Common plan needed for Diyarbakır’s walls, officials say at symposium

Common plan needed for Diyarbakır’s walls, officials say at symposium

DİYARBAKIR - Anatolia News Agency
Common plan needed for Diyarbakır’s walls, officials say at symposium

AA photo.

It is essential that all relevant parties work together to protect the walls of Diyarbakır given their iconic status, which sets the southeastern city apart from other places in the world, according to participants at a recent symposium on the subject.

“Diyarbakır cannot be imagined without its walls, just as New York cannot be imagined without the Statue of Liberty, Paris without the Eiffel Tower and Rome without the Coliseum,” said Diyarbakır Gov. Mustafa Toprak at the conference at the city’s Dicle University Congress Center on April 19 and 20.

“All organizations and institutions should find a common way [to protect these walls]. This is not a matter of budget and resources,” said Professor Metin Sözen, president of the foundation for Promotion and the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage (ÇEKÜL). “[We shouldn’t] preserve these walls just because they are [a part of] a cultural and historical heritage.” Sözen said, adding that people should be made more conscious of cultural artifacts and that the topic of the symposium was not just the city, but the cultural heritage that symbolizes the history of humanity, architecture and mind.

Diyarbakır’s are among the longest of the world’s medieval fortifications.

A city is set apart from other cities by its cultural heritage, natural beauty and architecture, Toprak said. 

“These values become the symbols of that city over time. Sometimes these symbols are known better than the city itself just like the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Coliseum in Rome. The walls of Diyarbakır are more than these structures in terms of their architecture,” the governor said.

It is not known exactly when and who built the walls of Diyarbakır, but they show the effects of every civilization that has existed in the city throughout its history, Toprak said.

‘Migration negatively affects walls’

The governor, however, said the difficulties of managing migration in the area had negatively affected the walls. “A society that cannot manage migrations should bear its consequences. Unfortunately, our city walls got its share from this mismanagement and lost their visual quality.”

Projects have been launched to return the walls to their former days of glory and they are beginning to yield results, according to Toprak. “When the projects are done, Diyarbakır will become a museum city.”

As part of the symposium, Dicle University member Associate Professor Evren Daşdağ opened a ceramic exhibition titled “Memory in City Walls.” Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir, Dicle University Rector Ayşegül Jale Saraç and Toprak were among the attendees of the exhibition’s opening ceremony.

Many figures are carved on the city walls, including animals, plants and inscriptions, all of which are featured in ceramic works shown in the exhibition. “I don’t see a plain wall but a fine arts gallery on these walls. I have prepared my exhibition thanks to this magnificence,” Daşdağ said.