Diyarbakır, Turkey

Last Updated on March 17, 2023

Diyarbakır, on the banks of the Tigris (Dicle)River, is an old, dramatic, hot city, and the center of Southeastern Turkey's Kurdishpopulation.

Famous for its massive black basalt wallsDiyarbakır (dee-AHR-bah-kuhr, pop. 2 million, alt. 660 meters/2165 feet) was a tense place during the Kurdish separatist troubles of the 1980s and 1990s.

Come for the walls which surround an old city still showing its Roman town plan; for the interesting old Arab-style mosques, a few Chaldean churches, and nice old historic houses. The lush gardens along the banks of the Tigris are worth a look as well.

One full day should be enough time to see Diyarbakir. With an extra day you can make a day-trip south to Mardin, if not to the amusingly-named (but boring) nearby oil town of Batman. (Also see my recommended Eastern Tour itinerary.)

Although the Güney (Southern) Express trainruns from Istanbul to Diyarbakır four days weekly via Ankara, it takes nearly two days to make the trip.

Buses and planes get you to Diyarbakır faster, more reliably and more comfortably.

Turkish Airlines flies to Diyarbakır's Kaplaner Airport (DIY) daily from Istanbul and Ankara, as does Onur Air.

Distances & Travel Times

Adana: 550 km (342 miles) W, 8 hours

Adiyaman: 200 km (124 miles), 3.5 hours

Ankara: 945 km (587 miles) NW, 14 hours

Bingöl: 145 km (90 miles) N, 2.5 hours

Bitlis: 210 km (131 miles) E, 3.75hours

Elazig: 147 km (91 miles) NW, 2.5 hours

Erzurum: 485 km (301 miles) N, 8 hours

Istanbul: 1373 km (853 miles) NW, 21 hours

Malatya: 260 km (162 miles) W, 5 hours

Mardin: 95 km (59 miles) S, 1.5 hours

Sanliurfa: 190 km (118 miles) SW, 3 hours

Tatvan: 228 km (142 miles) E, 4 hours

Van: 410 km (255 miles) E, 7 hours

Southeastern Turkey

Eastern Turkey

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