Semsûr (Adiyaman)

Adiyaman (Kurdish: Semsûr) is a city in southeastern Turkey, capital of the Adıyaman Province. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in Turkey. The population rose from 10

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Adiyaman (Kurdish: Semsûr) is a city in southeastern Turkey, capital of the Adıyaman Province. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in Turkey. The population rose from 100,045 (1990) to 202,735 (2010 census figures).
The area has been inhabited as far back as it's possible to discover. Research in the cave of Palanlı 10 km north of Adıyaman show occupation in 40,000 BC and other digs in Samsat reveal continuous occupation through the stone and Bronze Ages.


From 900BC onwards came waves of invasions from Assyrians, Persians, and Macedonians until the Commagene kingdom was founded in 69BC. This was the civilisation that built the statues on top of nearby Mount Nemrut. The capital was in Samsat (Samosata) but the town of Adıyaman was a walled city of the Commagenes. The city walls of Adıyaman have been restored and replaced many times since.


The Commagene kingdom lasted until the Romans came in 72AD. Yet more campaigns and invasions followed and Adıyaman was controlled by Byzantines 395-670, Ummayads from 670 and then Abbasids 758-926. Then the area returned to Byzantine control during 859-1114. The Arabs returned from 1114 to 1204, which is around the time where the Selchuks arrive to the area. From this time and for the next 400 years, the area witnesses an era of various occupations and clashes: Between 1230-1250 the attacks from the Mogols, in 1298 the invasion from Memluks, and then in 1393 occupation by Timurlenk. This ear of the Middle Age is characterised by lack of stability and continues till 1516, where the city is encapsulated by Ottoman land following the battles against the Persian Empire. In modern times, following the formation of the Turkish Republic, Adiyaman had a status of a province under the Malatya rule till 1954. On December 1, 1954 the city was announced a formal municipality.
The Kurdish name Semsûr is derived from the arabic Hisn-l Mansur.   


Kingdom of Commagene
The Kingdom of Commagene, which in Kurdish is referred to as Shahên Koma Gele meaning Kings of Peoples Assemblies (words still in use in modern Kurdish), was an ancient kingdom of Kurdish Median empire. Little is known of the region of Commagene prior to the beginning of the 2nd century BC. However, it seems that, from what little evidence remains, Commagene formed part of a larger state that also included Median-Sophene.  This control lasted until c.163 BC, when the local satrap, Ptolemaeus of Commagene, established himself as independent ruler following the death of the Seleucid king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The Kingdom of Commagene maintained its independence until 17 AD.
Commagene was a  kingdom Median (Medes) empire, located in modern of nothern Kurdistan (south-central Turkey), with its capital at Samosata (modern Kurdish Samsat, near the Euphrates). It was first mentioned in Assyrian texts as Kummuhu, which was normally an ally of Assyria, but eventually annexed as province in 708 BC under Sargon II. The Persian Empire then conquered Commagene in the 6th century BC, and Alexander the Great conquered the territory in the 4th century BC. Commagene, bounded by Cilicia on the west and Cappadocia on the north, arose in 162 BC. This was the year when its governor, Ptolemy, a Satrap of the disintegrating Seleucid Empire, declared himself independent. Ptolemy's dynasty was related to the Parthian kings, but his descendant Mithridates I Callinicus (109 BC-70 BC) embraced the Hellenistic culture and married the Syrian Greek Princess Laodice VII Thea. His dynasty could thus claim ties with both Alexander the Great and the Persian kings. This marriage may also have been part of a peace alliance between Commagene and the Seleucid Empire.


Kurdish Mithridates and Laodice’s son was king Antiochus I Theos of Kurdish Commagene (reigned 70 BC-38 BC). Antiochus was an ally to Roman general Pompey in his campaigns against  Mithridates of Pontus in 64 BC. Through skilled diplomacy, Antiochus was able to keep Commagene independent from the Romans. In 17 when Antiochus III of Commagene died, Emperor Tiberius annexed Commagene to the province of Syria, but in 38 Caligula reinstated his son Antiochus IV and also gave him the wild areas of Cilicia to govern. Antiochus IV was the only Client King of Commagene under the Roman Empire. Antiochus IV reigned until 72, when Emperor Vespasian deposed the dynasty and re-annexed the territory to Syria, acting on allegations "that Antiochus was about to revolt from the Romans... reported by the Governor Caesennius Paetus". The descendants of Antiochus IV lived prosperously and in distinction in Anatolia, Greece, Italy and the Middle East. As a testament to the descendants of Antiochus IV, was his grandson Philopappos who died in 116. The citizens of Athens in 116, erected a funeral monument in honor of Philopappos, who was a benefactor of Athens. Another descendant of Antiochus IV, was the historian Gaius Asinius Quadratus, who lived in the 3rd century.

When the Romans conquered attempted  Median-Commagene, the great royal sanctuary at Mount Nemrut was abandoned. The Romans looted the burial tumuli of their goods and the XVI legion (Legio XVI Flavia Firma) built and dedicated a bridge. The surrounding thick forests were cut down and cleared by the Romans for wood, timber and charcoal. The clearing of the surrounding forests have caused much erosion to the area. In Commagene, there is a column topped by an eagle, which has earned the mound name Teyre resh, or The Black Bird. An inscription there indicates the presence there of a royal tomb that housed three women. However, the vault of that tomb has also been looted. The main excavations on the site were carried out by Friedrich Karl Dörner of the University of Münster.


Satraps of Commagene, 290-163 BC:
•    Sames (Medes)290 BC-260 BC
•    Arsames I (Medes) 260 BC-228 BC
•    Xerxes of Median empire 228 BC-201 BC
•    Ptolemaeus of Commagene (Medes) 201 BC-163 BC



Wikipedia.og, retrieved Aug. 15, 2014

There are many highly rated restaurants in Adiyaman. Wheat based foods are very popular due to the agricultural landscape of the area, so many dishes include sümüt (dried bread) or cracked wheat. Some of the specialities of the area are stuffed köfte (a kind of meatball with pine nuts and spices), karniyarık (a fried eggplant stuffed with meat and veggies), and Kırma (a walnut pastry dessert.) Rabbit is also a dish served locally in Adiyaman. Mount Nemrud - Arguably the most sought-after attraction in Adiyaman is the UNESCO World Heritage Site on Mount Nemrud. The mountain itself is about 2.134 m tall and is one of the highest peaks in the region. The Hierotheseion temple and funerary mound was built by King Antiochos I of Commagene during the Hellenistic period and is truly a fascinating place for visitors. Tourists typically visit Nemrud during April through October. There are overnight tours running out of Malatya (Kurdish: Meletî) or Kahta.

Caves of Pirin - Located about 4 km from Adiyaman, the ruins/caves of Pirin offer visitors insight into an ancient civilization. These have been used as a burial ground for thousands of years. The sights include the ruins of the city and burial caves carved into the rock

Severan Bridge (Cendere) - This partially restored Roman bridge is located near the village of Burmapinar. It crosses the Cendere creek and is constructed of 92 stones, each weighing about 10 tons as a simple, unadorned, single majestic arch on two rocks at the narrowest point of the creek. At 34.2 m clear span, the structure is quite possibly the second largest extant arch bridge by the Romans. It is 120 m long and 7 m wide.

Adiyaman Museum - This museum focuses mostly of local ancient history, including coins and pottery in addition to some artifacts from the Pirin Ruins on display.
The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul – An inscription dated 1905 states that this Syriac church dedicated to St. Paul is an extremely old structure. A registered building, the church is still in use by Adıyaman’s few remaining Syriac Christians
Adiyaman (Kurdïsh: Semsûr) has several choices for basic hotels, some with on-site restaurants. Most will require an in-person visit or phone call to reserve, since very few have a website. There is a domestic airport in Adiyaman, with services to both Istanbul and Ankara. Buses traveling to most major Turkish cities are also available to bring tourists. Once in the city, visitors may walk, hire a taxi, or ride the buses to get from point to point.

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