Yamaç Complex


The 2004 campaign revealed a mosque-based social complex on the slope stretching from the caves in the north to the east of the Lower City, which was called “The Yamaç Complex”. Consisting of a mosque, a madrasah, a zawiyah and a hammam for singles, majority of the complex has collapsed. The uppermost floor which was formed by terracing the slope houses a mosque consisting of a rectangular courtyard and an arcaded sanctuary .

Excavations at the Mosque (+ Zawiya Cells)

Cami ve Zaviye Odaları
Mosque and Zawiyah Cells

At the beginning of the excavations, there were no remains other than a wall lying in the east-west direction, a doorway on top of it and traces of windows whereas a mosque including three different sections in a transversely rectangular plan have emerged over time. Across the door on the main axis, a qibla wall and a mihrab leaning against the natural rock and soil became evident, and a monumental space was uncovered upon removal of stone and soil deposits of 5.00 m in height .

Although roof covering of the square building on the west is intact, other coverings have been completely demolished. There is a main door which allows access to the portico on the northern wall of the prayer hall (harim) as flanked by two windows; while each side cell has one door and one window. The doorways and windows openings were made of smooth lintels exteriorly and round arches interiorly. The upper part of the northern wall is in ruins along the facade. Other than the main door, the prayer hall which measures 10.40 x 4.10 m in size is accessed through a door on the east and west cells. The roof of the prayer hall, which appears to have been a pointed arched barrel vault based on the remaining traces, has collapsed. Two cells of 4.10 x 4.10 m in a square plan lie on the east and west . They were designed in the shape of a lodge cell with fireplace niches and a window to the courtyard/portico. Their tops were covered with domes having oyster ribbed tromps as plas¬tered with a thick cas mortar. The dome of the eastern cell has totally collapsed while stone cladding of the dome on the western cell has been partially disintegrated. The floor was plastered with cas mortar. The western cell yielded many skeletons scattered around, mostly belonging to children.

According to initial analyses, the mihrab (altar) immediately opposite to the main door is the oldest known stone altar in Hasankeyf . The mihrab niche which was built with regular cut stones in a semicircular plan is surrounded by stepped belts and bands leaning against the columns. Muqarnased kavsara (niche), arch pediment and column capitals are decorated with floral motifs of curved branches, rumi patterns and palmettes. There are inscriptions of “Surah Al’i Imran Verse-18″ around the niche, and Verse-255 (Ayet-el-Kursi) and Verse-256 of Surah Baqarah which begins with Basmalah (Bismillah-ir-rahman-ir-rahim) and the words ‘sadekallâhu’lAzîm’ meaning ‘Almighty God who has told the truth’ on the belt sur¬rounding the arch pediment. Inscribed with girift sülüs (a decorative style of Arabic script), they present high qual¬ity workmanship. There is a single row of muqarnas series on the most outer belt .

During the studies carried out in the north, a flat surface composed of cas mortar and remains of equally spaced six pillars were detected in front of the entrance to the prayer hall, revealing that the structure was a portico having the characteristics of a vestibule. On the eastern end, traces of arches adjacent to the walls and the wall pillar it is leaning against show that it was vaulted. To the north of the portico, a courtyard paved with regular stones and a pool in the middle of it were uncovered at a 0.15 m lower level . The courtyard extends 13.30 m in the north-south direction, and 19.75 m in the east-west direction.

The upper part of the square pool intersecting with the courtyard ground was destroyed while the rest has survived to the present day . The ceramic pipe of which its western side is on the second line is considered to have been the final piece of the pipe bringing water to the pool. Right at the bottom of the western wall of the courtyard, a well was unearthed, and the pool had a connection to the well. A part of the vault and plumbing have been damaged .

The northern part of the courtyard has collapsed together with the retaining wall because of the slope of the land.

The northern doorjamb of the courtyard entrance lying to the northwest has survived to the present day in a partly preserved condition. Unqualified and jerry-built adscititious structures, supposedly built for sheltering purposes inside the courtyard and behind the walls in recent years have been removed. Furthermore, remaining part of the stone-paved road on the sloping land reaching to the mosque was unearthed.

To the northeast of the courtyard is a small hammam in the form of a serdab (cellar) hidden from eyes, which is locally called “Bekar Hamamı (Hammam for Singles)” . Some buildings have been uncovered in front of the wall of the courtyard, which were laid out on a lower level according to the topography of the land. They are most probably buildings of school-madrasah and soup-kitchen. Almost all of them have collapsed down to the lower level of walls.

Excavations at the Yamaç Buildings-II


A building of 6.60 x 3.50m in the east-west direction was uncovered in trenches D6 and E6 during the excavations in an area of 30.00 x 30.00m beneath the rocks on the southern slope of the Middle Age city . An L-shaped wall suggests that the building is connected to a room which looks like a front entrance.

Similarly, excavations at grids A5, A6, B6 and D2 yielded dwelling-like building remains at an average level of -1.50 m. The dwellings with a pool or a stone trough in the middle and one façade overlooking the street have a simple structure with rubble walls cemented using cas and mud mortars

Abundant number of potsherds from different periods have been uncovered in the excavation areas.

Excavations at the Yamaç Buildings-III


Three soundings called “Yamaç-III” were carried out to the west of the excavation area on Yamaç-II. Due to the inclining land, a debris content of 1.60 and 1.20m high, in average, was gradually cleared away with difficulty . Many wall remains in different sizes and levels as well as buildings and stone-paved roads have been identified. The walls have a simple masonry, partly erected with cas and mud mortar . It appears that this area is part of the quarter, and was abandoned probably due to rocks that fell onto them.