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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 Adnan Selçuk Mızrakl (HDP)
675 m (2,215 ft)
 (2018) [1]
   Metropolitan municipality 930,266
Ethnic groups
  • Turkish
  • Kurdish (majority) [1]
  • Assyrian (several thousands)
  • Armenian (hundreds)
Time zone UTC+3 (FET)
Postal code
21x xx
Area code(s) 412
Licence plate 21

Diyarbakır (Kurdish : Amed or Dîyarbekir, Arabic : ديار بكر, Syriac : ܐܡܝܕܐ, romanized: Amida, Armenian : Տիգրանակերտ, romanized: Dikranagerd) [2] [3] [4] is one of the largest cities in southeastern Turkey and is often considered the unofficial capital of Northern Kurdistan. [2] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] Situated on the banks of the Tigris River, it is the administrative capital of the Diyarbakır Province. It is the third-largest city in Turkey's Southeastern Anatolia Region, after Şanlıurfa and Gaziantep.

Syriac language dialect of Middle Aramaic

Syriac, also known as Syrian/Syriac Aramaic, Syro-Aramaic or Classical Syriac, is a dialect of Middle Aramaic of the Northwest Semitic languages of the Afroasiatic family that is written in the Syriac alphabet, a derivation of the Aramaic alphabet. 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. Syriac originated in Mesopotamia and eventually spread west of Iraq in which it became the lingua franca of the region during the Mesopotamian Neo-Assyrian period.

Armenian language Indo-European language

The Armenian language is an Indo-European language that is the only language in the Armenian branch. It is the official language of Armenia as well as the de facto Republic of Artsakh. 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.

There are various systems of romanization of the Armenian alphabet.


It has been a focal point of the conflict between the Turkish state and various Kurdish insurgent groups.

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 $300 to 450 billion, mostly military costs. It has also affected tourism in Turkey.

Kurds Indo-European ethnic

Kurds are an Iranian ethnic group native to Western Asia. Geographically, this mostly mountainous area, known as Kurdistan includes southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, and northern Syria. There are also exclaves of Kurds in central Anatolia and Khorasan. Additionally, there are significant Kurdish diaspora communities in the cities of western Turkey, in particular Istanbul, while a Kurdish diaspora has developed in Western Europe, primarily in Germany. Numerically, the Kurds are estimated to number anywhere from a low of 30 million, to possibly as high as 45 million.

Names and etymology

The name Diyarbakır (Arabic : دیار بکر, Diyaru Bakr, which means the Land of Bakir; Armenian : Տիգրանակերտ, Tigranakert ; [10] 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. [11] The Romans and Byzantines called the city Amida . [11] Another medieval use of the term as Amit is found in Empire of Trebizond official documents in 1358. [12] 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). [11] In the Book of Dede Korkut and some other Turkish works it appears as Kara Hamid. [11]

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 extensively, in all aspects, from Arabic and Persian, and it was written in the Ottoman Turkish alphabet. During the peak of Ottoman power, words of foreign origin heavily outnumbered native Turkish words, with Arabic and Persian vocabulary accounting for up to 88% of the Ottoman vocabulary.

Following the Arab conquests in the seventh century, the Arab Bakr tribe settled in this region, [11] which became known as the Diyar Bakr ("landholdings of the Bakr tribe", in Arabic : ديار بكر, Diyar Bakr). [13] [14] In 1937, Atatürk visited Diyarbakir 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. [15]

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 the 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.

Arameans Northwest Semitic semi-nomadic and pastoralist people who originated in what is now modern Syria

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-Armenian kingdom of Corduene.

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

Corduene was an ancient region located in south of Lake Van, 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. [16]

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. [17] The Roman Republic gained control of the city in 66 BC, by which stage it was named "Amida". [18] In 359, Shapur II of Persia captured Amida after a siege of 73 days which is vividly described by the Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus. [19]

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 [20] ) 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. [21] A 6th-century Notitia Episcopatuum indicates as suffragans of Amida the sees of Martyropolis, Ingila, Belabitene, Arsamosata, Sophene, Kitharis, Cefa, and Zeugma. [22] 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. [23]

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, [26] 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. [27] [28] [29] [30]

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. [27] [28] [31] [32]

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, [33] 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 a singular episcopal exception :

  • Domingo Valentín Guerra Arteaga y Leiva (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 has been vacant for 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). [34]

In 1895 an estimated 25,000 Armenians and Assyrians were massacred in Diyarbakır vilayet, including the city. [35] At the turn of the 19th century, the Christian population of the city was mainly made up of Armenians and Syriac Orthodox Christians. [36] The city was also a site of ethnic cleansing of Armenians and Assyrians in 1915; nearly 150,000 were deported from the city. [37]

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, [38] and eventually swelled to about 1.5 million by 1997. [39]

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. [40]

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, [41] 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. [42]

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. [43]

A 2018 report by Arkeologlar Derneği İstanbul found that, since 2015, 72% of the city's historic Sur district had been destroyed through demolition and redevelopment, and that laws designed to protect historic monuments had been ignored. They found that the city's "urban regeneration" policy was one of demolition and redevelopment rather than one of repairing cultural assets damaged during the recent civil conflict, and because of that many registered historic buildings had been completely destroyed. The extent of the loss of non-registered historic structures is unknown because any historic building fragments revealed during the demolition of modern structures were also demolished. [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]

In the Municipal election 2019 Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı was elected mayor of Diyarbakir [53] In August 2019 he was dismissed accused of supporting terrorism. [54]


Historically, Diyarbakır produced wheat and sesame. [55] [56] 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. [55] In the late 19th and early 20th century, Diyarbakır exported raisins, almonds, and apricots to Europe. [56] 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. [57] Honey was also produced, but not so much exported, but used by locals. Sericulture was observed in the area, too. [58]

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. [59]


Demographic history

At the turn of the 19th century, the Christian population of the city was mainly made up of Armenians and Assyrians. [36] The Assyrian presence dates to antiquity, [60] while Armenians had inhabited the town since the 8th century. There was also a small Jewish community in the city. [61]

Present day

The city is about 76% Kurdish speaking [62]

There are also several Alevi Turkmen villages around Diyarbakır old city, however there are no specific official data about the population numbers. [61] [63]


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

The core of 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. The area inside the walls is known as the Sur district; before its recent demolition and redevelopment this district had 599 registered historical buildings [64] .

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 [67]

Notable people born in the city

See also

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Coordinates: 37°55′N40°14′E / 37.91°N 40.24°E / 37.91; 40.24

  1. "December 2013 address-based calculation of the Turkish Statistical Institute as presented by".