Where to Visit in Siirt

Siirt is a city in the Siirt District of Siirt Province in Turkey. It had a population of 160,340 in 2021. The city is divided into the neighborhoods of Afetevlerı, Alan, Algul, Bahçelievler, Barış, Batı, Conkbayır, Çal, Doğan, Dumlupınar, Halenze, İnönü, Karakol, Kooperatif, Sakarya, Tınaztepe, Ulus, Ülkü, Veysel Karani and Yeni.

Previously known as Saird, in pre-Islamic times Siirt was a diocese of the Eastern Orthodox Church in Byzantine Greek. In the medieval times, Arzen was the main city and it competed with Hasankeyf over the control the region, Siirt was only to become a center of the region in the 14th century. But it was still dependent from Hasankeyf until the 17th century. An illuminated manuscript known as the Syriac Bible of Paris might have originated from the Bishop of Siirt’s library, Siirt’s Christians would have worshipped in Syriac, a liturgical language descended from Aramaic still in use by the Syriac Rite, Chaldean Rite, other Eastern Christians in India, and the Nestorians along the Silk Road as far as China. The Chronicle of Seert was preserved in the city; it describes the ecclesiastical history of the Persian realm through to the middle of the seventh century. From 1858 to 1915 the city was the seat of a bishop of the Chaldean Catholic Church. Most of the city’s Assyrians, including Addai Scher their archbishop were murdered during the Assyrian genocide along with the loss of artefacts such as the Syriac manuscript of Theodore of Mopsuestia’s De Incarnatione.

The city’s landmark is the Great Mosque (Ulu Cami) built in 1129 by the Great Seljuk Sultan Mahmud II who belonged to the main branch of the dynasty that ruled from Baghdad after the Seljuks had split into several branches. The mosque was further developed by the Ottoman Empire. The mosque was restored in 1965.

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