|Kids enjoying a Sunday afternoon picnic by the river in Hasankeyf. Photo by Johanna L. Rivera|
|Artukid Bridge-12th century, Artukid. This majestic bridge was key to the city’s success as a regional trading center. The 12 carvings of human figures on hte central pylons are intriguing examples of Seljuk art (Cevik 56). Photo by Johanna L. Rivera|
|Hiking is one of many outdoor activities that you can enjoy in Hasankeyf. This is just part of the view from Hasankeyf and the Tigris river from one of the canyons. Hasankeyf Ingathering, photo by Johanna L. Rivera|
|Doga Dernegi organized a bird watching, worth waking up at 5:00 am. Photo by Johanna L. Rivera|
On Monday morning, over tea and pide, Fares, a Hasankeify, described the trips on the Tigris using the Kelek, the traditional boat they used to transport goods through the Tigris River from Diyarbakir to Mosul. These trips along with the traditional boats used stopped around the 1960’s, coinciding with the dam era. Our attempts to gather the local knowledge of the river and how these trips were done are part of the The Tigris Flotilla, where we will reproduce the journey through the Tigris using the Kelek, the traditional boat used in this part of the Tigris. We will also travel with the Tarrada and the Guffa, trying to bring awareness to the threats facing these timeless waters.
|Fares as he described the journeys through the Tigris on the Kalak, the traditional boat used in this part of the river. Photo by Johanna L. Rivera|
Monday night, it was time to say goodbye to our new friends and to start our journey back to Iraq. My eyes watered and it was hard to say goodbye to the new-but feeling like old Hasankeyf family. After meeting Firat and his hospitality, Arif with his friendliness and a unique story for each carpet in his shop, Fares and the old river stories, and the friends at Villa Park and Artukid cafe, exploring the canyons, caves, mosques and other unique architectural jewels, it is hard to picture that the future of Hasankeyf is still uncertain. As our bus was approaching and after some bargaining, we managed to have Arif sing to us Aiche, and Ahmed and Mohamed followed with a traditional Iraqi song. The Ingathering was special for all of us who attended, Iraqis, Hasankeyfis and of course us from all parts of the world. I liked the words of our friend John: “ I loved the send off for you guys when you boarded the bus back to Sulaymaniyah -- we were singing and dancing in the middle of the main intersection, one great big family of human beings.”
A version of this blogpost appears at the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative website.
The work is part of the Save the Tigris Campaign in an effort to expose the dangers of Ilisu dam to the communities in Hasankeyf and the communities surrounding the Tigris River in Iraq.