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Diyarbakir - safty concern

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NJ
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Diyarbakir - safty concern

I'm planning a trip to Turkey in October. I'll spend 3 days in Istanbul, then fly to Cappadocia for 3 days 2 nights. From there on, I'm trying to find a local travel companion to take us to Nemrut, Diyabakir, Mardin, Midyat, Urfa and Harran (5 days, 4 nights). I've been reading about Diyabakir being a dangerous city, both because of crimes and the poltical situation. Should I avoid the city? Just take a tour on the city wall? Is this city really worth exploring considering the safty factor? Or should I just bypass it and devote more time to the other places mentioned above?

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1. Re: Diyarbakir - safty concern

Hi RH: There are problems in Eastern Turkey nowadays due to incursions by PKK insurgents fro the Iraqi side of the border. Here is a post that we had recently. Travel to Eastern Turkey past Mt. Nemrut should ALWAYS be done by travel companies.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293969-i367-k1234…

Eastern_Turkey_Travelers-Turkey.html

About Diyarbakir, I happen to like it very much and have been there multiple times while making my film in Eastern Turkey. There was a bombing there recently at a bus stop though. Here's what wikipedia has to say about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diyarbak%C4%B1r and there is lots of stuff to see anatolia.com/anatolia/…default.asp

Travelers to Eastern Turkey should note that there are military checkpoints, more of them now and one should not go about without their papers and obey all orders from the military promptly.

My friend in Diyarbakir says all is as usual there.

I would however avoid Mardin and Midyat at present. I know it is loss to miss the golden walls of Mardin and the Monastery in Midyat but at this time no one knows if there will military action against PKK in Iraq by the Turkish army. Try reading the Turkish Daily News each day for updates, www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/

I do suggest going to Dogubeyazit to see Ararat and my favorite place in Turkey, Ishak Pasha Palace.

I love East Turkey and have fond memories of my visits there, the people and the scenery. I certainly hope for peace in that area so people can enjoy it. Good Luck LL

NJ
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2. Re: Diyarbakir - safty concern

lemonlady: thanks for your information and advices. it's disheartening to hear about the situation in eastern turkey. Knowing what's happening, we have to give up our plan at least for Diyarbakir/Mardin/Midyat.

So now I'm wondering after Cappadocia, should we stick to our original plan to drive west to visit Pamukkale, Ephesus, Selcuk, Samos. Or, should we go to Nemrut Dagi and Urfa. It's a long journey to Nemrut and it's a shame not to be able to visit Mardin, etc.

How hard is it to visit Ishak Pasha and Dogubeyazit from Urfa? Can we do Nemrut, Ishak Pasha and Dogubeyazit in 5 days/4nights from Goreme?

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3. Re: Diyarbakir - safty concern

Hi Again: I think you can find a tour that will take you to Nemrut and beyond. Contact Rina at Insight Travel in Turkey info@tour-turkey.com, tell her Carol sent you. She routinely has tours going to East Turkey and will know what is safe and what is not. Ararat was wonderful ark or no ark and definitely a thrill to see. I will repost my Eastern Turkey posts for you: tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i2673-Eastern_T…

Good Luck and Happy Travel, LL

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4. Re: Diyarbakir - safty concern

Here's my Inside Page: Magic of Sanli Urfa

Sanli Urfa (Glorious Urfa) is a city in Eastern Turkey located on the plains of Upper Mesopotamia. Inhabited from ancient times it has been a home to Greeks, Romans, Persians, Urartians, Hurrians, and was annexed by the Ottomon Empire in 1637.

Sanli Urfa is also called the City of the Prophets. It is closely associated with the Biblical Abraham and attached to one of the Mosques is a cave which is reputed to be the birthplace of Abraham. Men and women enter separately and modest dress is required. Close by is the sacred fish pool. It is a large and beautiful pool filled with carp. The story is that Abraham having angered the local king by cutting off the heads of the idols was tossed into a firey furnace. Then a miracle occurred and the wood was transformed into carp and the fire into water. You can feed the carp (there are vendors of food next to the pool) but do not touch them please. Also they cannot be caught or eaten. It is said anyone eating these particular carp which are the descendents of Abraham's carp will go blind.

Attached to Mosque is a wonderful market, full of twists and turns and goods of all kinds. I especially liked the jewlery based on ancient designs and the beautifully sequinned caftans and it is because of my passion for shopping I got left behind in the market by family and guide. I was engrossed in buying and looking and talking and when I looked up everyone was gone. I did not panic but continued shopping and then went to the center of the market, sat down in a lovely spot and had tea, but no family, waited and then went to the Mosque entrance, still no family in sight. And that is when the magic of Sanli Urfa took over. As a lone American woman I attracted a lot of friendly attention. Someone found me a shady spot, put down a newspaper for me to sit on, brought me a cold drink, fanned me and comiserated with me about losing my family. The women came over to talk to me, brought their children, I showed them pictures of my children and grandchildren, I admired their caftans and earrings, they admired mine. The men wanted to talk to me about Turkey and the USA and how I liked Sanli Urfa. This continued for about 30 minutes until our very agitated guide came to retrieve me. I said good bye to my new found friends promising to return and to tell people in USA about Sanli Urfa, a promise I have kept. Off we went to see the old inns (hans) and the fortress and crusader castle. What a marvelous engineering feat to hoist those large stones many stories up. At lunch we ate the local speciality of Cig Kofte (raw meatballs), very delicious. Other choices are available for those who are faint-hearted. I told of my good time at the Mosque and listened to the recriminations of my family about how I lost them!!! After lunch we headed out to Hurran (about 20 miles away). Hurran was the home of Abraham until G-d told him to go to the promised land. The conical houses are so unique, constructed so that they are cool in summer and warm in winter. Even though it was a hot September day it was cool inside and we all had tea. Across from the houses are ruins of ancient Hurran. You can see where the Islamic University was and also the pilgrimage site for the Urartian moon goddess Sin. The walls of Hurran still stand. Throughout this busy day I kept thinking about the people at the Mosque, at how well we communicated even though my Turkish is limited and my Kurdish is non-existent. I felt the magic of Sanli Urfa through its people.

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5. Re: Diyarbakir - safty concern

And of course Sunrise on Mt. Nemrut:

Want to climb a mountain, see the heads of the gods? Then Mt. Nemrut is the place to go. One highlight that stands out for many in their travels to Turkey is seeing the sunrise on Mt. Nemrut. Mt. Nemrut is 2,150 meters high and is a national park located in Adiyamin province. ( www.adiyamanli.org). It was built by Antiochos the First one of the kings of the Kommagene dynasty which ruled that area from 80 BC to 72AD. Antiochus the First built the site as a debt of gratitude to the gods and to his ancestors and as an example of his piety to his people. Discovered quite by chance in 1838 by a German officer serving in the Ottoman army. In the 1880s books were written about the site but restoration did not begin there until the 1980's. The site was declared a national park in 1989. Once you get to the top you an see the amazing massive stone statues overlooking the terraces containing the heads of the gods. These statues are said to be in honor of Antiochos' ancestors. The heads of the gods (some of whom have toppled over) are as follows:

Apollo/Mithras

Artagnes/Herakles

Zeus/Oromasdes

Hera/Teleia

Helios/Hermes

Their names are given in Greek and Persian showing the comingling of religions at that time. The gods were headgear in the Persian fashion and the goddess Kommagene has a crown of fruit. They say Antiochos celebrated his birthday every month and expected all of his noble court to bring him a present up to him on Mt. Nemrut and whoever was so foolhardy to refuse was dispatched by having his head cut off. On the western terrace you can see a relief of the King shaking hands with the gods. This is repeated in sites nearby. There is a relief in the west court of a lion which is particularly interesting, it is decorated with a crescent moon and stars. It is a probably a horoscope of the King and they say it commerates the date he was enthroned.

Getting up there. In order to see all these wonders you have to go to the town of Karabut in Kahta. There are many tour companies that include Mt. Nemrut in the itineraries or you could hire a car and go yourself. My hotel recommend is the Hotel Zeus, comfortable rooms and good staff. To see the sunrise you must depart at 2am for a drive up the twisty, turny road to the mount. Or if you are not a morning person you can see the sunset, that tour departs at 2pm. Dress warmly, it is cold up there. You can walk up or you could, take a mule ride. The mule is guided by a very experienced mule driver with who has been guiding people for over 20 years.. Going up in the dark is fine, but coming down in daylight can be exhilirating, even scary. You can see the sheer drop down into the valley. The sunrise is breathtaking. The scenery in the area around Mt. Nemrut is some of the most beautiful in Turkey and there are other sites around the mount that are definitely worth seeing.including Arsemia and the Roman bridge. So if you want excitement, beauty and maybe a life changing experience go to Mt. Nemrut.

NJ
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6. Re: Diyarbakir - safty concern

lemonlady: thanks for the writeups on Urfa and Nemrut. So Urfa and Harran are still OK to travel to even though they're also quite close to the Syria border. Is it because they don't have a large population of Kurds? I may pursue this trip to Nemrut, Urfa and Harran and fly back to Istanbul from Urfa.

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7. Re: Diyarbakir - safty concern

Hi: there are many Kurds in Urfa but it is a very peaceful, rather religious and conservative place. Hurran is the place where the biblical Abraham set off for the present day land of Israel. You can see by my Inside Page on Sanli Urfa that our family was welcomed very warmly there. Hurran is amazing with its conical houses which you won't see elsewhere. I think Mt. Nemrut, Sanli Urfa and Hurran and flying back from Urfa to be doable and quite safe. LL

8. Re: Diyarbakir - safty concern

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