Hasankeyf is established along the Tigris River, at a quite strategic point on a passage route from Upper Mesopotamia to Anatolia. This city’s name, taking different forms of pronunciation in the languages of local people, who have lived there in various periods, means “suitable for protection”. It is possible to see the traces of the accumulation for thousands of years in this geography where near-eastern cultures are mixed up with Anatolian cultures. Hasankeyf that may be called a museum-city; is the capital of caves of Mesopotamia, the northern passage on the Tigris called ‘the earth’s paradise’ in ancient times, the center of the Southeast made on the rocks like an embroidery article thousands of years ago, the capital of Artuqids and the perfect combination of Roman, Byzantine, Sassanian and Arabian civilizations. In these frames where photography artists with different styles meet their points of view of with the audience through their lenses; the time stops with the blessing of a geography, the naivety of its people and wild and angry roars of the waves on the Tigris and Euphrates as well as the calmness of thousands of years hidden in the structures.It is not possible to freeze the time as in these frames. But, we are able to protect and maintain these lands and the ones they shelter. Hasankeyf situated on the holly lands of Mesopotamia which is the cradle of cultures that had hosted three large civilizations in the past is now in danger… We do not have the right of destructing these cultural assets reaching us after a long journey of thousands of years while it is a fact we should not forget that we also have the responsibility to pass them along the next generations.
Hasankeyf through Ara Güler's lens, 1974.
Rising of hopes... The water is like the barrel of a gun put on the city’s forehead today. The water doesn’t hear its voice and clouds are far away. Hasankeyf is going away from our hands.
Zeynel Bey Tomb and the kids
Have you ever seen how the Tigris turns to red and my purple silhouette falls on the river at sunsets? Have you ever witnessed how the people from almost all nations and religions worked on me like an embroidery article for thousands of years? In fact, I’m the cradle of civilization.
Photograph (2010) by Okan BayülgenRezan Has Museum
Hasankeyf is a puzzle to be solved using your wisdom, your ideas and your heart... Come on you, the brave ones, this incredible world heritage is yours... Don't leave it drown in water. Come on my brave people. Do you know Hasankeyf? You can't.
Grandpa Mehmet Şakir (Orak) "For 70 years they keep saying that they'll build a dam"... (Hasankeyf)
Cherishing the sight
The Byzantine King has ordered 'construct a castle!'. They made their castle on massive rocks along Tigris River. They made tunnels to the banks of the river from inside the castle, not to become without water in the case the city is blocked by the enemies. They took mules to the river through these tunnels. My city has never been without water at all.
Photograph (2010) by Zekai DemirRezan Has Museum
Everbody is from Keyf
The gold-colored river flowing is presenting an unmatched beauty to last glances touching them. Last lullabies are melting in the Tigris flowing away and Hasankeyf is singing goodbye songs into the children's eyes looking at it...
Photograph (2010) by Saygun DuraRezan Has Museum
Grief of the water, Hasankeyf
The insatiable time is flowing down and the water is rising. It beats whatever comes in front of it. The city caught in the nets of destiny, is now defeated...
Agha's House, Kasr Salon (Chalet)
I hosted my people in thousands of 'cave houses'. They had their caves inside my soft rocks. I prospected the people sheltered and lived here in me from hot weather in summers and from cold in winters.
Shores of Tigris
When you talk to the people in Hasankeyf you notice how everyone protects this historical heritage lying along the Tigris River flowing with a guarding sound, in other words the past...
Photograph (2010) by Levent YalınayRezan Has Museum
City of dreams
Hasankeyf is going away from our hands. Its cries are not heard anymore. The restless steps of the Tigris cannot be stopped. Hasankeyf wants to satisfy the day with its lyrical beauty while the stars falling down from the sky are shining on the water.
Window opening to the past
Everbody says the same: "We will not let them build the future by destroying our past. They should go and stop the Tigris River at another place..."
Hasankeyf'i Bilir Misin? by Rezan Has Museum, Okan BayülgenRezan Has Museum
- Project Manager: Özhan Carda in the name of Photographers Without Borders
- Editor: Zeynep Çulha
- Texts : Celal Başlangıç, Mithat Bereket, Okan Bayülgen
- Translation: Hande Altuğ Sangar