Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens – UNESCO Site
When you visit Diyarbakir Fortress you are in fact visiting the ancient Roman city of Amida. For this reason, it’s the perfect place to escape the noisy city and be transported to another era. The history of this site dates back over 5000 years. However, the huge walls you see today were built under the rule of Roman Emperor Constantius II in the year 349. It’s fascinating to see such a piece of history. Can you think of a better place to sit and relax in Diyarbakir? or even in the whole of Turkey for that matter! Finally, there are wonderful views of Dicle Bridge from the Fortress Walls.
Sheikh Mutahhar Mosque
Something fascinating about the Sheikh Mutahhar Mosque were the tourists lining up for photos at the minaret outside. It’s not because this is a top Instagram spot but because of the unique minaret. The minaret itself features four columns which symbolize the four denominations of Sunni Islam. Now, a few facts about this mosque. It was built in 1500 by the ruler, Sultan Kasim and is built over the tomb of Sheikh Mutahhar, hence the name.
Great Mosque of Diyarbakir
As you would imagine with a name such as the Great Mosque of Diyarbakir, this is a very significant mosque. It’s the oldest and biggest in the whole region. In the year 639, Muslims took Diyarbakir from Christians. After the capture of Diyarbakir, Muslims used the church as a mosque to pray in. It wasn’t until the 11th century that the Great Mosque you see today was created. The mosque you see today has been shaped throughout the years by modifications as well as rebuilding from natural disasters. Finally, visitors are welcome to enter and take a look around. Just avoid prayer times and respect the dress rules as well as other pilgrims.
Dicle Bridge / Ongozlu Bridge
Officially known as the Dicle Bridge, it’s also referred to as the Ongozlu Bridge which is Turkish for 10 arches. Here are two fascinating facts about the bridge. Firstly, it was built during the Kurdish dynastly therefore it’s around 1000 years old. Secondly, it’s made from volcanic rock. As a result, it’s an incredibly photogenic bridge and perhaps the most iconic landmark of Diyarbakir.
Old City Walls
Every visitor to Diyarbakir Turkey must visit the old city walls. Not only can you walk on the walls and witness fantastic views but most of the cities attractions are also within these walls. As a matter of fact, you could spend a whole day within this small section of the city. Within the historic walls are these Diyarbakir points of interest:
27 Sahabe Tombs
Saint George Church
Be sure to wander into any open courtyards as you explore Diyarbakir. Not only will you find very picturesque locations but you’ll also discover a shade from the sun. In addition, these courtyards often feature cafes selling Turkish cuisine as well as Turkish tea and coffee. Definitely a better alternative to Hevsel Gardens on a hot day.
Take a walk through the Jewelry bazaar. If you fancy buying something don’t forget to bargain. What’s more, it offers a much quieter and pleasant experience than the Istanbul equivalent.
Clock Tower of Diyarbakir Turkey
Each Turkish city seems to have some kind of clock tower. Diyarbakir has a small metal clock tower at the entrance to the historic city. This clock tower makes a perfect meeting point.
There’s no better souvenir of your trip than a picture with the Diyarbakir sign but where is it? It is in front of the brand new football stadium.
For a true Turkish hammam experience, I recommend you stay at the Radisson Blu, Diyarbakir Turkey. As a matter of fact, this is the cheapest Radisson Blu I have stayed at anywhere in the world. Definitely a must when you visit Turkish Kurdistan.
Diyarkabir Turkey Football Stadium
Did you know there’s a brand new state of the art football stadium in Diyarbakir Turkey? Check the schedule to see if there’s a game on when you’re in town. Alternatively, just turn up and ask the friendly police for a free stadium tour. See more pictures on my Diyarbakir stadium blog.
How to Travel from Diyarbakir to Van
The bus from Diyarbakir to Van takes around 5 hours. Moreover, there are several buses each day but I do recommend you buy your ticket as soon as you know when you will travel. An exciting part of this trip is when you pass through the city of Batman. Maybe even add Batman to your itinerary as it sounds like a good place to take pictures for your social media feed! Sit on the left hand side of the bus for views of Lake Van as you arrive.