Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Diyarbakir, Kurdish Turkey

Day 1 in Diyarbakir: After eating a meal of Kurdish traditional dishes and a semolina helva dessert, we marched through the Diyarbakir streets towards to the far gate of the city to watch the sunset. The huge city wall of Diyarbakir is supposedly the second largest continuous, and ancient wall in the world, second after the Great Wall of China.
the walls of Diyarbakir 
The wall, called Keciborcu (ke-chee-bore-ju), was a nice walk through the center of town towards the outskirts. We watched the pumpkin orange sky fade into shades of purple, the Tigris River to our backs and the call of the muezzin ringing harmoniously throughout the skies. The fortresses surrounding the city still stand proudly, whispering the tales of greatness from centuries past. Amidst the wind and chatter rise voices of Turkish and Kurdish, highlighting the tense politics that seems to simmer quietly in this city of the east. Seeing the bounty of the Tigris in person is like learning world history all over. This is the place where civilization began; the roots of the human race. The same place where another nationality fights for their recognition. A quite contentious issue, it is only in Diyarbakir that I've been able to hear the other side.

Omer, a tour guide at the hostel we stayed at, when we mentioned we were from Duzce said "** etc...fascists!" Clearly taken aback, I simply chose not to respond, honestly knowing quite little about the subject, but simply said, the people in Duzce are very kind and welcoming, which is one-hundred percent true. But even with open hostility, the Kurds prsent a beautiful city aglow with the green lights of the assans, the pounding of drums in the distance and the gentle sounds of wind across the vast plains of Mesopotamia. I feel at home here, it reminds me of a quieter Egypt- a bit grittier, a bit more "eastern," and more flavor. The city is quietly alive with a buzzing passion. 

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