The City of Noah: Şırnak

Area: 7.203 km²

Population: 290.307

# of Districts: 7

Districts: Şırnak, Beytüşşebap, Cizre, Güçlükonak, İdil, Silopi, Uludere

Elevation: 1400 meters

Primary Resources: Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Energy, Mining, Border Trade.

Handicrafts: Rugs, carpets, weaving such as Saddlebags, Towel Stitchery

Şırnak has highway connections from all across Turkey.

Brought into service in 2013, Şırnak Şerafettin Elçi Airport receives regular flights.


Gutilik (a kind of içli köfte)



Perde pilaf (pilaf with chicken and nuts enveloped in thin dough topped with almonds),



Gezu desserts

Kadgi Difse (sweet pastry)

Kenger with yoghurt (in the spring).

Wooden models of "Noah's Ark",

Şal-şepik (scarf made of mohair and wool),

Şırnak cane,


Traditional clothes,

Şırnak honey.

Have a cup of coffee across Judi landscape.

Attend the lamb shearing and plateau festivals.

Go to the Zümrüt Hot Springs.

Gaze at Tigris River against the sunset.

Attend a local wedding in Şırnak.

Watch how a "şal-şepik" (scarf made of mohair and wool) is woven.

"O earth! Swallow up thy waters. O sky! Cease [thy rain]" as the words went forth.

The water sank into the earth, and the will [of God] was done. The ark came to rest on Judi.

And the word was spoken: "Away with this evil-doing folk!"

                                                                                                     Hud 11/44

Şırnak is a city set in the foothills of 2114 meters high Mount Judi. According to the belief; Noah's Ark landed on Mount Judi. According to the legend, Şırnak was built by the sons of Noah as a summer settlement. The city's name comes from this legend; "şır" meaning city and "nak" meaning Noah. The original name of Şırnak was known as Şehr-i Nuh meaning "The City of Noah", later it was turned into Şerneh and then it came in as Şırnak until today. As the central district of Şırnak province today, the centrum was a village of Cizre in the Ottoman period which is a district of Şırnak today.

The whole province is covered by high mountains, deep river valleys and plateaus. All rivers connected to the province within Tigris basin compose the tributaries of the Tigris River. The main rivers are Kızılsu, Hezil and Habur rivers. Apart from Beytüşşebap and Uludere, the main flora of the province is steppes; however, its forests canopy is mainly covered with oak trees. Since the main source of living is animal husbandry in the province, the culture of nomadism is quite common there. The nomads spend their summers on meadows and at the top of mountains together with their sheep; in winters, they stay in warmer lowland plateaus. While men graze the flocks, women weave rugs and carpets of wool obtained from sheep. In the last 20 years, the nomads have abandoned this traditional lifestyle due to political and economic factors and they have adopted the sedentary life. Since the nomadic culture depends on tribe organization, the kinship based on patriarchy and blood ties are still the main social signifier in the region. The tribes in Şırnak have an introvert and closed structure of economy and society.

For the reminiscence of this nomadic culture and preserving this culture for future generations, the most popular event called Lamb Shearing and Seasonal Plateau Festival play a key role in Şırnak today. Each year, this festival is held in August in Beytüşşebap plateau. In the festival; featuring local costumes, games, songs, roasted lambs, and communal meals eaten in sitting position on the ground called "yer sofraları" displaying fertility and generosity are among the finest examples of local culture and hospitality of the region.

Points of Interest

Meaning "island" in Arabic, Cizre is built on the edge of Tigris River, having lots of touristic attractions to see. The Grand Mosque, the Mosque and Tomb of Noah the Prophet, the Mir Abdal Mosque, the Abdaliye Madrasa, the Tomb of Men-u Zin, the Kırmızı Madrasa, Cizre Castle and its Walls, Yafes Bridge (due to the transposition of Tigris riverbed, it lies outside our current borders), Akabin Bridge, Mehmet Agha Palace and lastly the Museum of İsmail Ebul-iz Al-Jazari are among main attractions to visit in central district of Cizre. Especially Cizre Castle, Kırmızı Madrasa and the tomb of Al-Jezeri, who was the first mechanic scientist dealing with automatic machines in history, located in the yard of the Mosque of Noah the Prophet are must-see attractions there. Also, a chamber of Ebul-iz Primary School was transformed into a museum dedicated to this respected scientist.

Furthermore, Mount Judi, Beytüşşebap plateaus, Mor Dodo Church and St. Jacob’s (Mor Yakup) Monastery located in the center of İdil, the architectural sites of Finik, Babil and Kasrik are among main attractions for sightseeing in Şırnak. If you want to refresh yourself, do not forget to get in Zümrüt Hot Springs.

In Şırnak, marvelous rugs are woven with wool obtained from animal husbandry the main source of living in the region and colored with natural dyes. Especially those woven by the Jirki tribe living in Beytüşşebap district are very famous. Most of the patterns used on rugs reflect joy, hope, agony and wishes of the local people. While the star pattern represents the few stars left in the sky in the crack of dawn, "Gupale Çıldar" expresses the feelings of the woman beaten up by her husband. As "Gülbeyan" is inspired by the roses in nature, "Lüleper" expresses the dreams of a gloomy bride forced to live with the groom's family.

Şehr-i Nuh Şırnak is waiting for adventure-seeking guests with its thousands of years of history, the Tigris River, its unique plateau culture, its icefalls and the Mount Judi.