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City of Diyarbakir.jpg
Top left: Ali Pasha Mosque, Top right: Nebi Mosque, 2nd: Seyrangeha Park, 3rd left: Dört Ayaklı Minare Mosque, 3rd upper right: Deriyê Çiyê, 3rd lower right: On Gözlü Bridge (or Silvan Bridge), over Tigris River, Bottom left: Diyarbakır City Wall, Bottom right: Gazi Köşkü (Veterans Pavilion)
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Location of Diyarbakır within Turkey
Coordinates: 37°55′N40°14′E / 37.91°N 40.24°E / 37.91; 40.24
CountryFlag of Turkey.svg  Turkey
Region Southeastern Anatolia
Province Diyarbakır
   Mayor Cumali Atilla (State-appointed caretaker [1] )
675 m (2,215 ft)
(2018) [2]
   Metropolitan municipality 930,266
Ethnic groups
Kurdish: Majority [2]
Turkish: Majority
Assyrian: Several thousands
Armenian: Hundreds
Time zone UTC+3 (FET)
Postal code
21x xx
Area code(s) 412
Licence plate 21

Diyarbakır (Arabic : ديار بكر, Syriac : ܐܡܝܕܐ, translit.  Amida, Armenian : Dikranagerd, Kurdish : Amed) [3] [4] [5] is one of the largest cities in southeastern Turkey. Situated on the banks of the Tigris River, it is the administrative capital of the Diyarbakır Province. It is the second-largest city in Turkey's Southeastern Anatolia Region, after Gaziantep.

Syriac language dialect of Middle Aramaic

Syriac, also known as Syriac/Syrian Aramaic or Classical Syriac, is a dialect of Middle Aramaic. Having first appeared in the early first century CE in Edessa, classical Syriac became a major literary language throughout the Middle East from the 4th to the 8th centuries, preserved in a large body of Syriac literature. Indeed, Syriac literature comprises roughly 90% of the extant Aramaic literature. Syriac was once spoken across much of the Near East as well as Anatolia and Eastern Arabia.

Armenian language Indo-European language

The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken primarily by Armenians. It is the official language of Armenia. Historically being spoken throughout the Armenian Highlands, today, Armenian is widely spoken throughout the Armenian diaspora. Armenian is written in its own writing system, the Armenian alphabet, introduced in 405 AD by Mesrop Mashtots.

City Large and permanent human settlement

A city is a large human settlement. Cities generally have extensive systems for housing, transportation, sanitation, utilities, land use, and communication. Their density facilitates interaction between people, government organizations and businesses, sometimes benefiting different parties in the process.


Diyarbakır is considered the un-proclaimed capital of so-called Turkish Kurdistan, also known as Bakur, which means 'north' in Kurdish. [3] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] As such, it has been a focal point for conflict between Turkey's government and various Kurdish insurgent groups.

Turkish Kurdistan Wikimedia list article

Turkish Kurdistan or Northern Kurdistan is the portion of Turkey, located in the Eastern Anatolia and Southeastern Anatolia regions, where Kurds form the predominant ethnic group.

Kurdish–Turkish conflict (1978–present) armed conflict between the Republic of Turkey and various Kurdish insurgent groups

The Kurdish–Turkish conflict is an armed conflict between the Republic of Turkey and various Kurdish insurgent groups, which have demanded separation from Turkey to create an independent Kurdistan, or to have autonomy and greater political and cultural rights for Kurds inside the Republic of Turkey. The main rebel group is the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK. Although insurgents have carried out attacks in many regions of Turkey, the insurgency is mainly in southeastern Turkey. The PKK's presence in Iraq's Kurdistan Region, from which it has also launched attacks, has resulted in the Turkish military carrying out frequent ground incursions and air and artillery strikes in the region. The conflict has cost the economy of Turkey an estimated US$300 to 450 billion, mostly military costs. It has also affected tourism in Turkey.

Names and etymology

The name Diyarbakır (Arabic : دیار بکر, Diyaru Bakr, which means the Land of Bakir; Armenian : Տիգրանակերտ, Tigranakert ; [11] Ancient Greek : Άμιδα, Amida ; Ottoman Turkish : دیاربکر, Diyâr-ı Bekr; Syriac : ܐܡܝܕ) is inscribed as Amed on the sheath of a sword from the Assyrian period, and the same name was used in other contemporary Syriac and Arabic works. [12] The Romans and Byzantines called the city Amida . [12] Another medieval use of the term as Amit is found in Empire of Trebizond official documents in 1358. [13] 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). [12] In the Book of Dede Korkut and some other Turkish works it appears as Kara Hamid. [12]

Tigranocerta human settlement

Tigranocerta was the capital of the Armenian Kingdom. It bore the name of Tigranes the Great, who founded the city in the first century BC. The name of the city means "made by Tigran", and was possibly located near present-day Silvan or nearby Arzan, east of Diyarbakır, Turkey. It was one of four cities in historic Armenia named Tigranakert. The others were located in Nakhichevan, Artsakh and Utik.

Amida (Mesopotamia) human settlement

Amida was an ancient city in Mesopotamia located where modern Diyarbakır, Turkey now stands. The Roman writers Ammianus Marcellinus and Procopius consider it a city of Mesopotamia.

Ottoman Turkish, or the Ottoman language, is the variety of the Turkish language that was used in the Ottoman Empire. It borrows, in all aspects, extensively from Arabic and Persian, and it was written in the Ottoman Turkish alphabet. During the peak of Ottoman power, Persian and Arabic vocabulary accounted for up to 88% of the Ottoman vocabulary, while words of foreign origin heavily outnumbered native Turkish words.

Following the Arab conquests in the seventh century, the Arab Bakr tribe settled in this region, [12] which became known as the Diyar Bakr ("landholdings of the Bakr tribe", in Arabic : ديار بكر, Diyar Bakr). [14] [15] In 1937, Atatürk visited Diyarbekir and, after expressing uncertainty on the exact etymology of the city, ordered that it be renamed "Diyarbakır", which means "land of copper" in Turkish after the abundant resources of copper around the city. [16]

The Banu Bakr bin Wa'il or simply Banu Bakr were an Arabian tribe belonging to the large Rabi'ah branch of Adnanite tribes, which also included Abdul Qays, Anazzah, Taghlib, Banu Shayban and Bani Hanifa. The tribe is reputed to have engaged in a 40-year war before Islam with its cousins from Taghlib, known as the War of Basous. The pre-Islamic poet, Tarafah was a member of Bakr.

Diyar Bakr

Diyār Bakr is the medieval Arabic name of the northernmost of the three provinces of the Jazira, the other two being Diyar Mudar and Diyar Rabi'a. According to al-Baladhuri, all three provinces were named after the main Arab tribes that were settled there by Mu'awiyah in the course of the Muslim conquests of the 7th century. The Diyar Bakr was settled by the Rabi'a subgroup of the Banu Bakr, and hence the two provinces are sometimes referred to collectively as "Diyar Rabi'a". In later Turkish usage, "Diyar Bakr" referred to the western portion of the former province, around Amid.

Copper Chemical element with atomic number 29

Copper is a chemical element with symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.


16th century plan of Diyarbakir by Matrakci Nasuh. The eastern half of the walled city depicted here (Sur) was leveled in 2015-2016 during the Kurdish-Turkish conflict. The western half is currently (2017) being demolished. Matrakci Diyarbekir.jpg
16th century plan of Diyarbakır by Matrakci Nasuh. The eastern half of the walled city depicted here (Sur) was leveled in 2015–2016 during the Kurdish–Turkish conflict. The western half is currently (2017) being demolished.

The earliest reference to the city comes from Assyrian records which identify it as being the capital of the Aramean kingdom of Bit-Zamani (c. 1300 BC). In the ninth century BC, the city joined a rebellion against the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III. The city was later reduced to being a province of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.


The Arameans, were an ancient Northwest Semitic Aramaic-speaking tribal confederation who emerged from the region known as Aram in the Late Bronze Age. They established a patchwork of independent Aramaic kingdoms in the Levant and seized tracts of Anatolia as well as briefly conquering Babylonia.

Bit-Zamani former country

Bit-Zamani, an ancient Aramean state in northern Mesopotamia, located within the mountainous region of Tur Abdin. In Bit-Zamani was the city of Amida. It was one of the four Aramean states that bordered Assyria. The others were Bit-Halupe, Bit Bahiani and Laqe. By the ninth century BC all of them lost to Assyria.

Shalmaneser III Assyrian king

Shalmaneser III was king of Assyria, and son of the previous ruler, Ashurnasirpal II.

From 189 BCE to 384 CE, the region to the east and south of present Diyarbakır came under the rule of the Hellenistic kingdom of Corduene.

Corduene region located in an area between south of Lake Van and Northwest Iran

Corduene was an ancient region located in northern Mesopotamia, present-day eastern Turkey.

Later, the Romans colonized the city and named it Amida, after the earlier name Amid. During the Roman rule, the first city walls were constructed in 297. Later, the greater walls were built as per the command of the Roman emperor Constantius II. The Romans were succeeded by the Muslim Arabs. It was the leader of the Arab Bekr tribe, Bekr Bin Vail, who named the city Diyar Bakr, meaning "the country of Bakr", i.e. Arabs.

After a few centuries, Diyarbakır came under the Ottoman Empire and earned the status of the capital of a large province. The city became the base of army troops who guarded the region against Persian invasion. Diyarbakır faced turbulence in the 20th century, particularly with the onset of World War I. The majority of the city's Assyrian and Armenian population were massacred and deported during the Assyrian Genocide & Armenian Genocide in 1915. In 1925, armed Kurdish groups rose in the Sheikh Said rebellion against the newly established secular government of the Republic of Turkey with the aim to revive the Islamic caliphate and sultanate, but were defeated by Turkish forces.


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 neolithic 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 Eğil. [17]

The first major civilization to establish themselves in the region of what is now Diyarbakır were the Hurrian kingdom of the Mitanni. The city was first mentioned by Assyrian texts as the capital of a Semitic kingdom. It was then ruled by a succession of nearly every polity that controlled Upper Mesopotamia, including the Arameans, Assyrians, Urartu, Armenians, Achaemenid Persians, Medes, Seleucids, and Parthians. [18] The Roman Republic gained control of the city in 66 BC, by which stage it was named "Amida". [19] In 359, Shapur II of Persia captured Amida after a siege of 73 days which is vividly described by the Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus. [20]

Ecclesiastical history

Syriac Christianity took hold in the region between the 1st and 4th centuries AD, particularly amongst the Assyrians of the city. The earliest documented bishop of Amida was Simeon of the Assyrian Church of the East, who took part in the First Council of Nicaea in 325, on behalf of the Assyrians. Maras was at the First Council of Constantinople in 381. In the next century, Saint Acacius of Amida (who died in 425, and is included in the Roman Martyrology [21] ) was noted for having sold the church's gold and silver vessels to ransom and assist Persian prisoners of war.

Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II (408–450) divided the Roman province of Mesopotamia into two, and made Amida the capital of Mesopotamia Prima, and thereby also the metropolitan see for all the province's bishoprics. [22] A 6th-century Notitia Episcopatuum indicates as suffragans of Amida the sees of Martyropolis, Ingila, Belabitene, Arsamosata, Sophene, Kitharis, Cefa, and Zeugma. [23] The Annuario Pontificio adds Bethzabda and Dadima.

The names of several of the successors of Acacius are known, but their orthodoxy is unclear. The last whose orthodoxy is certain is Cyriacus, a participant in the Second Council of Constantinople (553). Many bishops of the Byzantine Empire fled in the face of the Persian invasion of the early 7th century, with a resultant spread of the Jacobite Church, Michael the Syrian gives a list of Jacobite bishops of Amida down to the 13th century. [24]

Inside the St. Giragos Armenian Church photographed after the restoration, 2012. On 26 March 2016 the Turkish government confiscated St. Giragos, under Article 27 of the Expropriation Law. Sowrb Kirakos ekeghets`i (Diarbek`ir) (3).JPG
Inside the St. Giragos Armenian Church photographed after the restoration, 2012. On 26 March 2016 the Turkish government confiscated St. Giragos, under Article 27 of the Expropriation Law.

At some stage, Amida became a see of the Armenian Christians. The bishops who held the see in 1650 and 1681 were in communion with the Holy See, and in 1727 Peter Derboghossian sent his profession of faith to Rome. He was succeeded by two more Catholic Armenians, Eugenius and Ioannes of Smyrna, the latter of whom died in Constantinople in 1785. After a long vacancy, three more bishops followed. The diocese had some 5,000 Armenian Catholics in 1903, [27] but it lost most of its population in the Armenian Genocide. The last diocesan bishop of the see, Andreas Elias Celebian, was killed with some 600 of his faithful in the summer of 1915. [28] [29] [30] [31]

An eparchy for the local members of the Syriac Catholic Church was established in 1862. Ignatius Philip I Arkus, who was its first bishop, was elected patriarch in 1866, he kept the governance of the see of Amida, which he exercised through a patriarchal vicar. The eparchy was united to that of Mardin in 1888. Persecution in Turkey during the First World War brought an end to the existence of both these Syrian residential sees. [28] [29] [32] [33]

However, in 1966 a Chaldean Catholic Archeparchy with jurisdiction over all Chaldean Catholic Turks was revived in Diyarbakır, with the city being as episcopal see and location of the diocesan main Cathedral.

As of 2015, there are two Chaldean Churches, and three Armenian churches in at least periodic operation. Three other churches are in ruins, all Armenian: one outside Sur district, one in it, and one in the citadel that is now part of a museum complex.

Titular sees

No longer a residential bishopric until 1966 (Chaldean rite), Amida is today listed by the Catholic Church as a multiple titular see, [34] separately for the Latin Roman Rite and two Eastern Catholic particular churches sui iuris.

Latin titular see

Amida of the Romans was suppressed in 1970, having had many archiepiscopal incumbents with in singular episcopal exception :

  • Domingo Valentín Guerra Arteaga y Leiba (19 December 1725 – 8 March 1728)
  • Francisco Casto Royo (15 December 1783 – September 1803)
  • Gaétan Giunta (6 October 1829 – unknown date)
  • Titular Bishop Augustus van Heule, Jesuits (S.J.) (9 September 1864 – 9 June 1865)
  • Colin Francis McKinnon (30 August 1877 – 26 September 1879)
  • Francis Xavier Norbert Blanchet (26 January 1881 – 18 June 1883)
  • Beniamino Cavicchioni (21 March 1884 – 11 January 1894) (later Cardinal)
  • Francesco Sogaro, Comboni Missionaies (F.S.C.I.) (18 August 1894 – 6 February 1912)
  • James Duhig (27 February 1912 – 13 January 1917)
  • John Baptist Pitaval (29 July 1918 – 23 May 1928)
  • Carlo Chiarlo (12 October 1928 – 15 December 1958) (later Cardinal)
  • Gastone Mojaisky-Perrelli (8 August 1959 – 10 May 1963)
  • Robert Picard de la Vacquerie (23 May 1963 – 17 March 1969)
  • Joseph Cheikho (7 March 1970 – 22 August 1970)

Armenian Catholic titular see

The diocese of Amida, in 1650, was suppressed in 1972 and immediately nominally restored as Armenian Catholic (Armenian Rite and language) titular bishopric of the lowest (episcopal) rank, Amida of the Armenians.

So far, it has had the following incumbents, of the fitting episcopal rank with an archiepiscopal exception:

Syriac Catholic titular see

Established in 1963 as Titular archbishopric of the highest (Metropolitan) rank, Amida of the Syriacs.

It is vacant since decades, having had the following incumbent of Metropolitan rank;

Middle Ages

Great Mosque of Diyarbakir Diyarbakir P1050751 20080427135832.JPG
Great Mosque of Diyarbakır

In 639, the city was captured by the Muslim conquests, and introduced the religion of Islam. The city passed under Umayyad and then Abbasid control, but with the progressive fragmentation of the Abbasid Caliphate from the late 9th century, it periodically came under the rule of autonomous dynasties. Isa ibn al-Shaykh al-Shaybani and his descendants ruled the city and the wider Diyar Bakr from 871 until 899, when Caliph al-Mu'tadid restored Abbasid control, but the area soon passed to another local dynasty, the Hamdanids. The latter were displaced by the Buyids in 978, who were in turn followed by the Marwanids a few years later. The Marwanids ruled until after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, when the city came under the rule of the Mardin branch of the Oghuz Turks and then the Anatolian beylik of the 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 Aq Qoyunlu until the rise of the Persian Safavids, who naturally took over the city and the wider region.

Safavids and Ottomans

During Ottoman rule, the government began to assert its authority in the region in the early 19th century. Concerned with independent-mindedness of Kurdish principalities, Ottomans sought to curb their influence and bring them under the control of the central government in Constantinople. However, removal from power of these hereditary principalities led to more instability in the region from the 1840s onwards. In their place, sufi sheiks and religious orders rose to prominence and spread their influence throughout the region. One of the prominent Sufi leaders was Shaikh Ubaidalla Nahri, who began a revolt in the region between Lakes Van and Urmia. The area under his control covered both Ottoman and Qajar territories. Shaikh Ubaidalla is regarded as one of the earliest leaders who pursued modern nationalist ideas among Kurds. In a letter to a British Vice-Consul, he declared: the Kurdish nation is a people apart... we want our affairs to be in our hands'.' The breakup of the Ottoman Empire after its defeat in the First World War led to its dismemberment and establishment of the present-day political boundaries, dividing the Kurdish-inhabited regions between several newly created states. The establishment and enforcement of the new borders had profound effects for the Kurds, who had to abandon their traditional nomadism for village life and settled farming.

This 17th-century map detail shows Diyarbakir (west at top). From a 17th-century Ottoman map of the Tigris and Euphrates that may have been created by Evliya Celebi. 1671 Diyarbakir from Ottoman map of Tigris and Euphrates 2012 Kursun Z Fig2.jpg
This 17th-century map detail shows Diyarbakır (west at top). From a 17th-century Ottoman map of the Tigris and Euphrates that may have been created by Evliya Çelebi.

Between the early 16th century and mid-to late 17th century the city and the much wider Eastern Anatolia region (comprising Eastern Anatolia and Southeastern Anatolia) was being heavily competed between the rivalling Safavids and the Ottoman Turks, being passed on numerous times between the two archrivals. When it was firstly conquered by the Ottoman Turks in the 16th century by the campaigns of Bıyıklı Mehmet Paşa under the rule of Sultan Selim I following the Battle of Chaldiran, they established an eyelet with its centre in Diyarbakır. The Ottoman eyelet 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 Ebu Hanife in Baghdad. Ottoman rule was confirmed by the Peace of Amasya of 1555 which followed after the Ottoman–Safavid War (1532–1555). However, a recapture of the city followed by Safavid Persia, ruled by shah Abbas I, during the Ottoman-Safavid War (1603–1618). Diyarbakır was retaken by the Safavids once again in 1623-1624, during the Ottoman–Safavid War (1623–1639). [35]

In 1895 an estimated 25,000 Armenians and Assyrians were massacred in Diyarbakır vilayet, including the city. [36] At the turn of the 19th century, the Christian population of the city was mainly made up of Armenians and Syriac Orthodox Christians. [37] The city was also a site of ethnic cleansing of Armenians and Assyrians in 1915; nearly 150,000 were deported from the city. [38]

Republic of Turkey

A typical example of Diyarbakir's historic architectural style, with masonry tiles built of the city's indigenous type of dark basalt stone. Diyarbakir P1050709 20080427133413.JPG
A typical example of Diyarbakır's historic architectural style, with masonry tiles built of the city's indigenous type of dark basalt stone.
Diyarbakir's city walls, built by Constantius II and extended by Valentinian I between 367 and 375, stretch almost unbroken for about 6 kilometres. Diyarbakir walls.JPG
Diyarbakır's city walls, built by Constantius II and extended by Valentinian I between 367 and 375, stretch almost unbroken for about 6 kilometres.

In the reorganization of the provinces, Diyarbakır was made administrative capital of the Diyarbakır Province. During the 1980s and 1990s, at the peak of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (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 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 a population of 30,000 in the 1930s to 65,000 by 1956, to 140,000 by 1970, to 400,000 by 1990, [39] and eventually swelled to about 1.5 million by 1997. [40]

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. [41]

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, [42] with small minorities of Assyrians, Armenians and Yezidis still resident. After World War II, as the Kurdish population moved to urban centres, Diyarbakir gradually became predominantly Kurdish. [43]

Diyarbakır has been the victim of terror attacks in recent years. In 2008, a car bomb exploded in the city, killing five people, a blast for which nobody claimed responsibility. In 2015, a political rally of the People's Democratic Party was targeted by ISIL, killing four people and injuring over 100. And in 2016, two separate attacks in February and March, each killing six people.

Between 8 November 2015 and 15 May 2016 large parts of Sur were destroyed in fighting between the Turkish military and the PKK. [44]


The most notable football clubs of the city are Diyarbakırspor (established 1968) and Amed SK (established 1990). [45]

The women's football team Amed SFK were promoted at the end of the 2016–17 Turkish Women's Second Football League season to the Women's First League. [46]


In the 2014 local elections, Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) were elected co-mayors of Diyarbakır. However, on 25 October 2016, both were detained by Turkish authorities "on thinly supported charges of being a member of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)". [47] The Turkish government ordered a general internet blackout after the arrest. [48] Nevertheless, on 26 October, several thousand demonstrators at Diyarbakir city hall demanded the mayors’ release. [47] Some days later, the Turkish government appointed an unelected state trustee as the mayor. [49] In November, public prosecutors demanded a 230-year prison sentence for Kışanak. [50]

In January 2017, the Turkish government appointed unelected state trustee ordered the removal of the Assyrian sculpture of a mythological winged bull from the townhall, which had been erected by the BDP mayors to commemorate the Assyrian history of the town and its still resident Assyrian minority. [51] [52]


Historically, Diyarbakır produced wheat and sesame. [53] [54] They would preserve the wheat in warehouses, with coverings of straw and twigs from licorice trees. This system would allow the wheat to be preserved for up to ten years. [53] In the late 19th and early 20th century, Diyarbakır exported raisins, almonds, and apricots to Europe. [54] Angora goats were raised, and wool and mohair was exported from Diyarbakır. Merchants would also come from Egypt, Istanbul, and Syria, to purchase goats and sheep. [55] Honey was also produced, but not so much exported, but used by locals. Sericulture was observed in the area, too. [56]

Prior to World War I, Diyarbakır had an active copper industry, with six mines. Three were active, with two being owned by locals and the third being owned by the Turkish government. Tenorite was the primary type of copper mined. It was mined by hand by Kurds. A large portion of the ore was exported to England. The region also produced iron, gypsum, coal, chalk, lime, jet, and quartz, but primarily for local use. [57]


Demographic history

At the turn of the 19th century, the Christian population of the city was mainly made up of Armenians and Assyrians. [37] The Assyrian presence dates to antiquity, [58] while Armenians had inhabited the town since the 8th century. There was also a small Jewish community in the city. [59]

Present day

The city is about 76% Kurdish speaking [60]

There are also several Alevi Turkmen villages around Diyarbakır old city, however there are no specific official data about the population numbers. [59] [61]


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.

Main sights

Sheikh Matar Mosque with its Four-legged Minaret Minareya Carling Amed 2010.JPG
Sheikh Matar Mosque with its Four-legged Minaret

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 II in 349.

Medieval mosques and medreses



Historic bridges


Diyarbakır has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa). Summer are very hot and very dry, due to its location on the Mesopotamian plain which is subject to hot winds from the deserts of Syria and Iraq to the south. The highest recorded temperature was 46.2 °C (112.64 °F) on 21 July 1937. Winters are cold and wet and with frosty nights. Snowfall is quite common between the months of December and March, snowing for a week or two. The lowest recorded temperature was −24.2 °C (−10.12 °F) on 11 January 1933.

Climate data for Diyarbakır (1960–2012)
Average high °C (°F)6.7
Daily mean °C (°F)1.8
Average low °C (°F)−2.3
Average precipitation mm (inches)68.0
Average rainy days12.211.811.812.
Average relative humidity (%)75726765594331313551697556
Mean monthly sunshine hours 120.9134.4173.6207.0300.7366.0387.5362.7297.0229.4162.0117.82,859
Source #1: Devlet Meteoroloji İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü
Source #2: Weatherbase [63]

Notable people born in the city

See also

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Mardin is a city and multiple (former/titular) bishopric in southeastern Turkey. The capital of Mardin Province, it is known for the Artuqid architecture of its old city, and for its strategic location on a rocky hill near the Tigris River that rises steeply over the flat plains.

Hasankeyf Place in Batman, Turkey

Hasankeyf is an ancient town and district located along the Tigris River in the Batman Province in southeastern Turkey. It was declared a natural conservation area by Turkey in 1981. Kurdish people form the majority of the city centre today.

Simele Place in Kurdistan, Iraq

Simele is a town located in the Dohuk province of Iraqi Kurdistan. The city is on the main road that connects Iraq to its neighbour Turkey. It is 14 km west of the city of Dohuk. The town in inhabited by Kurds with minorities of Arabs, Assyrians, Yazidis and Armenians

Marwanids dynasty

The Marwanids (990–1085) were a Kurdish Muslim dynasty in the Diyar Bakr region of Upper Mesopotamia and Armenia, centered on the city of Amid (Diyarbakır). Other cities under their rule were Arzan, Mayyāfāriqīn, Hisn Kayfa (Hasankeyf), Khilāṭ, Manzikart, Arjish.

Assyrians in Iraq are an ethnic and linguistic minority in present-day Iraq, and are the indigenous population of the region. Assyrians are about 1% of the population of Iraq. Assyrians in Iraq are those Assyrians still residing in the country of Iraq, and those in the Assyrian diaspora who are of Iraqi-Assyrian heritage. They are and have direct cultural and genetic lineage from the ancient Mesopotamians, in particular from the Akkadian peoples who emerged in the region c. 3000 BC, and the Aramean tribes who intermingled with them from the 9th century BC onwards.

Turkish Assyrians ethnic group

Assyrians in Turkey are an indigenous Semitic-speaking ethnic group and minority of Turkey with a presence in the region dating to as far back as the 25th century BC, making them the oldest ethnic group in the nation. Some regions of what is now south eastern Turkey were an integral part of Mesopotamia from the 25th century BC to the 7th century AD, including its final capital, Harran.

Silvan, Diyarbakır Place in Diyarbakır, Turkey

Silvan is a city and district in the Diyarbakır Province of Turkey. Its population is 41,451.

Assyrian homeland geographic and cultural region in Northern Mesopotamia, traditionally inhabited by the Assyrian people

The Assyrian homeland or Assyria refers to a geographic and cultural region situated in Northern Mesopotamia that has been traditionally inhabited by Assyrian people. The areas that form the Assyrian homeland are parts of present-day northern Iraq, southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran and, more recently, northeastern Syria. Moreover, the area that had the greatest concentration of Assyrians in the world until recently is located in the Assyrian Triangle, a region which comprises the Nineveh plains, southern Hakkari and the Barwari regions. This is where some Assyrian groups seek to create an independent nation state.


Hakkari, was a historical mountainous region lying to the south of Lake Van, encompassing parts of the modern provinces of Hakkâri, Şırnak, Van in Turkey and Dohuk in Iraq. During the late Ottoman Empire it was a sanjak within the old Vilayet of Van.

History of the Assyrian people ancient people in Mesopotamia

The history of the Assyrian people begins with the appearance of Akkadian speaking peoples in Mesopotamia at some point between 3500 and 3000 BC, followed by the formation of Assyria in the 25th century BC. During the early bronze age period Sargon of Akkad united all the native Semitic-speakers and the Sumerians of Mesopotamia under the Akkadian Empire. Assyria essentially existed as part of a unified Akkadian nation for much of the period from the 24th century BC to the 22nd century BC, and a nation state from the mid 21st century BC until its destruction as an independent state between 615–599 BC.

Christianity in Iraq

The Christians of Iraq are considered to be the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world. The vast majority are indigenous Eastern Aramaic-speaking ethnic Assyrians. There is also a small community of Armenians and populations of Kurdish, Arab and Iraqi Turkmens. Most present-day Christians in are ethnically different to both Arabs and Kurds and they identify themselves as being separate peoples, of different origins and with distinct histories of their own. In fact, the Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac people of Iraq are the indigenous people of Iraq.

Chaldean Catholics Assyrian people and follower of the Chaldean Catholic Church

Chaldean Catholics, known simply as Chaldeans, are Assyrian adherents of the Chaldean Catholic Church which originates from the Church of the East.

Christianity in Turkey Overview of Christianity and churches in Turkey

Christianity in Turkey has had a long history dating back to the 1st-century AD. In modern times the percentage of Christians in Turkey has declined from 20-25 percent in 1914 to 3-5.5 percent in 1927, to 0.3-0.4% today roughly translating to 200,000-320,000 devotees. This was due to events which had a significant impact on the country's demographic structure, such as the First World War, the genocide of Syriacs, Assyrian, Greeks, Armenians, and Chaldeans the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, and the emigration of Christians to foreign countries that actually began in the late 19th century and gained pace in the first quarter of the 20th century, especially during World War I. Today there are more than 200,000-320,000 people of different Christian denominations, representing roughly 0,3-0.4 percent of Turkey's population, including an estimated 80,000 Oriental Orthodox, 35,000 Catholics, 18,000 Antiochian Greeks, 5,000 Greek Orthodox and 8,000 Protestants. There is also a small group of ethnic Orthodox-Christian Turks who follow the Greek Orthodox or Syriac Orthodox church and additionally Protestant Turks whom still faces difficulties even though they are from recent Muslim Turkish backgrounds(rather than ethnic minorities)that don't have historic claims to churches or property in the country. There are also ethnic Turkish protestants numbering 7,000-8,000. Currently there are 236 churches open for worship in Turkey. The Eastern Orthodox Church has been headquartered in Constantinople since the 4th century.

Massacres of Diyarbakır (1895)

Massacres of Diyarbakır were massacres that took place in the Diyarbekir Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire between the years of 1894 and 1896. The events were part of the Hamidian massacres and targeted the vilayet's Christian population – Armenians and Assyrians.

Behram Pasha Mosque

Behram Pasha Mosque is a 16th-century Ottoman mosque located in the town of Diyarbakır in southeast Turkey. It was commissioned by the Ottoman governor-general Behram Pasha and designed by the imperial architect Mimar Sinan.


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  2. 1 2 "".External link in |title= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help)
  3. 1 2 Gunter, Michael M. (2010). Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. Scarecrow Press. p.  86. Diyarbakir is often called the unofficial capital of Turkish Kurdistan. Its Kurdish name is Amed.
  4. King, Diane E. (2013). Kurdistan on the Global Stage: Kinship, Land, and Community in Iraq. Rutgers University Press. p.  233. Diyarbakir's Kurdish name is “Amed.”
  5. Akyol, Mustafa (2007). "Pro-Kurdish DTP sweeps Diyarbakir". Hürriyet . Amed is the ancient name given to Diyarbakır in the Kurdish language.
  6. Joseph R. Rudolph Jr. (7 December 2015). Encyclopedia of Modern Ethnic Conflicts, 2nd Edition [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 484. ISBN   978-1-61069-553-4. As some have noted, Turkey's road to the EU lies through Diyarbakir, the unofficial capital of Turkish Kurdistan.
  7. Wendelmoet Hamelink (6 April 2016). The Sung Home. Narrative, Morality, and the Kurdish Nation. BRILL. p. 307. ISBN   978-90-04-31482-5. This is also related to the unique position of Diyarbakır as the unofficial capital city of Turkish Kurdistan, as such ...
  8. William Ayers; Therese M. Quinn; David Stovall (2 June 2009). Handbook of Social Justice in Education. Routledge. p. 187. ISBN   978-1-135-59614-9. The unofficial capital of North Kurdistan (Turkish Kurdistan) is Diyarbakir in Turkish, but Amed in Kurdish.
  9. Elise Massicard; Nicole Watts (12 December 2012). Negotiating Political Power in Turkey: Breaking up the Party. Routledge. p. 99. ISBN   978-1-135-13687-1. This chapter explores these questions through an analysis of pro-Kurdish parties1 and their social footing in the city of Diyarbakır, one of the largest cities in Turkey's mostly Kurdish southeast and often viewed as the unofficial capital of the country's Kurdish region.
  10. Jeri Laber; Lois Whitman (1 January 1988). Destroying Ethnic Identity: The Kurds of Turkey. Human Rights Watch. p. 8. ISBN   978-0-938579-41-0. It began in Diyarbakir, the unofficial capital of Turkish Kurdistan,
  11. Western Armenian pronunciation: Dikranagerd; Hovannisian, Richard G. (2006). Armenian Tigranakert/Diarbekir and Edessa/Urfa. Costa Mesa, California: Mazda Publishers. p. 2. ISBN   9781568591537. The city that later generations of Armenians would call Dikranagerd was actually ancient Amid or Amida (now Diyarbekir or Diyarbakır), a great walled city with seventy-two towers...
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 Diyarbakır Archived 23 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine . Turkish Airlines. Retrieved on 2012-05-13.
  13. Zehiroglu, Ahmet M. ; "Trabzon Imparatorlugu" 2016 ( ISBN   978-605-4567-52-2) ; p.223
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  16. See Üngör, Uğur (2011), The Making of Modern Turkey: Nation and State in Eastern Anatolia, 1913–1950. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 244. ISBN   0-19-960360-X.
  17. Charles Gates, [Ancient Cities], 2011, p.19
  18. Trevor Bryce, The Kingdom of the Hittites, 1999 p. 137
  19. Theodor Mommsen History of Rome, The Establishment of the Military Monarchy. Retrieved on 2012-05-13.
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  23. Echos d'Orient X, 1907, pp. 96 and 145.
  24. Michel Lequien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, Paris 1740, Vol. II, coll. 989–996
  25. Archived 14 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine Why the Turkish government seized this Armenian church
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  27. Annuaire Pontifical Catholique, 1903, p. 173.
  28. 1 2 Pius Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae, Leipzig 1931, p. 456
  29. 1 2 Pius Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae, Complementi, Leipzig 1931, p. 93
  30. F. Tournebize, v. Amid ou Amida, in Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Géographie ecclésiastiques, vol. XII, Paris 1953, coll. 1246–1247
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  34. Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN   978-88-209-9070-1), p. 831
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  37. 1 2 Joost Jongerden; Jelle Verheij (2012). Social Relations in Ottoman Diyarbekir, 1870–1915. BRILL. p. 20. ISBN   90-04-22518-8.
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  43. Metin Heper; Sabri Sayari (7 May 2013). The Routledge Handbook of Modern Turkey. Routledge. p. 247. ISBN   978-1-136-30964-9. It was thus only in recent times that Diyarbakır, the unofficial capital of Turkey's Kurdish area, became a predominantly Kurdish town.
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  64. Plant, Ian Michael (2004). Women Writers of Ancient Greece and Rome: An Anthology. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 229. ISBN   9780806136219. Aetius: A Greek from Amida (in Mesopotamia), who wrote on philosophy in the mid- sixth century AD in Alexandria.
  65. Meade, Richard Hardaway (1968). An introduction to the history of general surgery. Saunders. p. 108. OCLC   438114. Aetius of Amida, who lived in the sixth century A.D. and was the first Greek physician who was a Christian, had a chapter on aneurysms in his book on surgery.
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Coordinates: 37°55′N40°14′E / 37.91°N 40.24°E / 37.91; 40.24