Turkey, Roman road next to the Diyarbakır walls

Roman road discovered next to the historic walls of Diyarbakır

Diyarbakır, whose historic walls have been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, houses the remains of several civilizations.

Next to the historic walls of Diyarbakır (south-eastern Turkey), declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2015, a team of archaeologists carry out an excavation to uncover a 2,000-year-old Roman road recently discovered next to Amida Höyük , a mound located near the city wall.

Amida Höyük means in Turkish “Amida’s Mound”, a name that Diyarbakır received in Roman times, derived from Amed, which was the name that the city had in Assyrian times and the one that the local Kurdish population still uses to refer to Diyarbakır. This promontory, which currently houses the remains of an ancient fortress, is considered the original core of Diyarbakır.

In fact through archaeological remains it is known that Amida Höyük was under the control of numerous civilizations throughout history, including the Kingdom of Mitanni, the Urartians, the Assyrians, the Medes, the Persians, the Armenian Kingdom of Tigranes the Great, the Romans, the Sassanids, the Byzantines, the Umayyads, the Abbasids, the Safavids, the Ayubids, the Marwanids, the Seljuks, the Artuqids, and the Ottomans.

The Hevsel Gardens, also a World Heritage Site

“We continue to get very interesting data from the western part of the mound that we have excavated. The shape of the Roman road and the structure of the period have started to emerge,” Professor Irfan Yıldız of Diyarbakır’s Dicle University, head of excavations in the area, told in a statement to the media.

According to Yıldız, in the next 12 months they plan to unearth numerous historical artifacts, and it is planned that by 2022 tourists visiting the city will already be able to see the remains of ancient streets from the Roman period, as well as from the Ottoman period.

Situated on a raised plateau next to the Tigris River basin, Diyarbakır was home to numerous kingdoms and empires throughout history; conquered by the Muslims from the Byzantines in the year 639, a few years after the death of Muhammad and the beginning of the Islamic expansion, in Diyarbakır you can see today the so-called Hevsel Gardens, also declared a World Heritage Site and which have been used for agricultural purposes for more than 8,000 years.

In addition to its historic walls and the aforementioned Hevsel Gardens, Diyarbakır offers other great attractions for tourism such as the Great Mosque (Ulu Camii), one of the oldest in Anatolia, the Malabadi Bridge (built in the 12th century by the Artuqids, the Cave of Hasuni (where the first Christian communities lived), or the Castle of Zerzevan, a Roman fortification that houses a temple dedicated to the god Mitra.