of 3 km because the historical settlement would be under water. Meanwhile, in the historical settlement, Artuklu Bath, Sultan Süleyman Koç Mosque, Imam Abdullah Zaviye, Er-Rızık Mosque and minaret, Zeynel Abidin Mausoleum, Eyyubi (Girls) Mosque and the middle entrance to the castle, and the Tigris River in historical buildings such as tombs and lodges. Moved to the Cultural Park on the coast. With the impoundment of Ilısu Dam in November 2019, it started to be submerged since February 2020.


In 1526, there were 1301 households in Hasankeyf, of which 787 were Christians, 494 were Muslims, and 20 were Jews. In the second half of the 16th century, the settlement grew even more and the number of households increased to 1006, of which 694 belonged to Christians and 1700 belonged to Muslims. The population of 1935 in 1425 increased to 1990 according to the 4399 census. According to the census of 1975, the population of Hasankeyf, which has a population of 13.823, has decreased to 2000 in 7493 due to the continuous immigration.

Year Total City Dirt
1990 11.690 4.399 7.291
2000 7.493 3.669 3.824
2007 7.207 3.271 3.936
2008 7.412 3.251 4.161
2009 6.935 3.010 3.925
2010 6.796 2.951 3.845
2011 6.637 2.921 3.716
2012 6.702 3.129 3.573
2013 6.748 3.190 3.558
2014 6.509 3.143 3.366
2015 6.374 3.118 3.256
2016 6.370 3.163 3.207


Hasankeyf, one of the important tourism centers with its historical and natural beauties, is visited by local and foreign tourists. Imam Abdullah Mausoleum, built in the rocky hills and deep canyons, due to its calcareous structure, has thousands of nature and people, and is located on the hill on the left at the entrance to the Hasankeyf fortress Bridge from the Roman era, and lost its life during the siege of the Hasankeyf of the Islamic armies. Hasankeyf Dicle Bridge, which is thought to have been built by the Artukids and whose important part has been destroyed until today, Zeynel Bey Tomb built by Akkoyunlu ruler Uzun Hasan for his son who died in Otlukbeli War, Ulu Mosque, which was built by Akkoyunlular and took its final form during the Ayyubid period, The Small Palace built, the Great Palace, which has survived to the present day and is dated to the Akkoyunlu period, the Masjid-i Ali Mosque built in the 1328th century, the Rızık Mosque built during the Ayyubid period, the Süleyman Mosque, Koç Mosque, Kız Mosque and Küçük Mosque, the Castle Gate from the Ayyubids, Named as Yolgeçen Han ” its natural cave forms important historical monuments of the settlement.

Ilısu Dam

Hasankeyf faces the danger of being flooded and losing all its cultural treasure due to the Ilısu Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant dam lake, which is planned to be built on the Tigris. For this reason, in Hasankeyf, which will be under the waters of the Ilisu dam, works are carried out on the transportation of rescue excavations and historical artifacts.


Hasankeyf's climate is influenced by the Tigris River flowing through the city.


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