|The road from Has Bahçe to the bridge|
A special part of spring in Hasankeyf is watching hundreds of sheep and goats bring traffic to a halt as they pass through narrow streets and cross the bridge. It's a tradition that goes back as long as nomads have inhabited the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
This is the seasonal migration from summer to winter grazing pastures. Shepherds lead their flocks toward the highland pastures around Lake Van in May and back toward Nusaybin in early fall. Three or four times a day, traffic comes to a halt as shepherds lead their flocks across the bridge.
|Crossing the Tigris at Hasankeyf|
This annual migration is just one of several ancient patterns of life that will end with the completion of the Ilısu Dam and its 400-square-kilometer lake. Another tradition threatened by the Ilısu project is the harvesting of wild herbs. Local residents like to point out that you don’t have to be rich to eat well in Hasankeyf, you just have to know which plants are edible and how to prepare them.
Herbs like hardal (mustard), doluk (Malva vulgaris or Malva) and istirzek* are prepared like spinach and served either as a side dish or mixed with eggs.
|Istirzek is harvested until the spiky flower appears|
|The stem of some thistle species is eaten raw|
|Peel the leaves and skin|
|Mustard blossoms by the Imam Abdallah Tomb|
*Istirzek is Kurdish or Arabic. If you know the Turkish or English word for this plant, please fill us in!)