Hasankeyf No More

Knowing that it would probably be the last time I would see the ancient city of Hasankeyf, I visited eastern Turkey in 2013. I had visited the site a few years earlier, but this time the local residents seemed more dejected, resigned to the fate of the ancient settlement. Dam construction had already begun and the wheels of destiny were already in motion. Seven years later, the dam has been completed and the waters of the ancient Mesopotamian River (the Tigris) are slowly covering the site. The Ilisu Dam will provide southeastern Turkey with electric power for the years to come, but the historical and cultural loss to Turkey and the world is immense. The settlement on the Tigris was established around 1800 BC and had been continuously occupied up until now. The town is now abandoned and the bridge crossing the Tigris River to the town will be covered by the end of the day. In the months to come thousands of ancient rock cut cave homes will be underwater. Through the years Hasankeyf had been an important town on the Tigris, today it is drowning in its own waters. I wrote my name on a small stone near the river. Today, my name is at the bottom of Hasankeyf.

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