A medieval urban fabric blending with such natural formations as rock caves placed Hasankeyf in an important status in the history of Batman. Hasankeyf was historically a center where western (first Roman and then Byzantine), Persian and Central Asian cultures met.
Back in the depths of history, the place located at a point where the Tigris, a source of both fertility and disaster, offered easy crossing, was an attractive shelter with its rocky hills, deep canyons and thousands of rock caves. It is therefore safe to assume that the place had been inhabited starting from the prehistoric times. Its documented history goes back to the 7th century BC. The existence of an independent church organization during the early Middle-Ages (4-6 centuries AD) suggests that the place was once a religious center. Then, starting from the 8th century, the area was first to adopt Moslem religion after the raids of Arab armies and then lived under the Seljuk and other Moslem emirates. Hasankeyf became an important post on the Silk Road especially during the rule of the Artuklu. What survived from this era include the Old Bridge; mosques of Rizk, Ulu, Sultan Suleyman and Kizlar; Imam Abdullah Lodge; Zeyhel Bey Tomb and Grand and Small Palaces. The castles of Beksi, Bozikan, Hazro, Kandil and Rabat are among other historical properties of the area.
During the early years of the Republic, Batman, then known as "Iluh", was a town of Siirt province. It was first made a district center under the name "Batman" in 1957, and then a province in 1990. The most important distinguishing feature of the province is oil extraction and refinement. The province has a surface area of 4,649 m2 and population of 446,719 according to the Population Census of 2000. Other than the central town, Besiri, Gercüs, Hasankeyf, Kozluk and Sason are the administrative districts of Batman.
The town of Batman has a rapid growth in the Republican period mainly for its oil industries. A modern refinery was established in 1955 to process crude oil extracted from Raman and Garzan areas and the enterprise was later enlarged. The main development in the field of industry and mining took place upon the construction of 494 km long Batman-Iskenderun pipeline.
The railway line connecting Istanbul to Kurtalan maintained its importance in transportation for many times. This line reached to Batman in 1942, and used to be the only main artery until the 1950 s. After that date The importance of transportation then moved to highways.
Upon the completion of the GAP, Batman is expected to grow further in the sectors of services and commerce, in addition to oil extraction and refinement, and to develop its export oriented copper production.
Constructed earlier than 1140 by Artuklu Ruler Fahrettin Karaaslan, the bridge was restored many times until it collapsed at the end of the 16th century. Still remaining are 12 big relieves representing the signs of the Zodiac on the southern leg of the bridge and human relieves on the other.
According to the information given in its inscription, the mosque was constructed in 1409 by Eyyubi Ruler Sultan Süleyman. The praying quarter to the south of the structure was destroyed as a result of landslide, leaving behind only a fine minaret and a crown gate. Both of these architectural structures are embellished with stone carvings.
It is accepted that the mosque dates back to the 15th century. But the plaster decorations on the niche of the mosque is on the contrast with this date and reflects the properties of the 12th century. It is possible that the mosque was built earlier than 15th century and then restored on many occasions.
SULTAN SULEYMAN MOSQUE
Here a group structure was occured around the courtyard as constructing additional parts to the tomb and organized as to serve various purposes. This style reflects the architectural tradition of the Zengi, Eyyubi and Mameluk in Syria. Today, the most impressive parts of the mosque include its minaret, fountain and crown gate. The minaret on the eastern side of the complex is one of the finest examples of the architectural style developed during the Artuklu and Eyyubi periods.
It is rather difficult to have satisfactory information about this mosque for insufficient documents surviving to our times as well as its rather unusual plan. Its features, however, shows that it was originally a complex of tombs. Embellishments on the northern entrance and window cases are of fine quality. One of the four rooms of the structure is presently used as wood storage.
It is mentioned as "Small Palace" is also popularly known as the "Palace of Uzun Hasan", the King of Akkoyunlu. Both external faces and internal embellishments are severely destroyed. Parts that still maintain their original status include two lion relieves to the northeastern face, drip motifs and rosettes.
This building covering a space of 2,350 m2 has neither any document nor any inscription. Looking externally, its block stone built faces strike attention. As can be inferred from ruins inside, the building had rather complex plan. On the front, there are remains of a prism shaped tower.
It has a dominant location overlooking to the valley and its close environment. It is interesting that its inscriptions give the dates of 14th and 16th centuries. Because the archaic approach in the design of the mosque suggests that these inscriptions were placed in the mosque much later. Its brick minaret reminds the 12th century minarets of the Seljuk in Iran. Rooms adjacent to the egwan and the porch on the eastern entrance were added later.
IMAM ABDULLAH LODGE
Existing remains date back to the 14th century. It is a small complex consisting of a minaret, a yard surrounded by lodges and a cubic tomb. Randomly carried out restorations have distorted the original outlook of the structure. Parts of aesthetic value surviving from these distortions include the minaret and wood-carved gates.
The bath is located near the historical bridge column. Looks more like Ottoman mosques. The original identity will be laid bare after further excavations and investigations.
ZEYNEL BEY TOMB
It is situated on a field to the west of the bath. Inscription at its gate gives the names of Zeynel Bey, Uzun Hasan’s son and a master "Pir Hasan". The cylindrical body of the tomb built of ashlar has glazed and unglazed mosaics on. With china and glazed brick embellishments on outer surfaces and plasters on inner surfaces, this is the only historical property in Anatolia that reflects the classical style of embellishment peculiar to Central Asia from Uzbekistan to Azerbaijan starting from the mid-14th century.
HANDICRAFTS IN BATMAN
Handicrafts are not much developed in Batman. As traditional handicrafts, weaving and copper working, once carried out to respond to local needs, have lost their importance in our day. In the city, depending to the animal husbundry socks, belts, head covers and saddlebacks worked out of wool and felt are producing.