Adiyaman, Turkey

An important touristic site, possessing great natural, historical and cultural values, is Adiyaman, situated in the southeastern part of Turkey. At an altitude of 669 m, the land is mountainous, the extensions of the Taurus Mountains covering the northern side. The famous Euphrates (Firat) River flows through the region and delineates the eastern and southern borders of the province.

Being very close to the plain of old Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Adiyaman has been a center of history having witnessing the earliest ages. There exist artifacts dating back to the 4th- millenium BC, like the paintings in the Palanil Cave. Signs of neolithic and calcholithic ages are found at the tumuluses of Gritille and Samsat. Changing hands from Hittites to Commagenes, then from Seljuks to Ottomans, this province has seen many civilizations, remains of which are spread all over the land.

95 kms northeast from Adiyaman, the impressive peak of Mount Nemrut is the most outstanding landmark of the region. It is the highest mountain of northern Mesopotamia, reaching a height of 2150 meters, and is a unique historical treasure possessing marvelous sights. On its summit there exists the tumulus of Antiochus I, one of the kings of Commagene, constructed in the 1stcentury BC. This mound, made by heaping up pieces of rock, is surrounded by terraces where gigantic toppled heads of Apollo, Zeus, Hercules, Tyche, and Antiochus from GrecoPersian style stone statues stand on the ground all of these date from the same period. At the foot of the ancient Nymphaios (Eski Kale), there is the magnificent relief of Hercules greeting the Commagene king, Mitradtes, and also evidence of remains which might have been the Commagene Palace of opposite, separated by the Eski Kahta river, are the remains of Yeni Kale (new castle) which was built by the Mameluks. Nearby are the remains of a Roman bridge at Cendere and the Karakus royal tumulus. The Derik and Gerger fortresses, the Palanil Cave, the Haydaran Rock Tombs, the Karadag Tumulus, Zey, Bestepeler and Malpinan are other historical sites worth visiting. Besides seeing these historical beauties, it is worth to climb here to feel the charm of nature, coupled with the fascinating views of sunrise and sunset.

Another interesting site is the necropolis of Pirin (Perre), 5 kms north of Adiyaman which is an ancient city of early Roman times. At this site also called the "Pirin caves" there are 208 tombs carved into the rock, with other remains some of which are still in use like the Roman fountain and Byzantine city walls. In addition to the historical many ruins in the area, the Ataturk dam, the fourth largest in the world, constructed across the river, Euphrates is here in this region being a special place of interest. This dam, 40 kms from Adiyaman, is the centerpiece of the enormous Southern Anatolian Project (GAP), provides for agriculture and energy and is worth seeing. The lake to be formed will become an important tourist center in the near future.

Other lakes found in this region are the Golbasi and Abdulharap Lakes beautifying the land with their wonderful scenery, and offering wide opportunities for fishing and hunting. The mineral springs of Celikhan, Kotur and Besni, on the other hand, are thermal centers to be visited for relief from various illnesses.

A last stopover in this city should be at the Adiyaman Museum, which houses archaeological finds from the area, together with the local ethnographic works. The specialty of the region is good quality kilims, woven with various colors and sold at low prices.