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 title of Cardinal was given to the bishopric in Hasankeyf in 451 AD by the Council. Hasankeyf was captured by the Islamic army in 640 during the Caliph Omar. The settlement, which remained under the rule of Umayyads, Abbasids, Hamdanids and Marwanids, was captured by the Artukids in 1102. Hasankeyf, which served as the capital of the Artuklu Principality between 1102-1232, lived its brightest period in these dates. It was reconstructed during the Artuqid period and became a city by getting rid of the castle town feature. The settlement, which was seized by the Ayyubils in 1232, was captured by the Mongols in 1260 and destroyed. Hasankeyf's Eyyubi judge declared his loyalty to Hülagü and continued his sovereignty in the city. Although Hasankeyf remained an important city in the 14th century, it could not regain its former bright days. The city, which was captured by Uzun Hasan in 1462, joined the Akkoyunlu lands. With the weakening of the Akkoyunlu State, the administration of the Ayyubi orders resumed in Hasankeyf in 1482. After a while, the settlement, which came under the control of the Safavids, joined the Ottoman lands in 1515. Hasankeyf, which was ruled by the Ayyubid rulers of the Ottoman administration until 1524, started to be ruled by the Ottoman administrators from this date. The city lost its importance as a result of the change in the main trade routes from the 17th century and the pause in trade as a result of the Ottoman-Iran wars. The settlement, which was connected to Mardin Midyat after 1867, was connected to the town of Gerçüş in 1926. When Batman became a province in 1990, the district was attached to this city. When it was decided to build the Ilisu Dam, a new settlement was established 3 km away, as the historical settlement will be under water. In the meantime, large-scale structures such as Artuklu Bath, Sultan Süleyman Koç Mosque, Imam Abdullah Zaviye, Er-Rızık Mosque and minaret, Zeynel Abidin Tomb, Eyyubi (Girls) Mosque and the middle gate of the castle, as well as historical buildings such as the tomb and zaviye in the historical settlement, the Tigris River moved to the Cultural Park established on the coast. With the impoundment of the Ilısu Dam in November 2019, it started to be flooded 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.

📩 04/01/2023 09:12

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