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Siirt





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Siirt

Siirt, Turkey.
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Siirt, Turkey.

Great Mosque of the 12th century, Siirt, Turkey.
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Great Mosque of the 12th century.

Botan river, near Siirt, Turkey.
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Botan river, near Siirt.

City in southeastern Turkey with 100,000 inhabitants (2004 estimate), southwest of Lake Van, on the Botan river, which is a tributary to the Tigris river. Siirt is the capital of Siirt province with 270,000 inhabitants (2004 estimate).
Siirt is the centre of a specialized agricultural region, with pistachio nuts as the main produce. In addition, livestock is raised here. Local crafts include especially goat-hair blankets and kilims.
Siirt is connected by road to Batman 100 km west, Diyarbakir 200 km west, Syria 75 km south, Hakkari 300 km east and Van 200 km northeast.
Siirt has a selection of old landmarks, where the Great Mosque from the 12th century is the most prominent. Other famous landmark are the Cumhuriyet Mosque of the 13th century and the tomb of the Muslim thinker Vesel Karani.
The population of Siirt is part Turkish and part Kurdish. Siirt has during recent years been an unstable and insecure place, due to the ongoing Turkish-Kurdish conflict.

History
Siirt is an ancient settlement, founded by the Babylonians.
8th century: Comes under Muslim control, and is ruled by the Abbasids from Baghdad.
11th century: The Seljuqs take control over the region of Siirt.
Around 1500: Comes under the Ottomans, and would develop into the centre of a region including northern parts of the land corresponding to Iraq and Syria.
1989: Secret graves of Kurdish rebels are unearthed.




By Tore Kjeilen