A MAGICAL QUALITY OF LIFE Despite all the upheaval the old town was a place of immense charm. Magic in three elements: green trees, carved golden stone, and the reflections in tranquil water.
People have left part of a castle, piers of a bridge, a giant cave, many zigzag staircases along the cliffsides, a huge Muslim minaret, carved writing, tombs and many, many caves. Here’s what it was like a dozen years ago, when I drew it:
I wrote then: This isn’t Aphrodisias or Ephesus, resurrected from the sands of time. Human beings live and work here.It’s a functioning town, which ebbs and flows around visitors in a jocular manner. Children cavort at the waters’ edge, near the two great piers of the ancient bridge.
There’s archeology going on at that 9,500-year-old site. Young pine trees shoot up to the sky. Below a rock face like a giant griffin, topped with a ruined Byzantine castle, shops are full of business, and excavations prove they always have been.
The Tigris, snaking along the edge of the valley as it has from time immemorial, has carved the rocks into fantastic sculpture. Streams run down through it from the mountains to the river. So Hasankeyf is naturally protected and watered.
A place of topographical geological magic, inherently attractive and inviting to human beings, to quote John Crofoot, A longtime fellow-advocate of saving Hasankeyf via Cultural Tourism.