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Diyarbakir





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Diyarbakir

Diyarbakir, Turkey.
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Diyarbakir, Turkey. Photo: Luca Cerini.

Diyarbakir, Turkey.
Diyarbakir, Turkey.

Diyarbakir, Turkey.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Photo: rebai.

Diyarbakir, Turkey.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Photo: birasuegi.

Diyarbakir, Turkey.
Countryside of Diyarbakir, Turkey.

City in Turkey with 550,000 inhabitants (2004 estimate), on the Tigris river (Dicle) 650 metres above sea level. It is the capital of Diyarbakir Province with 1.4 million inhabitants (2004 estimate).
Diyarbakir is the commercial and manufacturing centre of a wide region. The city trades in livestock, wine and wool, and it has flour and textile mills. Diyarbakir is also famous for its copper, gold and silver products. The agricultural products of the region include cereals, cotton, tobacco and fruits, especially watermelons. There are also mineral deposits of copper, coal and petroleum.
Diyarbakir is connected by road and railway with Elazig 200 km northwest and Malatya 400 km west, and by road alone with Mardin 100 km south and Van 300 km east. Ankara lies 1000 km west. Diyarbakir has an airport.
Diyarbakir is distinguished by its huge city walls of black basalt. They are 6 km long, with 4 main gateways and several smaller ones, as well as 72 defensive towers. Most of the existing walls were constructed or renovated in the 11th century. The old city is an attractive place of houses, mosques and churches. The modern town, spreading west, has typical modern city blocks.
The population of Diyarbakir is predominantly Kurdish. Most inhabitants are Sunni Muslims, but there is also a small group of Syrian Orthodox Christians.
The name means "District of the Bakr people." The Bakr people were Arabs, arriving here with the Muslim conquest in the 7th century.

History
The site of Diyarbakir has been settled for at least 5,000 years.
115 CE: Colonized by Romans and known as Amida.
297: The first city walls are constructed.
349: Greater city walls are constructed by the command of the Roman emperor, Constantius 2.
359: Is conquered by the Persians after a long siege.
639: Is conqured by Muslim Arabs.
1516: Comes under Ottoman control. It becomes the capital of a large province, and prospers. Its importance is enhanced as the base of armies protecting the empire against Persia.
1925: A Kurdish rebellion is crushed by Turkish troops. Between 40,000 and 250,000 Kurds of the region are killed in reprisals in the following years.
1966: Diyarbakir University is founded, but first gains status as an independent university in 1973.




By Tore Kjeilen