The Flooding of Hasankeyf


The ancient town of Hasankeyf on the banks of the Tigris River in southeastern Turkey, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on earth, dating as far back as 12,000 years. The Turkish Government have given residents until October 8th 2019 to evacuate the town before they permanently submerge the area for a controversial Ilisu dam project, which will mean flooding 199 settlements in the area and displaying up to 80,000 people. Hundreds of still inhabited man made caves, churches, tombs and historical sites will be forever lost in the scheme. The ancient city has been part of many different cultures in its history, ancient Mesopotamia, Byzantium, and Arab and Ottoman empires with only an estimated 10% of the area having been explored by archaeologists.

The Turkish government has built a new settlement for the 700 households 3km away but some will be left homeless with nowhere to go and many being forced to give up both their homes and their income from the land they own as they watch their homes slowly submerge when the government forcibly floods the city.


Shot on assignment for the Los Angeles Times

The town of Hasankeyf on the banks of the Tigris River in southeastern Turkey, one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on earth, dating as far back as 12,000 years.
A boy plays with a tourist telescope on the outskirts of the town of Hasankeyf, on the banks of the Tigris River, in southeastern Turkey, one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on earth.
A restaurant displays a photograph of the town of Hasankeyf, before the preparations for flooding and landmark monuments were moved. The Turkish Government have given residents until October 8th to evacuate the area.
Waiter Furkan Bayram (17) brings in the tables and chairs submerged by the Tigris River in the town of Hasankeyf, southeastern Turkey, one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on earth.
Hasan Çigci (17) fishes on the banks of the Tigris River in the town of Hasankeyf, southeastern Turkey. When the Turkish government flood the town Hasan will loose his income and his home and doesn't know what he will do.
Senol Tas (44) fishes on the banks of Tigris River in the town of Hasankeyf, southeastern Turkey, one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on earth.
The town of Hasankeyf on the banks of the Tigris River in southeastern Turkey, one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on earth, dating as far back as 12,000 years.
Zeydan Ayhan, who owns a tourist shop, in the town of Hasankeyf, on the banks of the Tigris River in southeastern Turkey.
The reflection in a barbers shop window in the town of Hasankeyf on the banks of the Tigris River in southeastern Turkey.
Deniz Tas (38) sits sadly in the back of a lorry with his families possessions as he leaves his home in the town of Hasankeyf on the banks of the Tigris River in southeastern Turkey.
The Salkan family load their possessions onto the back of a lorry as they prepare to leave their home in the town of Hasankeyf on the banks of the Tigris River in southeastern Turkey.
Feyziye Salkan helps load her families possessions onto the back of a lorry as they prepare to leave their home in the town of Hasankeyf on the banks of the Tigris River in southeastern Turkey.
Osman Mahmut (8) rides his bike outside the families new house in New Hasankeyf, 3km from the old town on the banks of the Tigris river.
Ramazan Agalday, a former shepherd in his eighties who has lived in the town of Hasankeyf all his life, climbs the hills to the caves that surround the town.
Shepard Eyüp Agalday (27) milks his goats by the caves that surround the ancient town of Hasankeyf, where his family have been shepherds for generations. Today he and his brother Davut (32) have over 100 goats.
Mazlum, a local tourist guide, looks out at the town of Hasankeyf from the caves that surround the town in southeastern Turkey, one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on earth.
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