Zeynel Bey Mausoleum, Hasankeyf

The Zeynel Bey mausoleum–a cylinder-shaped tomb weighing more than 1,000 tons built during the 15th century in Hasankeyf by the Tigris River–was transported a few kilometers away from its original location on 12 May 2017 in anticipation of the Ilisu Dam being built upstream. It was adorned that day with a large Turkish flag, as well as banners of the construction company ER-BU in charge of moving the structure, Turkey’s D.S.I (Devlet Su Işleri or State Water Works) responsible for the dam, and Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The move lasted almost four hours and cost the D.S.I. more than $4 million. It was a carefully planned engineering exercise and a meticulously orchestrated media operation covered by just a handful of selected journalists and photographers. None of the controversies behind the building of the dam itself were raised that day, but instead the relocation offered the government the opportunity to claim that Hasankeyf had been “saved.”

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