Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Diyarbakır - Go!

Diyarbakır has a scary reputation for crime and terrorism but I think that's outdated.  It is one of the principal cities in mostly Kurdish Southeastern Turkey.  It is full of life and the people are great.  I highly recommend going.  The guidebooks warn you about the obnoxious street kids that will hound you for money, pick your pocket, and even throw rocks at you and try and open your backpack.  I did run into these kids but all they did was ask me for money and follow me for a bit.

The city is surrounded by ancient walls dating from the Roman empire.  The walls, like lots of other buildings in the city, are made from gray basalt.

Part of the city walls

One of the square minarets you see around this area.

In the city center, the other side of the street from the Ulu Cami (Great Mosque)

After I arrived and got checked into a hotel, I headed for the center of the city.  Right in the center is the Ulu Cami (Great Mosque).  Off of the main roads, the city center is full of narrow alleys.  If not for GPS, it would be easy to get lost in there.

Outside of the Uli Cami.  People sit around in the square, talk, and drink tea.

Detail on the Ulu Cami.

Inside the walls of the Ulu Cami.

Inside the walls of the Ulu Cami.

Inside the walls of the Ulu Cami.

One of many Kurdistan t-shirts for sale in town.

One of the first sights I ran across was the four legged minaret (Dört Ayaklı Minare) which is currently surrounded by scaffolding.  Right next to there is a tea/coffee shop where I stopped after the owner welcomed me in.  He made a Kurdish coffee for me.  It's sort of like Turkish coffee, except that it has pistachio and a little milk - good!  As I was having this coffee, the Germans who I traveled with from Göreme stopped by because they were going to stay the night there (the tea shop has rooms too, apparently).  There was also another American there who lives in Scotland, was traveling in the area, and had been to Iran.

The four legged minaret

At the tea/coffee shop.  Barış, the owner, is second from the left.

I ate at this place.  They seem to only serve one thing per day.  When I went, they had some sort of eggplant stuffed with meat (lamb I think), rice, and some kind of cold yogurt soup with barley and chickpeas in it.  In this part of Turkey they seem to drink tap water instead of bottled water.  I went ahead and drank the tap water they had in a jug - no ill effects.

The back streets are a maze of markets and workshops.  In some areas they seem to be mostly selling shoes and clothes.  There are butchers, seafood stalls, and vegetables.  In other areas they are making and selling cheese and yogurt, with people walking right past the big pots of fermenting yogurt.  Then there are alleys where they have mostly blacksmith shops and tinsmith shops.

This is Hasan Paşa Hanı, a popular place to have a tea or coffee.

Sheep heads?

A church

One of the streets with blacksmith shops

Sülüklü Han - another popular place (in one of the alleys).

A blacksmith at work

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