An ancient Turkish town along the Syrian border is on the verge of destruction. But not because of war or extremism.
Hasankeyf is tucked along the banks of the Tigris River. The area is littered with history: neolithic caves, Roman ruins and medieval monuments. Yet this precious example of Mesopotamian history will almost inevitably disappear once an enormous new dam is installed.
Some 78,000 people, the majority of whom are Kurds, live in this region and will be displaced once the Ilisu Dam is finished. It’s unclear exactly when the area will be flooded, but the new structure is already more than 80 percent complete.
At 12,000 years old, many say that Hasankeyf meets all the criteria to be deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site. But Turkey has not officially applied for heritage status.
Last year, Belgian photographer Pascal Mannaerts documented what could be the town’s final days. Here are some of his images.
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View Pascal Mannaert’s original photo essay here.