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Siirt is located in Turkey
Coordinates: 37°55′30″N 41°56′45″ECoordinates: 37°55′30″N 41°56′45″E
Mayor Musa ÇOLAK (AKP)
District 284 km2 (110 sq mi)
Elevation 895 m (2,936 ft)
District Density 470/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Siirt (Arabic: سِعِرْد Siʿred, Armenian: Սղերդ Sġerd, Kurdish: Sêrt, Syriac: ܣܥܪܬ siʿreth, Ottoman Turkish: سعرد) is a city in southeastern Turkey and the seat of Siirt Province. The population of the city according to the 2009 census was 129,188.
Previously known as Saird, in pre-Islamic times Siirt was an episcopacy of the Byzantine Church. An illuminated manuscript known as the Syriac Bible of Paris may have originated from the Bishop of Siirt's library, Siirt's Christians would have worshipped in Syriac, a liturgical language related to Arabic still in use by the Chaldean Rite, other Eastern Christians in India, and the Nestorians along the Silk Road as far as China. The Chronicle of Seert was preserved in the city; it describes the ecclesiastical history of the Persian realm through the middle of the seventh century. From 1858 to 1915 the city was the seat of a bishop of the Chaldean Catholic Church. Most of the city's Chaldeans including their archbishop were killed during the massacres of 1915.
The city's landmark is the Great Mosque (Ulu Cami) built in 1129 by the Great Seljuk Sultan Mahmut II who belonged to the main branch of the dynasty that ruled from Baghdad after this Turkish Empire had split into several branches. The mosque was restored in 1965.
Siirt is famous in Turkey for its hand-made blankets (Siirt battaniyesi). Many visitors find themselves departing with one offered as a present. The traditional kilims produced by the Jirikan clan (aşiret) and revived since 1996 through joint efforts involving official instances and citizens are also much prized. Another product of interest is the Bıttım soaps proper to the region. Siirt also has an extremely rich culinary and spa culture. Depending district centers of Aydınlar (former Assyrian-rooted name was Tillo) with its historical medrese is renowned as a religious center and Pervari for its honey based on the particularly rich flora.
Siirt was Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's constituency from 2003 to 2007. His wife, Mrs. Emine Erdoğan, is from Siirt and the PM had been elected to the Turkish Grand National Assembly in a by-election held in Siirt in 2003.
Although Siirt remains one of the poorer cities in Turkey, some neighborhoods have fine and modern housing including new shops, banks and hotels.