South-East Turkey: Diyarbakir | Hasankeyf | Mardin | Urfa

On a whim my exchange mate Charles from the UK asked me if I was interested in joining him to explore South-East Turkey. With little knowledge of what lay in the region I decided to join him, hoping that whatever we discovered would be memorable. Our trip began with a flight from Istanbul to Diyarbakir, we then used buses to travel to Hasankeyf, Mardin, and Urfa (officially Sanliurfa). This 4 part series will take you through each city we visited on this trip.


The meaning of Diyarbakir is the land of Copper. This city of 800,000 plus residents is primarily a composed of Kurdish people. According to some of my Turkish friends they would never go there as a Turk, but as a foreigner we would be fine. As soon as we landed I felt  uneasy from the sound of more than 5 fighter jets taking off and flying  close overhead. Given that only several days ago Turkey shot down a Syrian fighter jet this was not a comforting site. However, after that besides a few helicopter spotting’s no more activity was seen in the sky.

There are several attractions in Diyarbakir, but the one we had primarily come to see was the city’s ancient walls. They are actually the second largest city walls in the world after the Great Wall of China. The walls were built in Anquity (a period before the middle ages), and then built farther by the romans in the 4th century. The walls were easy to access. There was no security or barriers, and you could walk on them as you please. Even at the highest points there was no barrier to protect or stop you from falling over the edge.

Besides these walls however Diyarbakir did not have much to offer. Walking towards them one of my travel companions was spat at by a young boy. Also walking near the walls young children through rocks in our direction. It did not seem like they were trying to hit us, but rather throw the rocks close without hitting us. Either way it did not make me feel very welcome. After spending only a couple hours in Diyarbakir we asked around and were able to locate a bus that would take us to Hasankeyf. Click here for Part 2.

South-East Turkey: Diyarbakir | Hasankeyf | Mardin | Urfa