‘Golden triangle’ of Mesopotamia awaits eager tourists

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Located in the middle of a tourism route called the “golden triangle” of Upper Mesopotamia, the southeastern province of Diyarbakır’s Çınar district attracts attention with its cultural and natural riches.

The region has been home to many small and large-scale states throughout history as their plentiful natural resources have attracted the interest of people of different ethnicities, religions and cultures for thousands of years.

Built by the Romans in the fourth century and once a former key military base located on a trade route, the ruins of Zerzevan Castle await eager tourists with an interest in witnessing history.

The origin of the castle, which stands tall on a 124-meter hill, dates back to the Assyrian period in 8th century BC. At the time of the Romans, the castle was converted into a military post and was used to shield against Islamic armies until 639 AD.

The castle comprises of rampart remains that are 12-15 meters high and 1,200 meters long, 21-meter-high watch and defense tower, church, administration building, residences, grain and weapon stores, underground temple, shelters, rock tombs, water channels and 54 water cisterns.

Excavations also revealed the existence of a temple belonging to the pre-Christian cult Mithraism built for religious rituals about 1,700 years ago.

Apart from the castle, Lava Road, which was formed by the lava coming out of the 1,957-meter-high Karacadağ and where hundreds of volcanic caves are located, and the Karasu Stream, where there are dozens of large and small waterfalls surrounded by trees along the valley bed, is the main historical and touristic attractions of Çınar.

In an interview with state-run Anadolu Agency, Güher Sinem Büyüknalçacı, the governor of Çınar, said that nearly 69,000 foreign and 350,000 local tourists came to the district in 2019 to visit the historical settlement.

Noting that there are historical and natural buildings in the district as well as Zerzevan, Büyüknalçacı stated that they will add the Güzelşeyh Pavilion, which they started to restore, among the most must-see places.