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Diyarbakır (Turkey)
Red pog.svg
Diyarbakir Diclekent Square.
Basic data
Province (il) : Diyarbakır
Coordinates : 37 ° 55 '  N , 40 ° 14'  E Coordinates: 37 ° 54 '39 "  N , 40 ° 14' 12"  E
Surface: 2,060 km²
Residents : 1,756,353 (2019)
Population density : 853 inhabitants per km²
Telephone code : (+90) 412
Postal code : 21st
License plate : 21st
Structure and administration (as of 2019)
Mayor : Hasan Basri Güzeloğlu
Template: Infobox Location in Turkey / Maintenance / District Without Inhabitants Or Area

Diyarbakır ( Turkish ; Ottoman دیاربکر Diyâr-i Bekr , German 'Land von Bekr' , Kurdish Amed , Armenian Ամիդ Amid , Zazaisch Diyarbekir , Aramaic ܐܡܝܕ Amedu ) is the second largest city in Southeast Anatolia in Turkey after Gaziantep . Diyarbakır is located on a basalt plateau on the right bank of the Tigris in southeastern Anatolia. Since a regional reform, the city has been a Büyükşehir Belediyesi , so it is identical to the province in terms of area and population. Already in ancient times it was important under the name Amida . Mostly Kurds live in the city .


The ancient name of the city first appears in Assyrian historical sources from the 13th century BC. As Amida or Amed . In Greek and Latin sources it appears as amido and amida . After the conquest by the Arab armies, the names amid and black amid also appear. The addition of black is supposed to refer to the color of the basalt from which many buildings in the city are built.

The Arabic name Diyarbekir , meaning land of the Bekr , was given to the area around Amida after the settlement of the Arab tribal group of the Bakr in the late 7th century. The main town of this area was the city of Amida, and over time the name of the area passed on to the city itself. According to Christian-Syrian sources, however, the name Diyarbekir is derived from the Aramaic word "Dayr Bekir" (= first church, or Church of the Virgin [Mary]) based on the Mother of God Church ( Meryem Ana Kilisesi ) in the city. According to local tradition, the church is one of the oldest churches ever and is said to date from the late 2nd century; however, the oldest surviving parts date from late antiquity .

Turkey changed the name Diyarbekir to Diyarbakır (area of copper ) in 1937 . Kurds use the Aramaic name Amed in reference to the ancient Medes , whose successors they see themselves as. Etymologically, however, there is no connection between the Aramaic Amed or Amid and the Medes.


By court decision, the city received a mayor's office on December 28, 1993 and was declared a metropolitan commune. Since then, the urban area covers 2060 km². The city consists of 82 districts (tr: Mahalle ) and four municipalities . These are called Bağlar , Kayapınar , Sur and Yenişehir . The four municipalities are also districts of Diyarbakır Province. After the regional reform of 2014, all municipalities in the remaining counties in the province were directly subordinate to the Lord Mayor.


In the local elections in 2014, Validan Kışanak ( BDP ) was elected mayor. Since the BDP endeavored to create more political equality between men and women, but local law does not recognize a formal dual position for the mayor's office, a deputy of the opposite sex with the same rights was formally appointed to each of the mayor’s offices won by the BDP. In Diyarbakır the deputy was Fırat Anlı . They are called co-mayors in the media. On October 25, 2016, both were arrested on suspicion of terrorist offenses. On November 1, Cumali Atilla was used as an administrator. Anlı was released on July 14, 2017, subject to conditions. Kışanak is still in custody. (As of September 2018)

City council

Party / list Election 2019
Share of votes Seats
Halkların Demokratik Partisi (HDP) 62.3%
Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP) 31.1%
Saadet Partisi (SAADET) 3.1%
Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP) 2.1%


Census / calculation population
1930 30,000
1970 149,566
1980 235.617
1990 373.810
2000 545.983
2007 665.699
2008 799.447

The city grew rapidly after 2008, not least because farmers moved there. The majority of the population is made up of Zazas and Kurds , only just under 16% consider themselves to be ethnic Turks . Until the Armenian genocide in 1915, when more than 150,000 Armenians were deported from Diyarbakır, the Armenian population represented around 40% of the city's total population, according to figures from the Armenian Patriarchate.


Assyrians, Persians, Seleucids, Parthians and Romans

Plan of the old town with the Roman city wall

In Neo-Assyrian times, Amid was the capital of the Bit Zamani province , an Aramaic kingdom at that time .

After centuries of Achaemenid , Seleucid and Parthian rule, the place finally came into Roman hands around 200 AD . In late antiquity , Amida was, previously rather insignificant, a very important Roman fortress on the border with the Persian Sassanid Empire and was heavily fortified by Emperor Constantius II from 349, who stationed seven legions there (since late Roman legions were smaller than in earlier times, corresponding to this was a crew of about 7000 men). The late Roman fortress wall has largely been preserved.

Wars between Romans and Persians

In the year 359 Amida was besieged for 73 days by the Sassanid king Shapur II and finally stormed (see Siege of Amida ). The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus , stationed there as a soldier at the time, later described how he escaped from the city with two comrades and finally reached Melitene .

Even later, the place was fiercely contested in the Roman-Persian wars : At the beginning of 503 the Persian king Kavadh I was able to take the city after another week-long siege, of which the chronicle of the contemporary witness Joshua Stylites , the story of the pseudo- Zacharias of Mytilene and something later also the Greek historian Prokopios vividly report from Caesarea . A little later, conversely, imperial troops began to siege the Persian garrison in the city. In 505 it finally returned to Roman hands for a large ransom after a large part of the population had been deported or killed. Amida remained fought over and was finally conquered by the Arabs in 638. This ended the ancient phase of the settlement.

Christianization, Diocese of Amida, Monophysitism

Entrance to St. Mary's Church (Meryem Ana Kilisesi)

The oldest church in the vicinity of the city was excavated from 2014. It dates from late antiquity and was located below the Zerzevan castle in the Çınar district, about 13 km from Çınar , which in turn is south of Diyarbakır, and contained Aramaic inscriptions. The local cemetery is another 150 years older. The church was in use until at least the year 639 when Muslims conquered the city.

The diocese of Amida was already represented at the councils of Nicaea (325) and of Constantinople (381) and belonged to the Patriarchate of Antioch . After the Council of Chalcedon (451) Amida became a refuge of Monophysitism and a diocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church , between the 11th and 16th centuries it was also the seat of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch (before he moved to the Zafaran Monastery ) . The most famous bishop was Dionysius bar Salibi († 1171), the last metropolitan Dionysius Abd al-Nur Aslan (1851-1933).

Islamization, Turkish principality, Persians and Ottomans

In the battle of Amida in 973 the ruler of Melitene, Mleh the Great , who was allied with Byzantium , was defeated by an Abbasid army. In the centuries that followed, the city was part of various Turkish principalities such as the Inalids , Ortoqids and Aq Qoyunlu . At the beginning of the 16th century, the Safavids from Iran conquered the city. But a short time later they were defeated by the Ottomans in a battle in 1514 . The victorious Sultan Selim I took the city in 1517. It became the capital of Eyâlet Diyarbakır and in 1867 of Vilâyet Diyarbakır .

Extermination of the religious minorities

The city has a Syrian Orthodox community with the Meryemana Church as its center, one of the oldest churches in the city and a temporary patriarchal residence, albeit without its own bishop since 1933. The Syrian Catholic Church was in the 19th and 20th Represented by a patriarchal vicar in the 19th century , the Syrian Orthodox Church continued to dominate. From the 12th century there was also a bishop of the East Syrian Church of the East . Archbishop Joseph I of Amida became a Catholic in 1681, establishing the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate in Diyarbakır, which was converted into an archbishopric in 1830. In 1895 there were massacres against the Christian minority . During the First World War , Diyarbakır was the scene of the genocide of the Armenians and that of the Aramaeans under the Vilayet governor Mehmed Reschid . The last archbishop had to leave the city in 1915 after up to 500,000 Christians had been killed by Kurds and Turks in the entire diocese.

Since 1966 the Chaldean Catholic bishop's seat in Diyarbakır has been nominally filled again, but the owner resides in Istanbul. Today only a few Aramaic Christians (Turkish: Süryani ) live permanently in the city. The Armenians form a small remnant community around their Theodor Church, which dates back to the 15th century.

On October 22, 2011, the St. Giragos Cathedral (Surp Giragos) , which was destroyed during the Armenian genocide, was restored and opened with a ceremony. The cathedral was built in 1371 and is the most important Armenian church in Turkey after the Church of the Holy Cross on Akdamar Island . The restoration work cost $ 3 million, took three years, and was funded by the state and donations. The 29 m high church tower, which was also destroyed in 1915, has been rebuilt including a bell. In contrast to the church at Akdamar, the cathedral is owned by the Armenian community and is not state-owned. After the tower was destroyed in 1915, the cathedral was used for various purposes before it was returned to the Armenian community in 1960. In 1980 it was nationalized again and left to decay.

Kurdish conflict

In the 1970s there was a massive influx of people, mostly Kurds, which caused the city to grow rapidly. Until 2002, Diyarbakır was in a state of emergency (OHAL) for years .

Since 2015, the changed Kurdish policy of the Turkish state has led to fighting and great destruction in the city. Aerial photographs of the Sur district, which was partially cordoned off at the beginning of 2016, show that large parts of the battle zone in the historic old town were badly damaged, according to estimates, up to 80 percent of the buildings there, including the recently reopened St. Giragos Cathedral. A large part of the old town was nationalized and evacuated. When the fighting ended, demolition excavators began demolishing the buildings. Large open spaces were created. Zülfü Livaneli , the voluntary Turkish UNESCO ambassador, resigned from his position in May 2016 in protest because UNESCO, which declared parts of the old town a World Heritage Site in 2015, was not doing anything against the destruction of the cultural sites, according to his allegation.

The attack in Diyarbakır on November 4, 2016 left eight people dead.

Economy and Transport

Diyarbakır is an important industrial location in Turkey and Southeast Anatolia. The large Southeast Anatolia dam project also gave a boost to agriculture. Nevertheless, many people emigrate to the Turkish megacities (mainly Istanbul ). In recent years, a large marble industry has sprung up in Diyarbakır and marble has become an important export good. In 2010, the unemployment rate in Diyarbakır was 20.6%.

From Diyarbakır Airport , u. a. Connections to Istanbul and Ankara as well as to some foreign airports are offered.


Due to its rich history, the city has a large number of buildings such as churches, mosques, medieval houses and fortifications.


Diyarbakır has one of the largest and best-preserved ancient fortifications in the world. It consists mostly of basalt . The system is divided into an inner and an outer section.

In the year 349 the Roman Emperor Constantius II had the walls and castle of the city renewed and massively expanded, since the previously rather insignificant place was now to become a main fortress on the hard-fought border with Persia. This is how the walls got their current appearance. Since then, the walls have been reinforced several times, but their core is still predominantly late antique. The wall is about five kilometers long, ten to twelve meters high and three to five meters thick. It has 82 towers and four gates. The gates point in the four cardinal directions:

  • Dağ Kapısı (Mountain Gate) or Harput Kapısı in the north
  • Urfa Kapısı or Rum Kapısı in the west
  • Mardin Kapısı or Tel Kapısı in the south
  • Yeni Kapı (New Gate), Dicle Kapısı (Tigristor) or Su Kapısı (Water Gate) in the east.

Outside these walls there was a rampart that was demolished in 1232 by the Ayyubid Al-Kamil . Part of the northern wall was torn down in the 1930s. In the last few decades the city has grown rapidly and the walls were endangered by buildings that were directly on it. Therefore, the city administration cleared the area on the walls of buildings and created green spaces on the inside of the wall.

The walls and especially the many towers, which are also often misused as toilets, are currently very unsafe, especially at night; Tourists are therefore strongly advised not to visit the wall after dark.

The citadel is located in the northeast part of the outer wall. The castle is separated from the outer wall by walls. It has 16 towers and four gates, two of which - Fetih Kapısı and Oğrun Kapısı - open to the outside and the other two - Saray Kapısı and Küpeli Kapısı - open to the city. Within these walls is a hill with the district of Viran Tepe . Sultan Suleyman I enlarged the complex.

In 2015, the fortifications of Diyarbakır, together with the Hevsel Gardens, which lie between the old town and the Tigris, were included in the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage .

Great mosque

In the center of the old town is the Great Mosque (Ulu Cami) . It was built as a Christian church and converted into a mosque in 639. This makes it one of the oldest Muslim prayer houses in Turkey. At first, Christians and Muslims shared the house of worship, this is attested to up to the year 770. An inscription reports that the Seljuk Sultan Malik Shah I converted it into a pillared mosque, which fell victim to an earthquake with a subsequent fire in 1115. The restored mosque was then rebuilt in many ways. The relief on the main portal shows a lion attacking a cattle. Behind it you get to the courtyard, which is bordered on the south by the façade of the prayer room and on the other three sides by arcades . There are two pointed, roofed wash fountains in the courtyard. In particular, the oratory the opposite wing in which since 1198 the Masudiye- Medrese is accommodated, showing a remarkable style mixture differently ornamented column shafts and capitals of antique spoils .

Also worth seeing is the Mother of God Church (Turkish: Meryemana Kilisesi ), the core of which dates from the late 5th century.


The watermelon festival is celebrated annually, at which farmers receive an award (a medal or an equivalent gift) for their harvest. The weight of the green and black striped watermelons is 40 to 65 kilograms. Small children are placed in the hollowed out watermelons to emphasize their size.


The Amed SK football club is based in Diyarbakir . He plays his home games at the Seyrantepe Diski Spor Tesisleri stadium. Until the 2013/2014 season there was the Diyarbakırspor football club which played in the Diyarbakır Ataturk Stadyumu .

Diyarbakir Turkuaz is the Diyarbakir volleyball team.


Climate table

Diyarbakır, Bağlar (674 m)
Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: State Meteorological Office of the Turkish Republic, normal period 1981–2010 ; (humidity)
Monthly average temperatures and rainfall for Diyarbakır, Bağlar (674 m)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 6.7 9.0 14.4 20.3 26.5 33.9 38.5 38.1 33.2 25.3 15.8 9.1 O 22.6
Min. Temperature (° C) −2.6 −1.6 2.2 6.6 10.8 16.7 21.5 20.7 15.6 10.0 3.4 −0.6 O 8.6
Temperature (° C) 1.7 3.3 8.3 13.7 19.1 26.3 31.2 30.2 24.6 17.1 8.8 3.6 O 15.7
Precipitation ( mm ) 64.5 68.0 67.5 56.9 39.1 9.8 0.5 0.4 5.5 37.3 54.4 65.7 Σ 469.6
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 3.9 4.8 5.6 7.0 9.6 12.1 12.3 11.6 9.8 7.4 5.5 3.7 O 7.8
Rainy days ( d ) 11.5 11.7 11.6 11.0 8.7 3.1 0.4 0.3 1.2 6.1 8.7 11.0 Σ 85.3
Humidity ( % ) 76 73 66 64 57 40 29 29 33 50 69 77 O 55.2
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Town twinning


  • M. Mehdi İlhan: AMİD (Diyarbakır) . I. edition. Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara, ISBN 975-16-0889-9 (Turkish).
  • Max van Berchem , Josef Strzygowski: Amida . Heidelberg 1910.
  • Julian Raby: Diyarbakır, a rival to Iznik. A sixteenth century tile industry in eastern Anatolia , in: Istanbuler Mitteilungen 27/28 (1977/78) pp. 429–459.
  • Marianne Mehling: Knaur's cultural guide: Turkey . Droemer Knaur Munich / Zurich 1987, pp. 161–162, ISBN 3-426-26293-2 .
  • Richard G. Hovannisian (ed.): Armenian Tigranakert / Diarbekir and Edessa / Urfa (= UCLA Armenian History and Culture series: Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces 6). Mazda Publishers, Costa Mesa, Calif. 2006.
  • David Gaunt, Relations between Kurds and Syriacs and Assyrians in Late Ottoman Diyarbekir . In: J. Jongerden - J. Verheij (eds.): Social Relations in Ottoman Diyarbekir, 1870–1915 . Brill, Leiden 2012, pp. 241-266.
  • Grigory Kessel: Manuscript collection of the Syrian Orthodox church Meryemana in Diyarbakir: A preliminary survey. In: F. Briquel Chatonnet - M. Debié (ed.): Manuscripta Syriaca. The sources de première main. (= 'Cahiers d'études syriaques 4), Geuthner, Paris 2015, pp. 79–123.

Web links

Commons : Diyarbakır  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. , accessed April 13, 2020
  2. ^ Lipiński, Edward: The Aramaeans: their ancient history, culture, religion (Leuven: Peeters 2000), 136.
  3. cf. to Harald Haarmann : Kurds in brief glossary of peoples , page 202: "In the context of relationships of Iranian languages can be such associations without demonstrating."
  4. ^ Deniz Yücel : Turkey: only Christian mayor deposed. In: Welt Online . November 20, 2016. Retrieved September 21, 2018 .
  5. Deniz Yücel : arrest of the mayor: "We are desperate and angry - also at Europe". In: Welt Online . October 25, 2016. Retrieved September 21, 2018 .
  6. Reuters Editorial: Turkey detains co-mayors of mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir . In: US ( [accessed August 19, 2018]).
  7. ^ Trustee appointed in place of detained co-mayors of Diyarbakır. Retrieved August 19, 2018 .
  8. Diyarbakır Co-Mayor Fırat Anlı Released . In: Bianet - Bagimsiz Iletisim Agi . ( [accessed August 19, 2018]).
  9. Kışanak Writes Book in Prison on Women's Struggle in Political Parties . In: Bianet - Bagimsiz Iletisim Agi . ( [accessed September 21, 2018]).
  10. Yeni Safak: Local Elections 2019 Diyarbakir. In: Yeni Safak. Yeni Safak, March 31, 2019 (Turkish).
  11. Archived copy ( Memento of the original dated December 29, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  12. ^ A b Michael Dumper, Bruce E. Stanley: Cities of the Middle East and North Africa: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-Clio, 2007, p. 130
  14. Joost Jong earth: The Settlement Issue in Turkey and the Kurds. An Analysis of Spatial Policies, Modernity and War. BRILL. 2007, p. 235
  15. ^ Emil Forrer, The Provincial Division of the Assyrian Empire (Leipzig: JC Hinrichs 1920), 29-30, Jacob J. Finkelstein, Cuneiform Texts from Tell Billa, Journal of Cuneiform Studies 7/4, 1953, 117.
  16. First Roman Christian church unearthed in Diyarbakır ( Memento of the original from July 18, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , in: Hürriyet Daily News, September 11, 2015. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  17. ^ Encyclopaedia Iranica
  18. Surp Giragos Kilisesi üç kavmin barış dualarıyla açıldı , article in Radikal of October 23, 2011 (Turkish)
  19. a b Church bells ring in a corner of Turkey once the site of Armenian genocide . The Washington Post . October 4, 2013. Retrieved October 4, 2013
  20. Sonja Galler: Assault on Diyarbakir's historic center: The city as spoils of war. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, April 18, 2016
  21. UNESCO vows 'commitment' to protect Diyarbakır's Sur after Livaneli criticism. Daily News, June 3, 2016
  22. Elke Dangeleit: Destroyed Diyarbakir. The city administration complains about expropriations by the Turkish government. Telepolis, June 19, 2016
  23. TUIK 2010
  24. Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape. UNESCO
  25. Diyarbakir Information | Turkey Travel Bazaar. Accessed August 20, 2018 .
  26. ^ Diyarbakır Culture and Watermelon Festival. Retrieved August 20, 2018 (Turkish).
  27. Amed Sportif Faaliyetler - club profile . ( [accessed on July 29, 2018]).
  28. Maliye Ihtisas v Diyarbakir Turkuaz. Retrieved August 4, 2018 .