Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Approaching the town of Hasankeyf, the one thing that immediately seized my attention are the cavities on the sides of the mountains which reminded me of the rock cut churches and cave settlements in Cappadocia region.

This is a unique property of this small charming town.  The thousands of caves are scattered all over the several mountains, canyons and cliffs.  

The castle complex boasts itself of beautifully carved dwellings on its sides which were inhabited until the 1970s along with those on the adjacent canyon.  The people of this town were living in caves unaffected by progressing civilizations happening all over the big cities and towns of the country.  

A real-life Bedrock of "The Flintstones".  It must have been a unique sight, an ancient citadel town, people living in cave dwellings, it could have been a major tourist attraction in the present time.  But in 1966 during the presidency of Cevdet Sunay, the cave dwellers were built with a community of houses down the grounds.

Strolling along the river, the west side has a long range of cliff with caves sculpted on its face in various sizes and shapes.  One of those caves which can be spotted right below the colorful houses of the Kesmekopru village is the Magara Kilisesi or Cave Church, it is characterized by an arched ceiling.  This signifies an early Christian settlement right on the numerous caves that flecked the face of the cliff surrounding the cave church.

There are also numerous caves above the footpath that continues south from the waterfalls above Salihiyya Gardens (toward the villages of Uzundere and Karaköy) which are reasonably easy to reach and offer nice views of the canyon.

I walked through the highway near the approach to the town and turned on a footpath to the right side where there is a military installation, and here lies more of those caves below and on the lower levels of the huge canyons.   Also evident are piles of rocks, remnants or foundation of houses laid in squares on the grounds. or ruins scattered around the area, forgotten, or neglected?

Someone would have thought about developing some of the caves and let visitors experience a night or two in one of the those furnished caves like the several hotels and accommodations in Goreme or Urgup towns of Cappadocia.

One can still marvel at the thousands of cave settlements that distinguishes this ancient town, although you may find very few of them still in use, residents have built houses in communities on the ground level.


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