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An update from Evaneos

Diyarbakır (Turkey)

Practical information about Diyarbakır

  • Mountain
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Festivals
  • Place or Historical Monument
5 / 5 - 2 reviews
How to get there
2 hours by plane from Istanbul
When to go
All year round
Minimum stay
One day

Reviews of Diyarbakır

Timothée D. Travel writer
285 travel articles

The capital of the Turkish Kurds, Diyarbakir has a very special atmosphere, a feeling of elsewhere inside its old town walls.

My suggestion:
If you go to Diyarbakir and you would like to find out more about the Kurdish minority, then you should visit Dengbêj Evi, a sort of museum where the oral traditions of the Kurds are preserved. Fascinating.
One of the biggest cities in the east of Turkey, with 1,500,000 inhabitants, Diyarbakir is considered to to be the capital of the Kurds, a people who live in the east of Turkey, but also in neighboring Iran, Iraq, and Syria. For a long time Diyarbakir was suspected by the Turkish authorities of sheltering "terrorists" from the Kurdish independence party, and it was affected by the independence clashes of the '80s and '90s, but nowadays it seems to have become calm again, which is good.
The old town of Diyarbakir
Travel writer
17 travel articles

Considered as the capital of Turkish Kurdistan, Diyarbakir is a very beautiful city overlooking the Tigris Valley and encircled by walls dating from the Roman Empire.

My suggestion:
I recommend that you have dinner at a cabaret. There you can listen to Kurdish music while drinking the traditional raki. Be careful: the proverb says that after the first glass everything is fine; after the second, you laugh; and after the third, you cry.

I travelled to Diyarbakir for Newroz, the most important Kurdish festival, which is celebrated on 21 March. As you will have realised, it is spring! But it is also the Persian New Year. And, though the event attracts more than a million people, it is because it is also—and most importantly—a symbol of Kurdish identity and resistance. In Turkey, it is sometimes a sensitive subject... But for travellers, it is the ideal opportunity to become immersed in the Kurdish culture!

I made the most of the opportunity to stay two more days in the city, which has a lot to offer: its architecture made of black stones, its market, its tea salons, its cabarets, its history, its welcoming inhabitants, etc.

I recommend that you go for a walk along the high walls of the city. After the Great Wall of China, it is—it seems—the widest and longest wall in the world (in good condition). If you have a sharp eye, you can observe the different symbols engraved there by the civilisations that came one after the other in Diyarbakir. From the top of some bastions, you can admire the Tigris Valley and—if the weather is clear—see the snow-covered peaks of the mountains.

The relationship between the Kurdish people and the Turkish government is strained, so steer clear of all the political demonstrations, which are sometimes put down with considerable force.