Atatürk Lake ferry crossing point                                          Population: 230,000

siv1There is no particular reason why anyone would make a special trip to Siverek on the eastern shore of Lake Atatürk (Atatürk Gölü) except that it has a ferry service which makes it possible to get from Diyarbakır to Adiyaman and Kahta or vice versa without driving all the way round the south side of the lake.

On the other hand if you find yourself with time to wait between ferries the historic centre of Siverek is only a short walk away from the bus terminal and featrues a number of interesting buildings. The market is also interesting, featuring lots of fresh tobacco, many mauve headscarves and an unexpected line in miniature metal baby's cradles painted in gold.

Listen carefully and you will hear people speaking Zaza, the local Kurdish language. Here, too, you will start to see Kurdish women in their colourful clothing usually covered here with a navy-blue cloak with a wide border called an aba.

Around town

There are a handful of interesting buildings around town if you want to take a quick stroll. The first is the stone Eski Hükümet Könağı, built to house government offices in 1907-08, badly damaged by fire in 1980 and restored to house the local library in 1999.

Facing it across the road is what started life in 1908 as the matching Gazi Paşa İlkokulu (primary school) but which is now an Anaokul (preschool).siv2

Also nearby is the two-storey stone-built Cudi Paşa Konağı, originally built to serve as a han but converted to act as as a station by the eponymous Cudi Paşa in 1903.  In 2006-07 it was restored to serve leisure purposes and now houses a cafe and the Paşa Konağı Restaurant. Its walls also feature copies of photos of local people taken at the end of the 19th century by the German photographer Max von Oppenheim.

On Hürriyet Caddesi, the Ulu Cami was created from a church in 1701, although its minaret is said to date from 1574. It is not as impressive a building as the elegant porticoed Çeribaşı Hüseyin (Sulu) Cami. 

siv3Nearby is the colourful covered market with, buried inside it, the Eski Hamam, newly restored to house sıra geceleri entertainments, and an old basalt-walled han that now has a cafe on its upper floor. There's also a wonderful old-fashioned tea garden round a fountain that was once the main meydan (square). It reminded me slightly of the lovely Gümrük Hanı in Urfa's bazaar. 


Hotel Siverek. Tel: 0414-552 3232

Transport info

There are eight ferry crossings a day from Kahta to Siverek and vice versa. Onward transport into Kahta and on to Diyarbakır or Şanlıurfa is timed to meet the ferries.200 DSC03532

If you're travelling between Şanlıurfa and Diyarbakır and don't want to bother with making a reservation on a direct bus Siverek serves as a natural changeover place for connecting minibuses. 

To confuse matters there are two separate minibus terminals in the centre of Siverek. The larger one is for the Urfa and Diyarbakır buses, the smaller (between the Siverek Hotel and the Çeribaşı Hüseyin Cami) for the ferry-bus link to Kahta. A timetable is posted in the latter terminal but in reality the minibuses only leave when they are full - which can take several hours! 

siv4Wedding paraphernalia in the colours of Kurdistan

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