A country’s heritage is the old stones, but not only. There are the traditions, the mixing of cultures, cuisine and music… When not included in Unesco’s national heritage and being a region stigmatized by decades of violence, how can Turkish Kurdistan have its riches known? That is the objective of this charming book that deals with the city of Diyarbakir, practically unknown to even the most cultivated public. It is located at the far-Eastern part of Turkey, on the banks of the Tigre, and has many assets that fascinated among others archaeologist Albert Gabriel. Its walls in andesite over 5 kilometres long, punctuated by 82 towers, are considered among the longest in the world and some parts go back to the time of the Hurriyet (3000 B.C.). A melting pot of Kurds, Christians, Jews, Armenians and Syrians, Diyarbakir once had the most beautiful movie theater in the Middle-East (the Dilan, with 1500 seats) and original traditions such as the custom of placing one’s bed, during the summer nights, on the terraces. Threatened by the explosive growth of its population, its built heritage does not benefit from the same care as its neighbor Mardin, dear to the Aga Khan.
Review published in the newsletter #207 - from 10 March 2011 to 16 March 2011