Hasankeyf to preserve its historical heritage

Hasankeyf to preserve its historical heritage

BATMAN - Anatolia News Agency
Hasankeyf to preserve its historical heritage

Even though some parts of theHasankeyf area will be damaged, there will be many parts that will survive, say experts. The area will also have a museum, which will include cultural artifacts from the region.

Batman’s Hasankeyf attracts 500,000 visitors from all around the world each year. Yet part of Hasankeyf’s historical area will be flooded once the Ilısu Dam project starts.

Measures to resettle the population of Hasankeyf are continuing in preparation for the day when the historical district of Batman is submerged by the waters of the Ilısu Dam, which is part of the far-reaching Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP).

Next year the water will begin to flow on the dam. The construction of the dam is still ongoing. When it is completed, a significant part of Batman will be under water. Speaking to Anatolia news agency, Hasankeyf district governor Ceyhun Dilşad Taşkın said Hasankeyf’s El-Rızk Mosque and Zeynel Bey Tomb contain remains from 7000 B.C.

Noting that just a part of the district will be under water, Taşkın said other parts of Hasankeyf would stay safe. Some of the historical buildings such as the Zeynel Tomb would be transported, he said, adding, “The tower is at risk of collapsing and on a decision of Culture and Tourism Ministry in August 2012 it was closed. Since its closing, a total of 88,000 people have visited the tower.”

After the news the dam’s construction was confirmed, the number of visitors increased, said Taşkın. Promising that tourism would not be adversely affected by the dam, Taşkın said, “The project will be successful and it will not affect the area negatively.”

Noting that they had built the new district on the upper part of the area, Taşkın said there would be tourism schools and hotels in this area. Hospitals and a culture park will also be a part of the area.

The dam will also allow people to enjoy water sports during the summer.

The first phase of the project consists of 58 apartments with nine different house models.

Area to become larger

Hasankeyf’s current size is 50.82 hectares but the new area will be 284.86 hectares.

There will be more green areas. The new project promises new buildings, hospitals and shopping malls and much more. There will also be a museum at Hasankeyf, which will include cultural artifacts from the region.

The GAP project was first outlined 59 years ago. In addition to the modern-day town, the ancient city of Hasankeyf will also be left underwater by the planned dam.

Hasankeyf Culture Center President Ahmet Akdeniz said the Ilısu Dam Project was the “crazy project” of the Southeast. “The dam will spread to Batman, Diyarbakır, Şırnak, Siirt and Mardin. There will be an exclusive sports center. In addition, it will be possible to do fishing and farming in the area.” Currently lots of people visit the area and after building of the dam the visitor figure would not decrease, according to Akdeniz.

Earlier, the area had been shortlisted for the Europe Nostra program.

The statement of the program said: “If the construction of the Ilısu hydroelectric dam continues as foreseen, 80 percent of Hasankeyf’s historic monuments will be flooded within the next decade. If it were to be spared from inundation, Hasankeyf has the potential to provide a sustainable anchor for local and regional economic development, providing visitors and scholars with a contextualized record of shared human history spanning the continents of Europe and Asia.