Amida

26 April 2010

The southern walls of Diyarbakır

Diyarbakır is best known as the main city of the Kurds in eastern Turkey. Yet, it might be famous as well for another reason: its past. The city, once called Amida, is already mentioned in very ancient Assyrian texts, which is logical, because it controls an important crossing of the Tigris. Much later, the city was contested between the Romans and the Sasanian Persians; Ammianus Marcellinus offers an eyewitness account of a siege.

To be honest, I have unpleasant memories of my visit. I was guiding a group and I knew that on the morning of our arrival, a bomb had exploded that had killed six soldiers; as a consequence, the atmosphere was quite unfriendly, and it did not really help that there’s a military airport next to the town. The helicopters in the air did much to make us feel unsafe, although, of course, we had little to be afraid of. Still, I thought it better not to tell my company about the killing.

Anyhow, the black walls of this Kurdish city are really impressive; I have never seen something like that. If you have a chance, try to visit it. And if you can’t, my photos are now available here.


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