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Hasankeyf Turbesi

by: Jocelyne Ndianabo

July 9th, 2019

The city of Batman is located in Southeastern Anatolia region of Turkey ( “the cradle of civilization”) and is capital to the Batman Province.

It has very fertile lands and is very rich in history as thanks to its location near the Tigris River: There are fertile lands by the sides of the River as well as numerous caves that can be used as natural shelter areas. These different features of this city prompted that this town was in fact inhabited since the prehistoric times, most likely from the Neolithic period, thanks to archaeological evidence. The first documented settlements in the province date back to the 7th century BC.


An artificial “island” was created in this swampy area and stood independent for approximately 194 years from 546 BC until the invasion of Alexander the Great in 352 BC. The Batman province was also a religious center in the 4th until 6th centuries AD and was part of the Byzantine empire and was a prominent outpost of the Silk Road. The Silk Road was a network of trades routes that were established during the Han Dynasty whose role was to link the regions of the ancient world in commerce. The Silk Road also contributed to the exchange of culture, Art, religion, philosophy, technology, language, science, architecture, and every other element of civilization. All of these different components traveled along the Silk Road with the commercial goods that were being transported by the merchants from one country to the next.


Tomb of Zeynel Bey, Batman, Turkey


The Tomb of Zeynel Bey. Window detail

The city of Batman used to be a village called Illuh until the 1950's when the oil fields were discovered. It hosts the largest oil field in Turkey which is the Batı Raman which is also the dominant commodity in this region. The town then became a district center and graduated from being a “village” to obtaining “city” status. These oil fields were discovered in 1940 and this resulted in the rapid development of this area and the inflow of the workforce from other parts of Turkey. Which in turn contributed to the growing population of the city of Batman.

The city has now been nominated a cultural center of the Batman Province and as such was declared as a natural conservation area in 1981. The province of Batman hosts a few Turkish cultural sites that are very relevant to Turkish culture and heritage, notably the Hasankeyf Turbesi (Hasankeyf Tomb). 

The Hasankeyf Tomb is a Mausoleum that was named after Zeyneb Bey who was the son of Uzun Hassan ruler of the Akkoyunlu Dynasty which ruled over Hasankeyf in the 15th century. It was built to commemorate the death of his son. It is located on the opposite side of the Tigris River in the City of Batman in the province of South-East Anatolia.

Zeynel Bey died in a battle in 1473 and was buried in this circular mausoleum that was built by the architect Pir Hasan. This cylindrical main part of the tomb is dotted with rich turquoise and dark blue tiles in a pattern characteristic of Central Asian architecture. These patterns formed some sort of belts around the structure. On these belts, the names of ‘God, Muhammed and Ali’ were written quite aesthetically. It is one of the beautiful examples among the tombs which have similar characteristics in Anatolia. This mausoleum is considered a natural conservation site in Turkey.


Hasankeyf, Batman, Turkey

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