Take a boat ride and enjoy the new Diyarbakır ‘seaside’

A ferry glides across the Dicle Reservoir

September 06, 2011, Tuesday/ 13:45:00

A reservoir can change the appearance of an inland city; it can arouse a feeling that it is almost a coastal city. The Eğil district in Diyarbakır in southeastern Turkey is one of those places.

Here, you can take a leisurely boat ride or a more adventurous jet ski ride at Dicle Reservoir. The natural beauty of the area is complemented by its historical wonders, making Eğil a candidate for becoming one of the region's key tourist attractions.

This area, which is known as the land of prophets, saints and kings and a cradle of civilizations, now has a different appearance due to the water amassed in Dicle Reservoir. Eğil is a historical city 47 kilometers from Diyarbakır and is becoming very popular with visitors thanks to environmental monitoring and support efforts of the Eğil Governor's Office and the Karacadağ Development Agency.

One of the new tourist attractions, with the support of the governor's office, is powered paragliding. Local investors have also introduced jet ski hire for visitors. The road to the reservoir, which once could only be accessed on foot, has been renewed, enabling people to drive right up to the reservoir.

Enjoy a boat trip or ride a jet ski

Visitors are now able to take a leisurely boat ride around the reservoir and view the historic places along the shore. Following investments by Eğil residents, the number of boats available are being increased for the benefit of visitors. For the more adventurous there is also the option to hire a jet ski.

The Eğil Governor's Office and the Karacadağ Development Agency are also supporting initiatives to increase accommodation options in the area, with bungalows currently under construction in Eğil. The governor's office also plans to provide a sea bus, more jet skis and speedboats when the construction is completed. Currently there are a number of canoes and more than 10 boats available. As for food, visitors can choose from a variety of surrounding restaurants.

Ahmet Kara is a powered paragliding pilot who works at the Diyarbakır Bar Association. He said he comes to Eğil every weekend to paraglide. Kara said he enjoys the abundance of natural beauty in the area when he is up in the air.

Eğil is ready for faith tourism

In addition to its natural resources and attractions, Eğil is also home to the tombs of prophets and saints. The tombs of Aaron Asaf, Aaron, Dhul-Kifl and Elias are situated on a hill overlooking the reservoir. The Diyarbakır Regional Directorate of Foundations maintains the area around this hill, which is five kilometers from Diyarbakır.

Eğil still exudes the mystery inherited from the kingdoms and civilizations that once flourished there. Visitors are welcome to visit the ruins from the Urartian Kingdom, the Medes people, the Persians, the Armenians and the Parthian Empire and see areas that were inhabited through the periods of Alexander the Great, Tigranes the Great, Tamerlane, the Roman and Byzantine empire, the Seljuk Empire and the states of the Nisanoğulları, Akkoyunlular and Safavids.

Places to visit include the castles of Asur, Kalecik and Selman Cibeb, the tombs of various Assyrian kings, Taciyan Mosque, Nisanoğlu Tomb, the Şerbettin Han, Kasım Bey Dome and a local cave church. Visitors can also explore hidden paths from the Assyrian Castle to Dicle, including an escape route for the king and his family used in times of siege.

Dicle needs more publicity

The Karacadağ Development Agency has funded tourism projects in the area to the tune of TL 296,000. General Secretary İlhan Karakoyun presented the investments in the local historic sites at a recent media gathering with Governor Murat Büyükköse. Karakoyun pointed out the importance of the region and emphasized that their projects required greater publicity. “We know that Eğil, a cradle of past civilizations, has a lot to offer. We will continue to support investment in the area and the improvement of tourism in the region,” he said.

Karakoyun argued that Eğil, known as the land of prophets and kings, has significant tourism potential that should be promoted. Büyükköse added that their objective is to advance the popularity of historic city. Noting that both domestic and international tourists will be able to be accommodated here, he outlined that they “plan to build nine [lodging facilities] on [local] land. We will complete this as soon as possible and the houses will be in the service of our citizens.”

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