Ahmet Güneştekin’s Batman

WE TALKED WITH PAINTER AHMET GÜNEŞTEKİN ABOUT BATMAN, THE CITY WHERE HE WAS BORN

What does Batman mean to you?
Batman is where I spent my childhood, where I have my memories, my happiness and my pain, a place with which I’ve never lost touch. I have even been a close witness to the city’s rapid growth, its tragedies and its moments of happiness.

What about Hasankeyf?
It is the history and heritage of my ancestors. The legacy of a great civilization that extends from an ancient past going back twelve thousand years right up to today and into the future. The basin of a great civilization that can never be built again.

And the Tigris?
The Tigris is the setting for all the legends, the Kurdish tales, the Mesopotamian epics.  The waters of the Tigris are at the same time a source of inspiration for the troubadours. The Tigris is Mesopotamia’s vital artery.

What is the best time of year to go there?
You can go to Batman in any season except winter. Spring and fall are especially pleasant.

What should one see and eat?
One should see Hasankeyf first of all. Then the Malabadi Bridge, one of the loveliest architectural structures from the Middle Ages and striking for the signs of the Zodiac depicted on it.

It’s also a good idea to sample the local dishes at Batman city center. Batman cuisine is exceptionally cosmopolitan. You’ll find a blend of the regional cuisines there, starting with Siirt and including Mardin, Diyarbakır and Şanlıurfa. I particularly recommend the ‘sac tava’ .