Zeugma – Belkis

Before you go to see the ruins of the ancient city of Zeugma in the village of Belkis, 1 0 km from the town of Nizip on the road to Urfa, you should first see the artefacts from Zeugma displayed in the Gaziantep Museum. The efforts to salvage as much as possible from Zeugma, on the banks of the Euphrates, whose full extent was not revealed before much of the site was flooded, only began in 1996. International support, including funding and the advice of experts, helped to save many priceless mosaics and artefacts before the ruins became inundated. The first settlement on this ancient site dates back to 3,000 BC. In 64 BC, the city became a part of the Roman Empire and was renamed Zeugma. The artefacts, mosaics and statues excavated from this ancient site, which covered a total of 20,000,000 square metres, are displayed at the Gaziantep Museum. The excavation in the upper area of the city, above the rising waters, continues.

Rumkale and Kargamış Barajı (the Carchemish Dam)

The Carchemish Dam, to be built on one of the arms of the Euphrates River, will flood other parts of historical site, with archaeologists working against time to salvage relics from the area. Already flooded by the Birecik Dam is the small town of Halfeti, from where you can take a half hour boat trip to Rumkale and there see the spectacular Rumkale Monastery, once an Armenian place of worship. While it was difficult in the past to reach Rumkale, with the waters filling the valley it has gained another dimension and is seen as a destination of interest by visitors of all faiths.

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