Friday, May 20, 2011

Housed all the Civilizations

Should Hasankeyf, Turkey be inundated by a dam project?

It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on Earth, a town on the banks of the Tigris that dates back to the bronze age. (3,300-1,200 BC)

"Over the years it has survived the rise and fall of empires, drought, war and the harsh vicissitudes of nature.

But Hasankeyf is facing the prospect of being flooded out of existence as Turkish authorities seek to speed up a dam project in south-east Anatolia that will raise the level of the river by 60 metres (200ft).

Hasankeyf has housed all the civilizations of Mesopotamia: Romans, Byzantines, Assyrians, Arabs, Mongols and Ottomans; they have all passed through here and left their marks on the town.

The remains of a medieval bridge, one of the largest of its era, still withstand the currents of the Tigris." (See the 10 second video of the 2,000 year old bridge over the Tigris River.)

Hasankeyf is in the south eastern area of Turkey below Diyarbakir.

And from the Smithsonian magazine:

"The ancient city of Hasankeyf, built on and around the banks of the river in southeastern Turkey, may be one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world, spanning some 10,000 years. Hasankeyf and its surrounding limestone cliffs are home to thousands of human-made caves, 300 medieval monuments and a unique canyon ecosystem—all combining to create a beguiling open-air museum."

(What an interesting slice of history and travel perspective with complex implications.)