Photograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Archive of the Department of Art History, Ege UniversityPhotograph: Archive of the Department of Art History, Ege UniversityPhotograph: Archive of the Department of Art History, Ege UniversityPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet KoştumoğluPhotograph: Mehmet Koştumoğlu


Name of Monument:

Diyarbakır Citadel

Location:

Diyarbakır, Turkey

Date of Monument:

Harput Gate: Hegira 297 / AD 910; Mardin Gate: Hegira 297 / AD 910; Melikshah Tower: Hegira 464–85 / AD 1072–92; Urfa Gate: Hegira 579 / AD 1183; Ulu Beden (High Wall): Hegira 605 / 1209; Yedi Kardeşler (Seven Brothers) Tower: Hegira 596–619 / AD 1200–22

Architect(s) / master-builder(s):

Harput Gate and Mardin Gate: Ahmed bin Cemil el-Amidi (Ahmad bin Jamil al-‘Amidi); Ulu Beden (High Wall): Ibrahim Caferoğlu (Ibrahim, son of Ja‘far); Yedi Kardeşler (Seven Brothers) Tower: Yahya, son of İbrahim aş-Şarafi (Yahya, son of Ibrahim al-Sharafi); Keçi Burcu (Goat Tower): Nasır bin Habib; Melikşah Tower: Ebi Nasr Muhammed bin Abd-ül-Vahid (Abu Nasr Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahid).

Period / Dynasty:

Originally built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine in AD 349. Additions and repairs made in the Byzantine, Abbasid, Marwanid, Artuqid and Seljuq periods

Patron(s):

Harput Gate: Caliph Muqtadir (r. AH 295–319/ AD 908–32); Mardin Gate: Caliph Muqtadir (r. AH 295–319/ AD 908–32) and Nisanoğlu al-Muayyad (al-Muayyad, son of Nisan, AH ?–540 / AD ?–1145); Melikşah Tower: Sultan Malik Shah of the Great Seljuqs (r. AH 465–85 / AD 1073–92); Urfa Gate: Muhammad, son of the Artuqid ruler Qara Arslan (AH 562–81 / AD 1167–85); Ulu Beden (High Wall) and Yedi Kardeşler (Seven Brothers) Tower: Artuqid ruler al-Malik al-Salih Mahmud (r. 597–619 / 1201–22).

Description:

The city known since ancient times as Amida, Kara-Amid, and Diyar Bakr was renamed Diyarbakır in 1938. The largest city in southeast Anatolia, it was founded on a 650-m high plateau on the right bank of the upper Tigris River. The city, which is completely surrounded by walls, covers an area measuring 1700 m from east to west and 1300 m from north to south; the city walls total 5 km in length. The walls rise above steep rocks in the east, and are surrounded in other places by moats approximately 6 m deep and 15 m wide, today mostly filled in with earth. The main wall ranges from 8 m to 12 m in height, and 4 m to 5 m in width. The walls are reinforced with 78 towers and a gate on each of the four cardinal directions. These are known as the Tigris or New Gate (east), Harput or Mountain Gate (north), Urfa (Rum, or Anatolia) Gate (west), and Mardin Gate or Bab al-Tell (south). The inner fortress, the original site of the city, has an additional, hidden gate leading to the bank of the Tigris (the Oğrun Kapı or 'Secret Gate'). Other than the fortress mosque, buildings known to have existed within the inner fortress, such as the Artuqid Palace and the Bıyıklı Mehmed Pasha Mansion, have not survived.
Three large towers, their decoration known to have been added in the Turkish period, and surviving for the most part in good condition until the present day, are worth noting. The Ulu (or Evli) Beden (literally High Wall), located between the Urfa and Mardin Gates, has a semi-circular plan. The top and bottom parts of the inscription on its façade feature double-headed eagles, two human-headed lions, and two bulls. The Yedi Kardeşler (Seven Brothers) Tower resembles the Ulu Beden (High Wall) in both its plan and façade decorations; the inscription on its exterior is also decorated with a double-headed eagle and two lion figures. The Keçi Burcu (Goat Tower), near the Mardin Gate, is not decorated, although it does have an Arabic inscription in kufic script.
In addition to towers, the four main gates opening into the city are decorated with symbols of power such as double-headed dragons, hunting horsemen, lions, and scenes of combat between lions and bulls.
The walls of the fortress are mostly built of dark basalt cut stone with white limestone here and there.

View Short Description

The fortified walls encircling the old city of Diyarbakır are approximately 5 km long and have survived in good condition to a great extent. The fortifications, renowned for the decoration on the bastions and gates, underwent alterations during Roman, Byzantine, Abbasid, Marwanid, Artuqid and Seljuq periods. The Artuqid palace and Bıyıklı Mehmed Pasha mansion known to have been located within the citadel have not survived.

How Monument was dated:

The fortress is known from historical documents and stylistic considerations to have been built in the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Repairs and additions made in later periods are known from inscriptions found on the walls. The most noteworthy among these inscriptions are as follows: The Harput Gate was built in 297 / 909 and repaired in 447 / 1056; The Urfa Gate was repaired and altered in 579 / 1183; The Mardin Gate repaired and altered in 297 / 909 and in 540 / 1145; The Ulu Beden (High Wall) and Yedi Kardeşler (Seven Brothers) Tower repaired and altered in 605 / 1209; Keçi Burcu (Goat Tower) was repaired and altered in 420–9 / 1029–37.

Selected bibliography:

Gabriel, A., (trans. K. Özsezgin), Diyarbakır Surları [Walls of Diyarbakır], Ankara, 1993.
Sönmez, Z., Başlangıcından 16. yüzyıla kadar Anadolu-Türk İslam Mimarisinde Sanatçılar [Artists of Anatolian Turkish-Islamic Architecture, from the Beginning to the 16th Century], Ankara, 1995.
Sözen, M., “Diyarbakır: Its History, Settlement Plan and Problems”, Urbanism in Islam (Icuıt II), Tokyo, 1994, pp.123–4.
Strzygowski, J., and van Berchem, M., Amida, Heidelberg, 1910.
Yinanç, M. H., “Diyarbakır”, İslam Ansiklopedisi [Encyclopaedia of Islam], Vol. 3, 1945, pp.610–26.

Citation of this web page:

Ertan Daş "Diyarbakır Citadel" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2022. 2022. https://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=monument;ISL;tr;Mon01;2;en

Prepared by: Ertan DaşErtan Daş

Dr Ertan Daş is an assistant professor in the Department of Archaeology and Art History, Faculty of Letters, Ege University, Izmir. Born in Afyon, Turkey, in 1963, he graduated from that department, in 1986 and started working there as an expert in 1988. He completed his MA at the same university in 1997 with a thesis entitled “Turkish Monuments in Afyon”, and received his Ph.D. with a thesis entitled “Early Ottoman Turbes in Anatolia (1300–1500)” in 2001. He has published on the burial traditions of Turks, turbes (mausoleums) and tombstones, and onTurkish architecture including hans (inns), hammams (bath-houses) and mosques.

Translation by: Barry WoodBarry Wood

Barry Wood is Curator (Islamic Gallery Project) in the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He studied history of art at Johns Hopkins University and history of Islamic art and architecture at Harvard University, from where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2002. He has taught at Harvard, Eastern Mediterranean University, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has also worked at the Harvard University Art Museums and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. He has published on topics ranging from Persian manuscripts to the history of exhibitions.
, İnci Türkoğluİnci Türkoğlu

İnci Türkoğlu has been working as a tourist guide and freelance consultant in tourism and publishing since 1993. She was born in Alaşehir, Turkey, in 1967. She graduated from the English Department of Bornova Anatolian High School in 1985 and lived in the USA for a year as an exchange student. She graduated from the Department of Electronic Engineering of the Faculty of Architecture and Engineering, Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, and the professional tourist guide courses of the Ministry of Tourism in 1991. She worked as an engineer for a while. She graduated from the Department of Art History, Faculty of Letters, Ege University, Izmir, in 1997 with an undergraduate thesis entitled “Byzantine House Architecture in Western Anatolia”. She completed her Master's at the Byzantine Art branch of the same department in 2001 with a thesis entitled “Synagogue Architecture in Turkey from Antiquity to the Present”. She has published on art history and tourism.

Translation copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: TR 02

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