Siirt ( _ku. Sêrt, _ar. سيرت) is a city in southeastern
Turkeyand the seat of Siirt Province. Siirt urban center has a mixed population of Kurds, Turks, and Arabs. The population of the city according to the 2000census was 98,281 [http://www.siirt.gov.tr] .
Although still one of the poorer cities in Turkey, whole neighborhoods that have fine and modern housing, stores, banks and hotels have been recently built, making Siirt more worthwhile to visit [http://www.pbase.com/dosseman/siirt] .
The city's landmark is the Great Mosque ("Ulu Cami") built in
1129by the Great SeljukSultan Mahmut II who belonged to the main branch of the dynasty that ruled from Baghdadafter this Turkish Empire had split into several branches. The mosque has been restored in 1965.
Siirt is famous around
Turkeyfor its hand-made blankets ("Siirt battaniyesi"). Many visitors find themselves departing with one offered as a present. The traditional kilims produced by the Jirikanclan ("aşiret") and revived since 1996 through joint efforts involving official instances and citizens are also much prized. Another product of interest is the "Bıttım" soaps proper to the region. Siirt also has an extremely rich culinary and spa culture. Depending district centers of Aydınlar(former Assyrian-rooted name was "Tillo") with its historical "medrese" is renowned as a religious center and Pervarifor its honey based on the particularly rich flora.
Siirt is Turkish Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's constituency. His wife, Mrs. Emine Erdoğan, is from Siirt and the PM has been elected to the Turkish Grand National Assemblyin a by-election held in Siirt in 2003.
In pre-Islamic times, Siirt was an episcopacy of the
Byzantine Church. An illuminated manuscript known as the Syriac Bible of Parismay have originated from the Bishop of Siirt's library, Siirt's Christians would have worshipped in Syriac, a liturgical language related to Arabicstill in use by the Chaldean Rite, other Eastern Christians in India, and the Nestoriansalong the Silk Road as far as China.
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