Saturday, March 10, 2012

New construction in Hasankeyf

Following a tradition started by his father, Abdulkadir, Hasankeyf resident Fırat Argun plants trees each spring in his garden and surrounding fields. Around the time of Newroz, people from all over the world visit Hasankeyf to help with the effort.

Fırat knows the waters are coming to flood Hasankeyf, but that does not stop him from planting trees. Quoting the wisdom of the Prophet Muhammed, Fırat says, "Pray as though you'll die tomorrow, work as though you'll live forever."

Breakfast at Has Bahçe
(new guest house behind trees)
And despite the impending destruction of Hasankeyf, Firat decided to build a guest house at the back of his garden, with the idea that this would make it easier for visitors to spend more time in Hasankeyf and get a better feel for the place.

Once he built the guest house, however, officials filed a lawsuit against him for building on a protected site. Never mind that in the 1960s the Government built new houses on top of the archeological remains of the lower city to move people out of the caves.
March 2011 work begins on the new cafe.

Newly built cafe near gated entry to castle precinct
Of course, it's reasonable to restrict construction in and around important archeological site.

But many Hasankeyf residents complain that these restrictions have been used to suppress local initiative to improve the community.

It's surprising, therefore, to see a large new restaurant constructed last year at the entrance to the castle precinct. (Before and after photos at right)


The new restaurant (light-colored building in foreground)
built and opened in 2011, in a town where most locals
have been restricted from developing
their property and businesses.

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