Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hasankeyf Castle closed (again); spotlight shifts to lower city and townsfolk

The castle is out of the picture for now
The castle at Hasankeyf has once again been closed for an indefinite period. It had previously been closed for several months in 2010 after the side of a cliff fell. When it reopened in mid-2011, visitors were restricted to a small area around the Great Mosque, and most of the 2,350-square-meter fortified city was off-limits.

Rumors preceding yesterday’s closing (announced quietly in Hasankeyf at the close of business on Friday) have raised anxiety among local workers and merchants about the economic impact on tourism.

“No one will come to Hasankeyf if the castle has been closed,” observed Hasan, a local shop worker, reflecting a pervasive sense of pessimism. “Hasankeyf is slowly being squeezed to death,” commented a store owner.

A two-hour walk through town and gardens
To counter the negative effect of the closing, a group of local archaeologists and teachers is developing new itineraries for Hasankeyf's Lower City. Necdet, the group's leader, says one can cover the full expanse of the medieval city in two hours, or spend days exploring the caves and archaeological sites more thoroughly.

Another effort is using photography, storytelling and singing to bring people together to reminisce and think about ways to sustain the living heritage of Hasankeyf. Amateur photographers from Hasankeyf are organizing a photo-sharing event as part of the 2nd Hasankeyf Ingathering/Hasankeyf Buluşması, September 6-9. Everyone is welcome. It’s the perfect time to enjoy Hasankeyf’s renowned figs and grapes.

Figs and grapes picked fresh each morning!

No comments:

Post a Comment