Birkleyn Caves lures nature lovers to Turkey's Lice

After living under the shadow of the PKK terror group for decades, Lice, located in the rural part of Diyarbakır, has finally found peace, welcoming thousands of nature and nature sports lovers throughout the year.

Located 15 kilometers from the city center, Lice is home to a 3-kilometer trekking route starting from the Birkleyn Caves, where Assyrian inscriptions, reliefs and remains of the Byzantine era can be found.

The Birkleyn Suyu (Birkleyn Waters) where the Tigris is born, runs through the region creating three big caves that have been famous for centuries. The place where the Birkleyn waters flows underground through a natural tunnel before surfacing is called Birkleyn, or the Tigris Tunnel. In the ancient times, the place where the water disappears to flow underground was dubbed "end of the world."

Today, the spot is a major tourist attraction where nature lovers can trek and explore the area's natural wonders.

The biggest of the caves can host up to 3,000 people at a time, while the other two smaller caves run as deep as a kilometer. Although the majestic caves and the rough trekking route intimidate some, experts say it is a very safe route for explorers.

Once nature lovers finish this "parkour," they can change into their swimsuits and cool off in the Dibni Stream.

Fifty-year-old professional mountaineer Orhan Gider praised the trekking, saying all nature lovers should visit Lice at least once. Stressing the safety of the trek, Gider said: "There is no danger here; it is a place to see."

Adnan Karahan, 56, a nature sports enthusiast, said Lice is one of the best places in Turkey to discover nature and do sports.

"The Birkleyn Caves are not widely known by nature sports lovers, but I am sure that the region will gain popularity once it's promoted. Those who are interested in nature sports should do trekking here and explore the place," Karahan added.

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