Turkey: Most of 15th-century Hasankeyf mosque relocated

A 15th-century historic mosque in the ancient town of Hasankeyf, southeastern Turkey was relocated on Monday to a new site to prevent it from flooding with the coming opening of a new dam.

A 256-wheeler flatbed truck moved the main body of the 1,700-ton medieval mosque Ar-Rizk to a cultural park in the same district within Batman province. The mosque's structure was carried some 4.7 kilometers (3 miles) from its original spot.

The mosque was built during the Ayyubid era at the beginning of the 1400s, said Ali Naci Kosali, one of the managers at General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSI), which is involved in the construction of the Ilisu Dam and hydroelectric plant downstream the Tigris River.

Once the main body of the mosque is completely relocated, the minaret of the mosque will be mounted, Kosali told reporters at the site.

The operation will be complete when the walls of the mosque are also moved to their new spot on Tuesday.

A 13th-century Turkish bath as well as five other structures including the 540-year-old Zeynel Bey Shrine had also been relocated from Hasankeyf.

Kosali predicted that the ancient settlement would be submerged in February as a result of waters rising due to Ilisu Dam, a project that will generate electricity for the southeast of the country.

Hasankeyf, which sits on the banks of the Tigris River, was declared a conservation area in 1981. It is also home to a Byzantine fortress as well as nearly 6,000 caves that surround the town and contain the remnants of Christian and Muslim worshipers.

Source: Anadolu Agency