Batman's Hasankeyf expected to boost underwater tourism

Published 14.08.2017 00:00
Batman's Hasankeyf expected to boost underwater tourism

In the context of the Ilısu Dam Hydroelectric Power Plants' (HES) project, Cultural Heritages Preservation and Rescue Studies, one of the structures submerged by a dam, Zeynel Bey's Tomb, has been moved to a new location in Hasankeyf in Batman. Preparations are underway to move Imam Abdullah's Tomb, the Artuklu Bath, the minaret of the Er-Rızk Mosque, Orta Kapı, the Süleyman Khan Mosque, the Yamaç Complex, the Kızlar Mosques and the Koç Mosque.

In addition, improvements have been initiated for historical artifacts that are expected to be submerged by development of the dam; thus, the piers of the historic Roman Bridge, one of the symbols of Hasankeyf, will be improved, while limestone caves will be filled against downfalls.

A wall stretching 1 kilometer in length is being bonded to protect Hasankeyf Castle. To prevent possible damage to the castle, the wall as well as its stones, which are at risk of falling down at the areas closed to caterpillars, will be handled by mountaineers.

Hasankeyf District Governor Faruk Bülent Baygüven spoke to Anadolu Agency (AA) and stated that they have categorized the said HES project into two branches: underwater monuments and surface monuments.

Since they began work to improve monuments expected to be submerged under water and to protect immovable ones on-site, Baygüven said: "The expected amount allocated for improvement expenses is TL 100,000,000."

Noting that improvements are necessary to reopen Hasankeyf Castle to tourism, Baygüven added: "Studies will become effective in a short time. We are working on the piers of the historic Roman Bridge, which are to be submerged. There will be organized diving tours in the future."

The head of the Hasankeyf Cultural Foundation, Ahmet Akdeniz, said that the district will offer diving tourism along with improvements in the monuments, which will be submerged by the dam.

Akdeniz also stressed that the government has paid special attention to cultural heritage sites in the area, especially Zeynel Bey's Tomb.

Stressing that artifacts to be submerged are expected to contribute to underwater tourism, Akdeniz said: "These monuments will host their visitors underwater. As those who couldn't believe that Zeynel Bey's Tomb would be moved have witnessed its movement, people who don't believe that submerged monuments will attract tourism will later be able to enjoy underwater tourism in the future. Our district, which is typically known for its caves, will now be known for its underwater tourism as well."

Ali Ayhan stated that construction is being launched to better the district, adding: "All these works are conducted for the future of Hasankeyf. The government is protecting and improving our history for a brighter future."

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