Embraced by "Mother Nature"...
Mesopotamia is a geography where the soil is fertile, the air is beautiful, embracing various and colourful thousands of plants, wild animals and birds. This diversity and liveliness is a privilege for not only Turkey but also all the world.
It is a necessity to go to Göbekli Tepe, which is 'the place that changed the beginning of history', in order to trace the diversity of living creatures in Mesopotamia. The animals on T pillars in Göbekli Tepe introduce 12,000 years of landlords of these soils. Snakes, bulls, foxes, gazelles, lions, wild donkeys, insects, spiders, male wild pigs, probably bald ibis, various animals among anseridaes and other animals. We read these living creatures on these soils before a couple of eras thanks to Göbekli Tepe. Furthermore, most of them still live in the lands of their ancestors.
Mosaic Museum in Haleplibahçe in Urfa gives us information of 2000 years ago. Famous Amazonian mosaic informs us about the fauna of the region of 2000 years ago. Several bird species were also depicted in the mosaics in addition to Amazon women who hunted lions and leopards. Briefly, Mesopotamia has protected and fed all the living creatures for eras.
Mesopotamia, heaven in the world: The place of "firsts" and "uniques"…
Mesopotamia that has one of the most special ecosystems in the world, is the transition place of continental climate and desert climate. In this way, it has the ecosystems of mountains, steppes and semi-deserts. Thus, it hosts various plant and animal species. This special ecosystem involves many "firsts" and "uniques".
Southeast Taurus Mountains which is the place where the foundations of civilizations were laid, is the only single mountain range in Turkey where leopards still dwell. Foothills of Karacadağ Mountain is a significant plant and nature field today in which Einkorn wheat was cultivated for the first time. The region is also significant since it is the living space of rarely seen birds such as spectacled warbler (Sylvia conspicillata) in addition to its diversity of plants.
Gazelles (Gazella subgutturosa) which became subject to folk songs still ramble around in the steppes of Urfa and Antep. Hyenas (Hyaena hyaena) that we see in African documentaries, still live in the steppes of Birecik and Halfeti. Desert monitor (Varanus griseus) that resembles Komodo dragon, got itself adopted to the steppes of Urfa as its "homeland".
Ceylanpınar, the living space of three different great mullein plants, is the only single place in the world where great mullein named Verbascum stepporum is grown. Ceylanpınar and Akçakale plains provide life for several steppes. The nests of black francolins (Francolinus francolinus) and pin-tailed sandgrouse (Ptercoles alchata) are located in these two plains. Moreover, these plains also host birds such as great bustards (Otis tarda) and sociable lapwings (Vanellus gregarious) in winter.
Soft-shelled Euphrates turtle (Rafetus euphraticus), a turtle that only lives in the Euphrates, is a species that can only be seen in these soils.
Zarova Watercourse passing through Siirt and Eruh, is the only single watercourse in Mesopotamia where common otter (Lutra lutra) is known to dwell. Eruh Mountains are ideal natural areas for butterfly observers. Papilionidae (Archon apollinaris) also lives here.
Harran Ruins in the region are very important in terms of nature as well as from historical and cultural aspects. Harran lizard (Acanthodactylus harranensis) that was discovered in 2001 and that is only peculiar to Harran, lives in the holes of Harran Ruins and in the roots of Peganum harmala plants.
The place between Antep and Elbeyli, is the living place of golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) that lives in the border of Turkey-Syria on a very rare region. Yeşilce Region that is located on north of Antep, is a very wealthy place in terms of the existence of plants and butterflies. Furthermore, Yeşilce is a very important observation place for Saimbeyli blue (Polyommatus theresiae) that is found only in Turkey in the world.
Not Only the Route of Migrating Birds, But Also Home to Birds...
Birds are among the important species of wild life in Mesopotamia. Birds either take a breath in migration seasons on these fertile soils or they adopt to this heaven as their home, and never leave this place.
Bald ibis (Geranticus eremita) is one of the most important among such birds. This is because it became extinct in other parts of the world and approximately 150 of them still live and reproduce in the coast of Euphrates River in Birecik, Urfa today. Special activities are performed and many efforts are made in order to prevent the extinction of this unique bird.
The region is also the living space of several birds living in the desert habitat, in addition to bald ibis. Two sides of Euphrates River starting from Halfeti till the border of Syria, is an ideal place for bird observation. Numerous bird species can be observed on Euphrates River especially in Spring.
There are numerous bird species that you can observe only in this region. Yes, you cannot see these birds in anywhere else.
Bald ibis, Iraq babbler, see-see partridge, blue-cheeked bee-eater, cream-colored cursor, sociable lapwing, great bustard, Pallid’s scops owl, pied kingfisher and black francolin.
Karkamesh is another important bird observation centre. Euphrates River enlarges and it composes wide reed beds at this point where Karkamesh Ancient City is also located. It is located on the point where Euphrates River passes into Syria. It is possible to see approximately 20,000 aquatic birds in this region. The region is quite rich in bird numbers especially in winter and spring. The largest reproduction colony of pygmy cormorants is in Karkamesh. Marbled duck that is another endangered species, reproduces leastwise nearby Euphrates.
Lands procreated by the Tigris
Tigris Valley that hosts proverbial Diyarbakır Hevsel Gardens with its magnificent beauty, is the stopover destination for migratory birds especially in spring season.
It is possible to see soft-shelled Euphrates turtle (Rafetus euphraticus) all along the Tigris, including its legs. White storks stops over Bismil plains during migration seasons, just near Diyarbakır. Red-wattled lapwing that is scarcely seen, are also known to reproduce in Bismil Valley in Mesopotamia.
An inland sea fish named Cobitis kellei only lives in the rivers and legs of this plain. Steppe slopes of the valley where Tigris River reaches Hasankeyf, is the nest of the birds that are on the verge of extinction, such as booted eagle, lesser kestrel, Egyptian vulture and griffon vulture.
On a pretty mountainous and steep geography that is composed by Botan and Garzan watercourses, which are the legs of the Tigris, there lives the hyena (Hyaena hyaena), lynx (Lynx lynx), caracal (Caracal caracal), wild goat (Capra aegagrus), and leopard (Panthera pardus) which was proven to be extinct in 2013.
Mesopotamia promises a unique experience of nature and wild life for photographers, bird and butterfly observers, botanists and everyone who loves nature.