Siirt

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With a background of about 2 millennia, Siirt is a bridge between the civilisations of Anatolia to its west and Mesopotamia to the south.

According to archaeological studies conducted, Siirt was part of the Tel Halaf and al-Ubaid cultures of prehistoric Upper Mesopotamia. First the Semites established small settlements in the region and cities formed the basis of the first civilisations. Later,

Sumerians, Akkadians, Gutians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Mitannians, and Hurrians settled in the region. Later on, Siirt was a zenith of prehistoric civilisation during the period when Medes occupied the territory. During the reign of Cyrus the Great, the city came under the domination of Persians, and later it opened its gates to Alexander the Great and experienced one of the most significant developments of the Hellenistic culture. Later still it became the stage of the struggle between Parthians, Sassanids and Romans.

When the Islamic armies under the command of Ayaz ibn Ghanam and Khalid ibn al-Walid arrived in the region in 640 AD, the Patriarch of Siirt surrendered the city to the Muslim army.
With its strategic importance protected by unscalable mountains and undefeatable fortresses, Siirt, after the era of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, came under the successive domination of the Umayyad, Abbasid, Hamdanid, Marwanid, Artuqid of Hasankeyf, Zengid and Ayyubid dynasties. Following an intense immigration from Central Asia, the region was dominated by the Anatolian Seljuk Empire, and later the last ruler of Khwarezmid Empire, Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu controlled the region. Following the Mongol invasion in the 13th century, the chaos settled down and the Safavids and Akkoyunlu (lit. White Sheep Turcomans) developed the region once more. Siirt became a renowned centre of learning in the Islamic world during that era, and many madrasah (centres of education) were built, and a new crop of scholars, men of letters, geographers, astronomers, physicians, and statesmen were trained in those schools.

After the Battle of Caldiran the city was captured by the Ottomans, and in 1524 when the Ayyubid dynasty that owned the city was ended, it became a sanjak (an administrative division of the Ottoman Empire) attached first to the province of Diyarbekir, and later to the province of Van. When the eastern front of the First World War collapsed before the onslaught of the Russians, and Bitlis was occupied by them, Siirt had very difficult time, the city becoming a centre of the eastern front during the years of the War of Liberation. Following the declaration of the Republic, Siirt became the capital city of the province of the same name, and when Batman and Sirnak separated to became provinces in 1990 the province of Siirt was reorganised.

GEOGRAPHY
The province of Siirt is located in the north-easternmost corner of the South-Eastern Anatolian Region, and its neighbouring provinces are Van to the east, Bitlis to the north, Batman to the west, and Mardin and Sirnak to the south.

The province of Siirt occupies an area of 6,186 square kilometres and its population is 291,528. Its counties are Aydinlar, Baykan, Eruh, Kurtalan, Sirvan, and Pervari, each rich in historical structure and natural beauty. Siirt has a continental climate and each of the four seasons is marked with its most dominant characteristics. The flora of Siirt consists of a combination of that associated with Eastern Anatolian broad-leaf forests and the South Eastern Anatolian steppes.

RELIGIOUS TOURISM
Siirt is renowned in Anatolia as the “Land of Awliya” (Friends of God), and was most probably the city where the most number of scholars and men of religion were trained. Each of those personages has been a domain of cultural riches in their own right, and their stations today collectively illuminate the domain of religion in Siirt.

HAZRAT ISMAIL FAKIRULLAH
A religious scholar who lived between 1655 and 1734. In his own words, his greatest work was presenting Hazrat Ibrahim Hakki to the world of learning and religion. His tomb is in the County Town of Aydınlar (formerly Tillo).

HAZRAT IBRAHIM HAKKI OF ERZURUM
One of the important persons for the Islamic civilization. He was born in 1703 in the town of

Hasankale in the province of Erzurum. At a very young age he came to stay in Aydinlar (Tillo) with his father Osman Derviş, and became a student of İsmail Fakirullah. He lived out the rest of his days in the town and died there in 1780. He was a mathematician, pedagogue,
geographer, physician, and a poet. Renowned also for his astronomical research and books, he was famous for his remarkable installation that brought the first rays of the sunrise on the 21st of March, New Year’s Day, to the grave of his teacher Hazrat Ismail Fakirullah.

Hazrat Ibrahim Hakki commissioned a dry-stone wall on top of the hill overlooking the town, colloquially known as the Master’s Fortress (Kal’etül Üstad), in order to arrange that the sun’s rays passed through an opening in the wall to be focused and reflected by an arrangement of mirrors onto the headstone of the tomb of Hazrat Ismail Fakirullah, a few kilometres away in Tillo.
Of his 58 books the Marifetname (Book of Gnosis) is the best known. Marifetname is an encyclopedic work covering subjects ranging from astronomy to criminology, from biology to the physiological sciences, from medicine to geography. His Divan (collected poems) is also very famous.
He was buried in the tomb of his master Hazrat Ismail Fakirullah. The instruments he used for astronomic observation and his manuscripts are now on display in a special museum in the town.

The light-focusing installation built by İbrahim Hakkı after saying “If sun rays of a new year do not shine on my teacher’s bed, what they are good for.”

The Master’s Fortress
Kal’e-tul Ustad, is on top of a hill over­looking Tillo (Aydınlar). At the equino­xes of 21 March and 23 September when the sun is in the same relationship with the Earth s equator, the sun’s rays are focused by an opening in the dry stone wall onto a tower and reflected by mir­rors to shine on the headstone of the tomb of Hazrat Ismail Fakirullah. The device was rendered useless during the restoration that was carried out on the wall in 1960, but has recently been re-instated following significant research and effort.

HAZRET SULTAN MEMDUH

His real name was Sultan Mahmut and he lived between 1761 and 1841. He spent all his life in Tillo where he was born. In his youth he was taught by his grandfather Hazrat Ibrahim Hakki, who was one of the students of Hazrat Ismail Fakirullah, in grammar, literature, and Islamic studies such as tafsir (interpretation), hadith (statements and actions of the prophet) and fiqh (jurisprudence). His teacher awarded him the title of Memduh (from the Arabic, Mamdooh-praised). Sultan Memduh wrote a Divan (collected poems) that consisted of 47 thousand couplets, and he was the spouse of Zemzem’ul Hassa (Zamzam al- Hasa) who also attained the level of walayah (saintly guardian).
His tomb in Tillo (Aydinlar) is visited by tens of thousands every year. The remarkable metallic screen in the tomb is decorated with silver and glass depictions of heaven and hell.
SHEIKH HAMZA AL-KEBIR’S TOMB
The ancestors of this great man, I whose birthday is unknown, leads back to Khalid bin Valid, he lived in Tillo in the 13th century. His highness is proven in the related literature, especially in the identification by Hazrat Ismail Fakirullah. He reached to the level of Kutb’ul Attab (North Star) and became one of the important religious leaders of Tillo. Sheikh Hamza al-Kebir died in 1271. His holy grave is inside his tomb built for him in Tillo.

SHEIKH IBRAHIM AL-MUCAHID’S TOMB
Sheikh Ibrahim al-Mucahid is Sheikh Hamza al-Kebir’s son. This man, whose birthday is unknown, was born in Tillo and reached to the level of religious leaders. Hazrat Ibrahim Hakki mentions about many miracles of Sheikh Ibrahim al-Mucahid in his writings. It is said that he has a Divan (poetry book). He died in Tillo in 1262, before the death of his father. He was buried in the tomb built for him in the county.

ZEMZEM-UL HASSA (SUFERING CELL)
The birth date of this female evliya (Moslem Saint) and writer of Siirt is 1765 and the date of her death is 1852. She is Hazrat Sheikh Mustafa Fani’s daughter. She is a poet and well known with her Divan (poetry book). She lived a life of praying, allusion, and working for literature. She was buried in Hazrat Sultan Mahmud’s tomb.

Bediüzzaman Said-i Nursi who came to Tillo in 1890, stayed in this domed suffering cell named Kubbe-i Hasiye alone and memorized 1155 pages part of the dictionary named Kamus-u Okyanus (means a dictionary as wide as an ocean) until Babu’s-Sin (the letter “S”).

HAZRET VEYSEL KARANİ
The keeper of the Holy Mantle (Hirka-i Şerif) is a great man renowned for his love of his mother. As his father’s name was Amir, his full name was Uwais bin Amir al- Qarni (555-657). He lived during the lifetime of the Prophet Mohammad, and while he was not able to see him in person since he gave his word to his mother not to leave her, he is recognised as one of the sahabah (prophet’s companions).

He took part in the Battle of Siffin on the side of the Caliphate Ali, and died as a martyr there in 657. Three tribes went to collect his body, and the legend was that he miraculously appeared in three different coffins carried by each tribe. Consequently he had stations at the burial sites of three different tribes which included his tombs in Yemen and Damascus as well as in the town of Ziyaret in Baykan County of the province of Siirt.

The Holy Mantle (Hirka-i Şerif) that was sent to him has been guarded by his descendant at the Hirka-i Şerif (Holy Mantle) Mosque in Istanbul. The thirteenth century poet Yunus Emre wrote a ten-quatrain long poem in his honour entitled ‘Uwais al-Qarni in the land ofYemen’.

The Tomb of Hazrat Uwais al-Qarni is in the town of Ziyaret in the Baykan County in the province of Siirt, and every year more than one million domestic and foreign visitors visit the tomb.

WHERE TO GO?
Siirt is one of the prime sites for religious tourism and is a target for more than two million domestic and foreign visitors. Siirt has so many sites to visit, that the following are the “must see” sites:

– Baykan County
Hazrat Uwais al-Qarni (Veysel Karani)

Tomb of Sheikh Osman

– Tillo (Aydinlar)

Tomb of İsmail Fakirullah

Tomb of İbrahim Hakki of Erzurum

The Master’s Wall (Kale’t-ul Ustad) (The light-focusing installation)

Tomb of Sultan Memduh

Suffering Cell (Qilehane)of Zamzam al-Hassa

Sheikh İbrahim al-Mujahed

Sheikh Hamza al-Kabir

Suffering Cells (Prayer Cells)

Yeşil Şifali (the Green Healing) Well Tombs of Sheikh al-Hazeen (Village of Ferşaf)
House of Works of Ibrahim Hakki

These sites are at Tillo (Aydinlar), and consist of tombs, stations, suffering cells, and the madrasahs of many scholars and awliya dating back to the 13th century.
Tomb and Seat of Abdur Rahman bin Awf

One of the Ten Companions of the Prophet Mohammed who were Promised Paradise (al-Ashara al-Mubashir bi-l-Janna), and his station and tomb are in the Village of Yukon Balalar in the County of Pervari.

Grave of Mohammed Abu Hanifa

This personage was one of the descendants of Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib, and his grave is in the Village of Taşlı in the County of Şirvan.

 

HISTORIC SITES
There are tens of historical places to see in Siirt, which is a tourism center, with its mosques, madrasahs, churches, monasteries, historical urban architecture, old town, and castles.

Siirt Grand Mosque

One of the rare original structures of Seljuk architecture that has survived into our times. Although the actual date of construction isn’t known, it is one of the oldest mosques in Anatolia, dates back nine centuries, and has been restored several times during that period. The minaret was built with turquoise glazed tiles and is known to change its shape with the prevailing afternoon winds. The walnut minbar (pulpit) decorated with hand-painted ayah (verses) from the Qur’an al-Karim has been exhibited at the Museum of: Ethnography in Ankara.

Historical Cas Houses
Cas is a type of gypsum plaster, and a local building material in Siirt. ‘Cas’ houses were built of stone with gypsum mortar and plastered, generally of two or three storeys constructed with slanted and narrowing walls tapering towards the top. They are very eco-friendly structures.

SABAT (VAULTED PASSAGEWAYS)
Sabats are the vaulted passageways under the houses connecting adjacent streets and they are indispensable elements of the historical urban texture of Siirt. Sabats were a familiar structural element of Medina Azahara of Al-Andalus in present day Spain; since then have also been used in the old cities of Urfa and Mardin with varying names such as kab, kabat and kabaltı.

Among the most prominent accessories of the Siirt domestic architecture, the door knockers are really representative of the eastern civilisation. There are separate knockers for female and male visitors which have different sounds, so the household knows who is at the door by the tone of the knock.

THE MONASTERY OF SAINT JACOB

The Monastery of St Jacob (Deyr Mor Yakup Manastırı) is believed to be a Syriac Christian structure built in the 9th – 10th centuries. A devastating fire that took place in the 15th-16th century in the monastery engulfed numerous manuscripts. The ruins visible today are believed to be from the 18th century and are similar to local civil and religious structures In terms of construction technique and the materials used (Cas – gypsum mortar and plaster).

Situated on a hill over-looking the Botan River and the famous vineyards and pistachio orchards of Siirt. The Syriac Christian Monastery consisted of chapel, library, monks’ cells, guestroom, and refectory. The remaining ruins comprise some sections of the main chapel and the monks’ cells.

RUINS OF ANCIENT CITY OF ERZEN
The Ancient City of Erzen was known to belong at various times to the Assyrian, Roman, and Byzantine civilisations. Following the conquest of the region by the Islamic armies in the 10th century, it became one of the important cities of the medieval district of Dİyar-i Bekir. Because of its geographic location it has been the scene of many wars and invasions, and many sources indicate that its golden age was between the 11th and 15th centuries.

ŞİRVAN (KÜFRE) CASTLE
Şirvan Castle located 4km east of the city center and hosting many myths is named after the county where it is located. The castle that was situated on a natural rock overlooking the site resembles an eagle’s nest.

İRUN CASTLE
Situated on the climax of precipices 40 kms away on the north from Şirvan county. It has a connection through an underground tunnel to the river passing by the skirts of the mountain the castle is located.

DERZİN CASTLE
Watch towers of the castle built on precipices in the Byzantine era remained their existence until today. Locates In Derzin(Adakale) village of Baykan.

KORMAS FORTRESS
The fortress is in the Village of İncekaya, 10 km from the Şirvan County, and is believed to have been in use during the Byzantine, Seljuk, Marwanid and Ottoman eras. According to some sources, the present day ruins of the fortress are from the 17th -18th century Ottoman structure.

AQUATIC ARCHITECTURE

There are many ancient and modern bridges in Siirt, through which water ways flooding to Tigris River passes by.

Emir Nasreddin Bridge

Built on the old road between Siirt and Kurtalan to span the Başur Brook near the Village of Bostancik. It is believed to have been built between the 12th and 16th centuries, and the constructional technique, considering the bridge form of several arches carrying an inclined road platform, suggests the architecture of the Marwanid Period.

Çarpiran Bridge I

Built over the Bitlis Brook and located in Baykan County, it can be seen about 3 km along the highway from Baykan to Bitlis. The inscription plaque of the Dört Ulular Bridge has been lost. However its design, construction technique, and the materials used suggest an Ottoman Era structure.

Çarpiran Bridge II

These two historic bridges played an important role in carrying the caravans arriving from the south, especially from Cizre, over the river to transport their goods towards the trading centres of Eastern Anatolia.

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ARCHAEOLOGICAL HERITAGE
The book “Anabasis – the March of Ten Thousand” in which Xenophon recorded the expedition against the Persians, has been the basis for archaeological studies of the regions around Siirt.

1907 C. F. Lehmann-Haupt studied the Botan Valley in order to ascertain the route described by Xenophon. In 1963 R. Braidwood and H. Çambel studied the plains in the valleys of Batman, Garzan, and Başur and conducted some surface surveys along the Kurtalan Valley.

Between 1988 and 1990 G. Algaze carried out a larger surface survey in the region. In 2000 J. Velibeyoğlu and A. Schachner carried out intensive surface surveys and collection at the settlement sites established during the previous surveys, and in some areas that were not covered by the previous surveys, especially in the tumuli of Türbe and Çattepe.

When the recovery of cultural heritage in the area to be submerged by the proposed reservoir of the Ilısu Dam became the order of the day, all those studies conducted around Siirt were evaluated as a whole and excavations were planned and executed between 2002 and 2007 in

Türbe Tumulus in the province of Siirt. The excavations that were started in 2007 at the Başur Tumulus, and excavations that were started in 2009 at Siirt the Çattepe Tumulus in the Province of Siirt are still going on.

BAŞUR TUMULUS EXCAVATIONS
The unique Botan Valley, a big part of which will be covered by water after the completion of Ilısu Dam, is one of the valleys carrying water to Tigris River. Bitlis Stream coming from the north, floods into Botan Stream (Uluçay) while its name changes to Başur Stream around Siirt. Many streams and rivers feed the valley like Başur and Kezer. Bitlis Valley, through which the Bitlis Stream passes by, has been an important gateway between the Eastern Anatolia and Mesopotamia since the earliest era of history. Başur Tumulus located in the area at the south end of Bitlis River and the start of agricultural lands, has been in a distinguished area in terms of trade and cultural relations thanks to this geopolitical location, which is also a crossroads of the roads to the north, west, and the south of Siirt. Ruins of Uruk era found showed the importance of this center in 4.000 B.C.

WHERE TO VISIT?

–    Ulu (Grand) Mosque of Siirt

The mosque is in the city centre of Siirt and is remarkable for its Seljuk minaret.

–          Historical “Cas” Houses

The cas (gypsum plaster) houses can be seen in the city centre of Siirt as well as in Tillo (Aydınlar) County. They are remarkable for their unique local material as well as the tapering structures. The House of Culture in the city centre is one of these houses and must be seen.

–          Sabats

The vaulted passageways that are part of the urban architecture of Siirt will transport you to the spirit of the ancient cities.

–          St Jacob’s Monastery

The monastery is quite close to the city centre, and the vista from its archway over the Botan Valley is remarkable.

–          The Ancient City of Erzen

The ruins of this ancient city are in the County of Kurtalan.
–    The Fortresses of Şirvan

The medieval fortresses of Şirvan will take you back in time.

–          Bridges

The Emir Nasreddin Bridge, Çarpiran (Dört Ulular) Bridge, and Gerre Bridge are stone arched bridges of the Ottoman Era.

–          Thermal Springs

Billoris (Sağlarca) Thermal Springs (17 km along the highway from Siirt to Eruh)

Lif Thermal Springs (in the Village of Kişlacık near the city of Siirt)
Hista Thermal Springs (in the Village of Düğünyurdu in the County of Eruh)

–          Excavation Sites

Çattepe, Başur, Gusir and Türbe Tumuli

–          Complexes

The Religious Complex of Mir Nasir, The Gerre Caravanserai, The Xana Sor (Kızıl (Red) Han) Caravanserai, The Fountains of Şeyhül Naccar, Şeyh Musa and Ayn Sali

NATURAL BEAUTY
The Botan Valley, the stage for Anabasis – March of Ten Thousand written by Xenophon in 407 BC, contains a rich architectural and archeological heritage of structures such as tumuli, ancient roods, caves, ruins of churches, bridges, caravanserais, fortresses, mosques, and water mills.

SİİRT ALLEY

The 3500 years old antique road inherited from the Assyrian era, which had been used for international transportation once upon a time, remains as it is like the first day.

The antique caravan road Siirt Alley (means difficult gateway built by human beings in craggy places), which is one of the three alleys in the world, has a length of 2 kilometers and a width of 6 meters. The historical road was built by situating stones crosscutting the road in every three meters in order to prevent the stones in between to slide, which has been keeping the road safe and secure for many centuries until today. This historical road connects the center of Siirt to Botan Valley / Stream and provides a way for transportation to many countries like Iraq and Syria. According to Diyarbakir Seyahatnamesi (Diyarbekir Travelogue) written by Arifi Pasha in the second half of the 19th century, this road was being used at that time.

SIIRT CUISINE
The Siirt Cuisine where meat and cereal are commonly used is famous with both its high variety of meals and sophisticated tastes. Meals in which specific types of vegetables and herbs collected from the region are used prevails the richness and difference of the nutritional culture of the region.

SIIRT BURYANI / PERIVE (Roasted Lamb or Kid)
Büryan is a special roast of Siirt much loved by locals and visitors. Büryan is half-side of lamb or kid roasted hanging in the middle of three-metres deep wells lined with firebrick and heated by charcoal embers. It is available for the discerning customer from the early hours of the day.

EKŞİLİ SUMAKLI DOLMA
(STUFFED DRIED VEGETABLES SERVED WITH SOUR SUMAC)
Various dried vegetables such as dried bell peppers and aubergines are boiled until softened, water drained and then set aside to cool down. Meat is cut into small cubes, and mixed with chopped onions. Rice is then washed and added to the mixture, and the cooled rejuvenated vegetables are half-filled with this mixture. Pickled vine leaves are used to make rolls. The bottom of a large pan is covered with ribs and the stuffed vegetables and rolled leaves placed nearly on top. A small amount of water is added, and the pan brought to the boil on a high heat, then left to simmer on low heat. Just before the rice and meat are cooked, strained juice of sumac is added. Sumac is a tangy spice popular in the Eastern Mediterranean and the juice is obtained by pouring a small amount of boiling water on a bowl of sumac.

PERDE PİLAVI (RICE PACKED IN FILO PASTRY)
A thin layer of egg-pasta dough laid in a bowl, which is then filled with layers of par-boiled rice, fowl meat, and blanched almond halves to the brim, and closed with same filo-pastry. The packed bowl is turned upside down on a baking tray and removed, and the resultant pudding baked. The best-loved version is prepared with partridge or chicken.

SIIRT KOFTESI (WHEAT BALL STUFFED WITH MEAT)
Siirt Wheat ball Stuffed with Meat named locally as Kitel is made from the thin bulghur. Bulghur is molded with water to soften and turn into dough. Big wheat balls are prepared

by stuffing them with meat, rice, parsley, onion and some spice. Wheat bolls are cooked by boiling them. This meal is usually served together with okra or sour vegetable soups.

The wild spinach soup named Pırtıke is one of the most frequently served.

PRODUCE OF SIIRT
Many products are produced in Siirt, where handcrafts, farming, gardening, and herding is quite developed, from blankets to pistachios, from endemic pomegranate types to honey produced from a thousand different types of flowers.

Siirt Blanket

Siirt blankets are woven on local looms with mohair yarn spun with hand spinners, and they are finished by vigorous hand – brushing the woven fabric to create a rich pile nap. These worldwide famous blankets named after Siirt are produced as souvenirs and attract quite attention. It balances the temperature as produced from fine mohair.

Siirt Kilims (Rugs)
The Siirt Kilims are the product of a rich cultural heritage, each style having been developed with a particular story behind it. The colours and motifs of our kilims represent the feelings of the weaver. Siirt kilims are hand woven and laboriously dyed with natural dyes.

Coppersmiths

Siirt was one of the first centres in Mesopotamia where coppersmithing developed, and the expertise still flourishes in the land.

Siirt Pistachio

The pistachio variety named after Siirt has a taste and shape which is much in demand in recent times. They are unique in terms of low calorific value, and cholesterol-lowering and slimming properties.

Nodding tulips

(Fritillaria persica and Fritillaria imperialis)

Fritillaria or nodding tulips are locally known as “Weeping Bride’ and quite common in the higher parts of the County of Şirvan. They are endemic in the region, yellow, orange, and red colored flowers. The Assyrians called the fritillaries “weeping tulip” since nectar drips off the flower in the early morning; they were considered sacred.

Pervari Honey

The old-style beehives placed in altitudes from 600 to 1,900 metres produce a peculiar honey fed by the nectar of the plants of those altitudes that has a unique taste, aroma and colour. It is believed to help heal many problems including stomach disorders, and contributes to well-being in general.

Tayfi Grapes

Siirt is in the golden zone of agriculture, and its grapes are renowned. There are many varieties grown in the vineyards of Siirt, the principal ones being Bineteti, Sinceri, Heseni, and Tayfi. The Tayfi varieties are large table grapes with an exceptional taste. The vine was originally brought from Ta’if, a region of Saudi Arabia famous for its grapes, by immigrants.

COUNTIES
Siirt that became a city during Cumhuriyet era, has widened by adding Beyüşşebab in 1924 and Beşiri and Sason in 1926. However, Beytüşşebab was connected to Hakkari while it became a city again in 1936. The center of Garzan (Yanarsu) County moved to Mısrıç (Kurtalan), and the district that belonged to it before became a county. Hazo district of Sason became a county by taking the name “Kozluk” in the same year. The name of Garzan County and center was changed to Kurtalan in 1943. İluh which has been a district of Beşiri changed into a county with the name “Batman”. Mukus district of Pervari county (Bahçesaray) was connected to the Gevaş county of Van in 1962. Beşiri, Kozluk and Sason counties which belonged to Siirt, was connected newly founded city Batman in 1990. Sirnak county of Siirt and Güçlükonak district which was changed into a county by being separated from Eruh were connected to Sirnak in the same year, and Tillo district which was connected to the Central County was separated and turned into a county with name Aydınlar.

Recently there are six counties of Siirt which are Aydınlar, Baykan, Eruh, Kurtalan, Pervari, and Şirvan.

Aydınlar (Tillo)

The County of Aydınlar’s previous name was Tillo, which had the meaning of the “Luminaries” in Assyrian. It came under Ottoman rule following the victory of Sultan Selim I, the Grim, in the battle of Çaldıran in 1514. The county has a rich historic and cultural texture. There are several tombs and pilgrimage sites, so large number of visitors come to the county. The exceptional spirituality of the place is due to the life and burial of scholars and awliya (friends of God) including Hazrat İsmail Fakirullah, Hazrat İbrahim Hakki, Hazrat Şeyh Hamza El Kebir, Hazrat Şeyh Mücahit, Hazrat Gavsul Memduh, and Hazrat Zemzem-ül Hassa (a female wali (guardian)).

The county maintained its scholarly importance during the Ottoman Era. Sciences such as astronomy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and medicine taught at the local madrasahs (centres of education) reached quite advanced levels remarkable even by the standards of today.

Baykan
The county seat is located in the valley of the brook that flows from the province of Bitlis. The county is clad with emerald forests. Because of that natural beauty it is renowned as “Green Baykan”. The region was first dominated by the Medes, then after 504 BC by the Persians and in the 350s BC it was captured by the Macedonians. Then from 226 BC Parthians dominated the region, and later still the Romans conquered the land. After the Romans, the region came under domination of the Byzantine, Arabian and Seljuk Empires, and in 1526 it was incorporated into the Ilkhanate. The Safavids dominated the region from 1504, and in 1514 it was incorporated into the Ottoman lands. Baykan became a county on 11 June 1938.

Eruh
The date of initial settlement in the vicinity of Eruh remains obscure, however, it was known to be under Urartu dominatin from the first millennium BC. Later the region was dominated by Median, Persian, Seljuk and Ottoman Empires. According to the Yearbook of Diyarbakir for 1288 Hijri (1872 Georgian), Eruh was recorded as a Part of Siirt Sanjak which makes it the earliest established county of Siirt.

Şirvan
Şirvan came under Roman domination in 77 AD. It became part of the Byzantine Empire after 395 and then of the Sassanid Empire in 572. In the 700s it came under Arab domination and became an important region during the Marwani Period. Şirvan was taken over by Artuqid Dynasty in 1100, Following the Mongol invasion of 1242 it became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1514.

Substantial reserves of copper ore were found in the territory of the county, and subsequently the economy has enjoyed a great prosperity. The apparent reserves have been determined as 27 million tons. Animal husbandry and agriculture also play an important role in the local economy.

Kurtalan
The County of Kurtalan used to be part of the Şerafhan Principality and it was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1500. The county is on a major road and is a railhead terminus, so consequently quite developed and advanced economically. The largest industrial plant of the province of Siirt is the cement factory of Kurtalan.

Pervari
The region was occupied by the Persians in 550 BC, and later by the Macedonians. In the disintegration of 306 BC it became part of the Seleucid Empire. In 129 BC the Parthian Empire conquered the region, and in 77 AD it was incorporated into the Roman Empire. After the Mongol occupation in 1243, it came to be a part of the Ottoman Empire in 1514. It is renowned for its famous honey.

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