Diyarbakir maintained its importance throughout history mainly for its location where various civilizations flourishing in Upper Mesopotamia met and interacted. In 1946, excavations carried out in Bismil, Silvan and Ergani by the Turkish History Institution yielded some flint stone apparatus dating back to the Paleolithic age. Finds from excavations carried out in Çayönü tumulus, on the other hand, testifies inhabitation in the Neolithic age. Steles and inscriptions in Birkileyn Cave and Egil Castle belong to the Assyrians. The walls of Diyarbakir, one of the most spectacular defense structures in the world, also gives clues about the historical past of the city.
The province of Diyarbakir extends over an area of 15,355 km2. Farming in the province is mostly rain-fed and there is fallowing. The population of the province is 1,364,209 according to the Census of 2000. The peripheral districts of the province are Bismil, Cinar, Cermik, Cungus, Dicle, Egil, Ergani, Hani, Hazro, Kocakoy, Kulp, Lice and Silvan.
As the second largest city in Southeastern Anatolia, Diyarbakir consists of two main settlements as the "old" and "new" city. The old part of the city is surrounded by walls. These four-gated walls are the longest and strongest of all similar structures still standing in Anatolia. Important historical buildings of the city remain within the area surrounded by walls. The new city, on the contrast to the old city which expanded more recently in a planned manner looks much more modern with its avenues, parks, houses, official buildings and hotels. The Tigris is the major river flowing through the city.
Located on a transitional zone between the mountainous Eastern Anatolia and the plains of Upper Mesopotamia, Diyarbakır was once on important trade routes and it is still at the center of the main highway network reaching such centers as Elazig, Sanliurfa, Mardin and Bitlis. Railway reached the center of the province in 1935 and then extended to Kurtalan, out of provincial boundaries. Diyarbakir also has an airport with flights to all major centers in Turkey.
Despite the dominance of agriculture and animal husbandry as main economic activities, the province has a large potential for industrial activities and it is, in fact, the second industrial center of the region after Gaziantep. As one of the provinces given first priority in development, Diyarbakir has a small industrial area. The leading industrial-commercial branches include feed production, meat and meat processing.
DIYARBAKIR CASTLE AND WALLS
Though the exact date of construction is not known, it is known that the walls around the city was restored and strengthened in 349 AD during the reign of Constantinus II of Rome. The castle consists of two parts as inner and outer ones. Walls surrounding the outer castle are over 5 km in length. The outer castle has four main gates opening to four main directions as "Mountain Gate" (north), Urfa Gate (west); Mardin Gate (south) and "New Gate" (east). To the northeastern tip of the outer castle, there is the inner castle surrounded again by walls. Excavations conducted on a hill in this section discovered an Artuklu Palace dating back to the 13th century. Inscriptions on city walls tell us the story of the city from the Roman to ottoman times. Relieves accompanying these inscriptions give us some idea about the aesthetic styles of different historical epochs.
It is one of the oldest mosques in Turkey. It is known thatwhith the additions 4 changes applied to the church of Saint Thomas, it was converted to the mosque. It is a big and impressive building built of ashlar. The Grand Mosque of Diyarbakir beside its plan, it has a important place in ancient Anatolian architecture with its original plan, embellishments, niche, minaret and fountain.
FATIH PASA MOSQUE
The mosque which placed on the east of the city built by Biyikli Mehmet Pasa during 1516 - 1520. It is the first Ottoman mosque in Diyarbakir. It is also known as "Kursunlu Mosque", was constructed of two-color (black and white) ashlar. It is of interest with its tile covered internal walls and embellished niche.
MELEK AHMET PASA MOSQUE
Near Urfa Gate, this mosque was built by Melek Ahmet Pasa in the period 1587 - 1591. Also constructed with white and black ashlar, internal spaces are embellished with the Ottoman tile work of the 16th century.
The construction date of this mosque near Harput Gate is not known but supposed that it dates back to the Akkoyunlu rule. There were some additional structures during the Ottoman rule. Construction material consists of ashlar and there is rich tile work indoors.
This mosque dating back to the 15th century is to the northwest of the city. Its minaret with Nesih and Kufi style inscriptions reflect the finest examples of stone working. Also it has tile work indoors.
SEYH MUATTAR MOSQUE
It is at the center of the city and built back in 1500 by Kasim Padisah, one of the Akkoyunlu kings. It is therefore also known as Kasim Pasa Mosque. The most interesting part of the mosque is its minaret. This minaret not resembling to any other one in Diyarbakir is based on four columns.
It was constructed in 1198 during the reign of Ebu Muzaffer Sokman of the Artuklu. It is a two-story ashlar structure giving fine examples of stone working.
CAHIT SITKI TARANCI MUSEUM
The house where Cahit Sitki Taranci, one of the leading poets of the Republican epoch, was purchased and converted into a museum by the Ministry of Culture in 1973. Exhibited in the museum are ethnographical materials reflecting the life in the city during the 19th century as well as personal belongings, photographs and documents of the poet.
Constructed in 1527 by Husrev Pasa. It is a two-story inn built of colored (black and white) ashlar. The name of the inn means the "Inn of Guides" since guides leading pilgrims to Mecca used to gather here for their mission. The inn was restored and is now used as a modern hotel with 120 beds.
It is a magnificent Artuklu structure on Batman River right on the boundary separating the provinces of Diyarbakir and Batman. According to its inscription, the bridge was built in 1147 - 1148 by Timurtas Bin lgazi of the Artuklu. It is the widest of all stone arch bridges existing in Anatolia. It is interesting to note that the bridge connects the two sides of the river not on a straight line but by making curves. There are two boarding facilities for passengers on both legs of the bridge.
HANDICRAFTS IN DIYARBAKIR
Important handicrafts in Diyarbakir include gold-silver working, silk industry and copper works. Jewelry which has a long history, is still an important trade in Diyarbakir.
Various items with silver ornaments are unique to Diyarbakir. Sericulture is practiced in the districts of Kulp, Silvan and Lice. Silk clothes, scarves and handkerchiefs are the most attractive pieces of this trade. Other handicrafts in the province include pottery, upholstery, felt works, rug and carpet weaving, saddlebag making, towels, etc.