The City Where Light Greets The Master: Siirt

Area: 11,003 km²

Population: 320.351

# of Districts: 6

Districts: Aydınlar, Baykan, Eruh, Kurtalan, Pervari, Şirvan.

Elevation: 895 meters

Primary Resources: Tourism, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Commerce.

Handicrafts: Felt Weaving, Rug Weaving, Coppersmith.

Siirt has highway connections from all across Turkey.

Brought into service in 1998, Siirt Airport receives regular flights.

You can also arrive in Siirt via Kurtalan Express railway.

Büryan kebab

Perde rice

Siirt meatballs (Kitle)

Bıçak kebab (Knife kebab)

Şorbut zahtar (Thyme soup)

Şişe şirten - a kind of lebeni (yoghurt soup)

Zivzik pomegranate

Taife grape

Siirt peanuts

Siirt angora wool weaving blanket

Siirt jirkan rug

The most natural for hair: Bıttım soap

All-curing Pervari Honey

Watery, sourish, small zivzik pomegranate

Watch Botan Valley from Rasulhacar Hill.

Go on an exploration in Botan Valley.

Visit Tillo on March 21st and September 23rd to witness the sun event.

Pass under Sabatlar, have a look at Cas Houses.

Visit the tomb of His Holiness Veysel Karani.

Also taste Siirt büryan which is cooked in boiling wellhole, perde rice and Siirt meatballs.

Buy a Siirt blanket that is weaved by the threads that are produced by warping mohair with spinner, and jirkan rug that is produced by rubia tinctorum.

Buy Siirt peanut, Pervari honey and bıttım soap.

You can also buy copper goods in Bakırcılar Çarşısı (Coppersmith Bazaar).

Taste close-grained zivzik pomegranate that has a sourish flavour.

Many products ranging from peculiar blankets to peanut, from endemic pomegranate sorts to honey compiled with a thousand kinds of flowers are cultivated and processed in Siirt where artisanship, farming, horticulture and livestock has improved to a great extent.

The climate of Siirt is very convenient for cultivating Angora goat. Siirt blanket is also produced with the pure mohair that is obtained from Angora goat. The mohair is then blended with spinner after the washing process, and thread is obtained. Then, thread is weaved in local counters, then weavings are processed by using a comb, and Siirt blanket is produced.

Siirt blankets are weaved with straight or a variety of patterns and designs composed of primarily cream colour, brown, camel's hair colour and olive colour. The blanket balances temperatures since it is made up of pure mohair.

The rugs are the products of rich Eastern culture and each bears a unique story, reflecting the emotions of its craftsman. Siirt rugs are weaved entirely with worsted wool. Threads are painted by using madder which protects its dynamism thanks to the natural dye. The most popular rug of the region is "Jirkan Rug".

Coppersmith businesses are also one of the popular handcraft production places in Siirt due to the copper reserves in the area. It is still possible to find kitchenware such as copper vessels, boilers, bowls and trays in the coppersmith bazaar.

Portraying a city of Mesopotamia is portraying the world.

Gerald Maclean, Rise of Journey to the East

Traces of the human history are hidden in every single city of Mesopotamia. From domestication of animal to first planted wheat, from amelioration of plant types to first houses, castles, invasions, peace, powerful states, administration of cities, religions, prophets, and civilizations…

Siirt is the secret city of Upper Mesopotamia, which has protected the traces it has been bearing for centuries. Siirt is like a petted bride that makes the steep rocks of Cizira Botan a veil for itself…

The name of Siirt is adorned with a love story…

Once upon a time a scoutmaster had a beautiful daughter. She was obliged to marry to someone she was not in love... However, she was in love with a shepherd named Ali who used to put out his flocks to meadows. A sentimental, touching sound of a reed instigates the entire plateau as the girl went from a nomad group to another as a bride. The sound came from the reed of Shepherd Ali. The girl lifted her veil and shouted out towards the place where the sound came from:

Seğirt Ali!!! Seğirt!!! Get me out of here…

After this touching voice, a storm blew up, and wedding ceremony fell into ruins. Shepherd Ali rapidly came with his prairie horse, took his loved one and disappeared in the borderless plateau, to attain their desires for good... A nomad group was established on the place where wedding ceremony dispersed and it was called as "Seğirt" which means "koş" (run) in Turkish. This name in time transforms into Siirt.

In some sources in which examinations were made about the real name of Siirt, it has been revealed that it comes from Keert (Kaa'rat) which means "city" in Chaldean language, and that the name was accepted as Esart, Sairt, Siird, and İstahri in Islamic sources and Se-erd in Assyrian sources.

History of Siirt dates back to 12,000 years ago according to the researches done in recent years, the city has a rooted history though it was a small settlement; but sometimes a significant center in between purple mountains and green valleys.

In the excavations conducted in Siirt and its periphery, remnants belonging to the cultures such as Halaf, Obeyd, Ancient Assyria, Hurri-Mitanni and Meds were found. The city was conquered by Persians together with Kyros, then opened its gates to Alexander the Great, and it has been one of the most important settlements of the Hellenistic Period in the region. Then, the city paved the way for an important fight between Part and Sasanians against Rome.

The city has been a Patriarchate center after the acceptance of Christianity by Assyrians, then it was conquered by Islamic armies in 640. The city has stamps of the Umayyad, Abbasids, Hamdanis, Mervanis, Hasankeyf Artuqids, Zengis and the Ayyubid, living its brightest era during Botan (Cizre) period. Siirt has been an important centre during the mighty periods of Mirs, beginning to develop with its scientists it raised in the fields of science, astrology and literature with its location in between the cities of Diyarbekir, Bitlis, Van, Mardin, and Cizre at the time.

Siirt was taken into the sovereignty of Ottoman Empire in 1540 and is also known as "Land of Saints", which might be the city that raised the highest number of reverends and scientists in the East. Positions of these people, who are individually profound values, set light to the piety of Siirt at the present time.

Points of Interest

Siirt is an important transition point. It compounds Trans Caucasia and Lower Mesopotamia. Furthermore, it is located on the road that starts from the capital city Sus of Elam, Sardes, Ephesus and Miletus towards the King Road that was repaired by the Persian King Darius in 5th century B.C.

Siirt has been established in Aqaba of Siirt in which these two roads overlap. Therefore, the city laid its eyes on such great wars.

Güzir Höyük in Botan Valley has been a settlement since 9,000 B.C., Türbe Höyük has been a settlement since 8,000 B.C., while Başur Höyük contains splendid bronze grave gifts, Çattepe (Tell Fafan) is an important coastal town since the Late-Roman Period, established on the place where Botan River and Tigris River intersect. These are the first historical values of the city that come to mind.

Gerre Inn and its bridge are typical post inns together with Kormas, Derzin and Şirvan (Küfe) Castles, Nasreddin Bridge, telling the history of thousands of years and giving clues about the mysterious past.

Botan Creek brings life to Siirt... Siirt is surrounded with purple mountains; religions, cultures, moral laws, and customs co-exist with one another without any harm.

Siirt has dozens of beauties peculiar to itself. "Cas" houses which are built with a special mortar and make a strong impression with their workmanship and stone varving, and its gateways called as "sabat" reminding of the abbara of Mardin, will take you a journey into the past.

Grand Mosque which is a magnificent symbol of the city with its tile workmanship, tombs called as 'City of Saints' which are frequently encountered in the city, city mosque which is one of the special modern mosques of Turkey, attractive Museum of İbrahim Hakkı. His Holiness are also some of the points of interest in Siirt.

Siirt also hosts Botan Valley that is treated very generously by the nature. Unmixed Pervari honey, famous Siirt blankets, all-curing bıttım soap that is produced from wild pistachio tree, delicious büryan kebab, perde rice, zivzik pomegranate, tayti grape, Siirt peanut and dozens of other nuances can be found in Siirt.

Districts of Siirt are more beautiful than one another. Kurtalan reminds of a remote and inaccessible point, a place the previous name of which was Garzan... Kurtalan Express carries its passengers silently to the station of Kurtalan, the station that is named after the express...

Previous name of Aydınlar was Tillo and it means "high souls" in Syriac language, where valuable scholars and governors grew up; and Baykan having Derzin Castle that challenges time even today with its watch-towers, the renowned Eruh that is famous for its Kiver Castle, who lived in Urartu period, Pervari that hosted Persians and Macedonians, Şirvan which is famous for its pomegranate and which has been a settlement since the Roman Period, are all waiting to receive guests.


People of Siirt yet have the final word...

Siirt is the secret city of Upper Mesopotamia. Siirt is like a petted bride that makes the steep rocks of Cizira Botan a veil for itself… A green country in the center of civilization and in between mountains rising higher and higher all the way towards Bitlis and Van, and a white city involving fertility in all streets. This city is a history and the land of tribes; from Assyrians to Ottomans, from Gordione to Selahaddin. Who can possibly portray its entirety? There are so many words to be said about Siirt. All the history from Ksenephon to Ebul Faraç... Understanding the city of Siirt means having a grasp of the mystery of a sunflower seed which includes a tree inside, including Sühreverdi and Sultan Memduh.

Garzan stays there just beside you, and mirî mirans are rambling in front of you, thousands of people are making their way back home from Aqaba with timid steps along the coast of Botan waters; Silokis, Sturkas and Memedyans are all waiting for the command in Şirvan; and oh Pervari... Lantern flames on the roofs of great houses, swallow birds are whining in Sulha Valley; time, human and büryan are cooked along the coasts covered in mud; a man is heralding his love to a new day in Kaletül Üstad; sacred souls are coming together in Tillo. Birds, roads and journeys are mixed with the sounds of trains in Kurtalan Express. Rebellious Bedirhan having glamourous eyes and Eruh making the mountains a nest for the eagles…