Moving an Ancient Town to Higher Ground

The town of Hasankeyf, Turkey, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world, with evidence of people living there as far back as 12,000 years ago. In a matter of months, most of the ancient town will be abandoned—flooded by a reservoir rising behind the Ilisu Dam, one of Turkey’s newest and largest hydroelectric projects. The controversial project will affect 199 upstream settlements along the Tigris River, as the water level rises up to 60 meters. Despite objections from international and local groups over the displacement of thousands, the loss of archaeological sites, interference with nomadic groups, environmental impact, and water-sharing issues with downstream Iraq, Turkish authorities quietly began filling the reservoir this summer. Residents of Hasankeyf were provided with a “new” town to move to—700 new houses and supporting buildings built three kilometers up the hill from the old town. Some of the centuries-old monuments and mosques from the old town were relocated to the new town as well. The Turkish government has given residents until today to evacuate.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Royal Ride, Shattered Glass, Road Bison

    Swimming in Mallorca, mountain art in Switzerland, protests against racism and police brutality across the United States, a coronavirus recovery in Spain, fashion in Kenya, and much more.

  • Win McNamee / Getty

    American Protest: Images From the Past 24 Hours

    Photos of demonstrations in nearly two dozen cities—a snapshot from the seventh day of a nationwide protest movement

  • Niklas Halle'N / AFP / Getty

    Photos: The Works of Christo

    With the passing of artist Christo, yesterday, at the age of 84, a look back at some of the enormous installations created by Christo and his wife and partner Jeanne-Claude.

  • Charlie Riedel / AP

    Missouri: Images of the Show Me State

    A few glimpses of Missouri’s landscape, and some of the animals and people calling it home