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Amed / Amid
A view of Diyarbakır's city center
Diyarbakır is located in Turkey
Location of Diyarbakır within Turkey.
Coordinates: 37.91°N 40.24°E
Region Southeastern Anatolia
Mayor Osman Baydemir (Peace and Democracy Party)
Elevation 675 m (2,215 ft)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 21x xx
Area code(s) (0090)+ 412
Licence plate 21
Diyarbakır (Ottoman Turkish دیاربکر, Diyâr-ı Bekr; Armenian: Դիարբեքիր, Diarbeqir; Kurdish ئامهد, Amed; anc. Amida; Syriac: ܐܡܝܕ, Amid ) is one of the largest cities in southeastern Turkey. Situated on the banks of the River Tigris, it is the administrative capital of the Diyarbakır Province and with a population of about 843,460 it is the second largest city in Turkey's South-eastern Anatolia region, after Gaziantep.
The name of the city is inscribed as Amid on the sheath of a sword from the Assyrian period, and the same name was used in other contemporary Syriac and Arabic works. The Romans and Byzantines called the city Amida. Among the Artukid and Akkoyunlu it was known as "Black Amid" (Kara Amid) for the dark color of its walls, while in the Zafername, or eulogies in praise of military victories, it is called "Black Fortress" (Kara Kale). In the Book of Dede Korkut and some other Turkish works it appears as Kara Hamid.
Following the Arab conquests in the seventh century, the Arab Bakr tribe occupied this region, which became known as became known as the Diyar Bakr ("landholdings of the Bakr tribe", in Persian: Diyar-ı Bekir). In 1937, Atatürk visited Diyarbekir and, after expressing uncertainty on the true etymology of the city, ordered that it be renamed "Diyarbakır," which means land of copper in Turkish.
The area around Diyarbakır has been inhabited by humans from the stone age with tools from that period having been discovered in the nearby Hilar cave complex. The pre-pottery neolothic B settlement of Çayönü dates to over 10,000 years ago and its excavated remains are on display at the Diyarbakır Museum. Another important site is Girikihaciyan Tumulus in Egil.
The first major civilization to establish themselves in what is now Diyarbakır were the Hurrian kingdom of the Mitanni who made it their military and trade capital. The city was then ruled by a succession of nearly every polity that controlled Upper Mesopotamia such as the Assyrians, Urartu, Medes, Seleucids and Parthians. The Roman Empire gained control of the city in 66 BC by when it was named "Amida".
In 359, Shapur II of Persia captured Amida after a siege of 73 days which is vividly described by the Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus .
The Middle Ages
See also: Diyar Bakr
Great Mosque of Diyarbakır
In 639, the Ummayads arrived and introduced the religion of Islam. They were followed by the Marwanids in the 10th century. After the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, the city came under the rule of the Mardin branch of Oghuz Turks and then the Anatolian beylik of Artuqids . The whole area was then disputed between the Ilkhanate and Ayyubid dynasties for a century, after which it was taken over by the competing Turkic federations of the Kara Koyunlu (the Black Sheep) first and then the Ak Koyunlu (the White Sheep). It was also ruled by Sultanate of Rûm between 1241 and 1259.
See also: Diyarbekir Eyalet
The city was brought under the Ottoman Empire by the campaigns of Bıyıklı Mehmet Paşa under the rule of Sultan Selim I. The Ottoman eyalet of Diyarbakır corresponded to Turkey's southeastern provinces today, a rectangular area between the Lake Urmia to Palu and from the southern shores of Lake Van to Cizre and the beginnings of the Syrian desert, although its borders saw some changes over time. The city was an important military base for controlling this region and at the same time a thriving city noted for its craftsmen, producing glass and metalwork. For example the doors of Mevlana's tomb in Konya were made in Diyarbakır, as were the gold and silver decorated doors of the tomb of Imam-i Azam in Baghdad.
In 1895, Armenians and Assyrians were subject to massacres in Diyarbakir. The city had been also a site for ethnic cleansing of Armenians, nearly 150,000 were deported from the city.
Republic of Turkey
A typical example of Diyarbakır's historic architectural style, with masonry tiles built of the city's indigenous type of dark basalt stone.
Diyarbakır's city walls, built by Constantius II and extended by Valentinian I between 367 and 375, stretch almost unbroken for about 6 kilometres.
Dört Ayakli Minare Mosque with its famous four legged minaret
Dicle University campus in Diyarbakır.
In the reorganization of the provinces, Diyarbakır was made administrative capital of Diyarbakır Province. During the 1980s and 1990s at the peak of the PKK insurgency, the population of the city grew dramatically as villagers from remote areas where fighting was serious left or were forced to leave for the relative security of the city. After the cessation of hostilities between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Turkish army, a large degree of normality returned to the city, with the Turkish government declaring an end to the 15-year period of emergency rule on 30 November 2002. Diyarbakır grew from 30,000 in the 1930s to 65,000 by 1956, to 140,000 by 1970, to 400,000 by 1990, and eventually swelled to about 1.5 million by 1997.
The 41-year-old American-Turkish Pirinçlik Air Force Base near Diyarbakır, known as NATO's frontier post for monitoring the former Soviet Union and the Middle East, closed on 30 September 1997. This closure was the result of the general drawdown of US bases in Europe and the improvement in space surveillance technology. The base housed sensitive electronic intelligence-gathering systems that monitored the Middle East, the Caucasus and Russia.
According to a November 2006 survey by the Sur Municipality, one of Diyarbakır's metropolitan municipalities, 72% of the inhabitants of the municipality use Kurdish most often in their daily speech, followed by Turkish, and 69% are illiterate in their most widely used vernacular.
Some jewelry making and other craftwork continues today although the fame of the Diyarbakır's craftsmen has long passed. Folk dancing to the drum and zurna (pipe) are a part of weddings and celebrations in the area.
Diyarbakır is known for rich dishes of lamb which use spices such as black pepper, sumac and coriander; rice, bulgur and butter. The most famous specialty dish from Diyarbakır is Meftune which is made up of lamb meat and vegetable laced with garlic and sumac. Another known dish is Kaburga Dolması which is a baked lamb's ribs stuffed with rice and many spices.Diyarbakır is also famous for its watermelons which are exported internationally; one of the largest events in the city is the annually held Watermelon Festival.
Diyarbakır is surrounded by an almost intact, dramatic set of high walls of black basalt forming a 5.5 km (3.4 mi) circle around the old city. There are four gates into the old city and 82 watch-towers on the walls, which were built in antiquity, restored and extended by the Roman emperor Constantius in 349. In addition, the walls of Diyarbakir in the world after the Great Wall of China is the second largest city walls.
Diyarbakır boasts numerous medieval mosques and madrassahs including:
Great Mosque of Diyarbakır built by the Seljuk Turkish Sultan Malik Shah in the 11th century. The mosque, one of the oldest in Turkey, is constructed in alternating bands of black basalt and white limestone (The same patterning is used in the 16th century Deliler Han Madrassah, which is now a hotel). The adjoining Mesudiye Medresesi was built at the same time as was another prayer-school in the city, Zinciriye Medresesi.
Beharampaşa Camii an Ottoman mosque built in 1572 by the governor of Diyarbakır, Behram Pasha, noted for the well-constructed arches at the entrance.
Dört Ayaklı Minare (the four-footed minaret) built by Kasim Khan of the Ak Koyunlu. It is said that one who passes seven times between the four columns will have his wishes granted.
Fatihpaşa Camii built in 1520 by Diyarbakır's first Ottoman governor, Bıyıklı Mehmet Paşa ("the moustachioed Mehmet pasha"). The city's earliest Ottoman building, it is decorated with fine tilework.
Hazreti Süleyman Camii 11551169 Süleyman son of Halid Bin Velid, who died capturing the city from the Arabs, is buried here along with his companions.
Hüsrevpaşa Camii the mosque of the second Ottoman governor, 15121528. Originally the building was intended to be a school (medrese)
İskender Paşa Camii a mosque of an Ottoman governor, an attractive building in black and white stone, built in 1551.
Melek Ahmet Camii a 16th century mosque noted for its tiled prayer-niche and for the double stairway up the minaret.
Nebii Camii an Ak Koyunlu mosque, a single-domed stone construction from the 16th century. Nebi Camii means "the mosque of the prophet" and is so-named because of the number of inscriptions in honour of the prophet on its minaret.
Safa Camii built in 1532 by the Ak Koyunlu Turkmen tribe.
Famous churches include:
St. Giragos Armenian Church A disused and restored Armenian Orthodox church.
The Syriac Orthodox Church of Our Lady (Syriac: ܐ ܕܝܠܕܬ ܐܠܗܐ `Idto d-Yoldat Aloho, Turkish: Meryemana kilisesi), was first constructed as a pagan temple in the 1st century BCE. The current construction dates back to the 3rd century, has been restored many times, and is still in use as a place of worship today. There are a number of other churches in the city.
The Archaeological Museum contains artifacts from the neolithic period, through the Early Bronze Age, Assyrian, Urartu, Roman, Byzantine, Artuqids, Seljuk Turk, Aq Qoyunlu, and Ottoman Empire periods.
Cahit Sıtkı Tarancı Museum the home of the late poet and a classic example of a traditional Diyarbakır home.
The birthplace of poet Ziya Gökalp preserved as a museum to his life and works.
The Dicle Bridge, an 11th century bridge with ten arches