Besni is the name of another municipality in the Province of Adiyaman in central southern Turkey, just like Kahta I recently told you about. This area is unfortunately unknown even on Turkey’s domestic tourist map, let alone the international. But it has things to offer and you might just like it. Let’s walk around, don’t pay attention that temperatures are still murderous (August – up to 48-49 degrees Celsius; September – up to 40).
First, I will take you high above the land of the old village of Besni (Eski Besni), which was swept away by an unprecedented flood in the mid-20th century. Looking at this parched and scorched terrain, you’d probably have a hard time connecting it to a flood. But it’s a fact. From the platform built on the rocks, you can see the hill, where there was a fortress from ancient times. You can also see the minarets of the former mosques, as well as the monuments of the old cemeteries that were pushed down the slopes by the disaster.
Apparently, there is some water around, or at least there used to be, because these above are the ruins of a fairly large bath called Bekir Bay’s Bath. At the moment, it is a little difficult to imagine how splashing streams of life-giving moisture flow under the arches, but in the lowest part of the terrain between the hills, you will find a winding river bed (dry today), which has at least four bridges. And each of them has a name!
And in some places around Besni, the lonely minarets have names too. I present to you the Öksüz Minaret, which is 600 years old, and its name translates as the Minaret of the Orphans. No one remembers now why it is of the orphans or why it is at all. The minaret is not far from another site, about which information is scarce, although the latter is certainly much older. I am talking about the Sofraz Tumuli.
I give you the Great Sofraz Tumulus; there is a small one too that has been destroyed by treasure hunters and I failed to see. This is the only one in the area which can actually be entered. It reminded me a lot of the Thracian mounds at home. Perfect arches of both the burial camera and the hallway to it, which seem to have not been made by human hand. A friend who knows about these things told me that this was called Cyclopian construction.
I am just a humble traveler so I was left with the satisfaction that the cyclops had apparently left a long time ago. Instead, the tumulus was obviously visited by ancient treasure hunters who had cut holes in the vault digging from the top of the mound straight down. They had broken the lids of the sarcophagi and had emptied them. No wasting time to look for the official entrance which is at the bottom of a rather deep shaft underground.
You and I, however, are now heading to the southern border of Besni where a Roman bridge awaits us. Or rather a part of it embedded in modern reconstruction. It was built by the same Roman Legion XVI, which left us the Cendere Bridge under Mount Nermrut. It is located at the Göksu Stream which flows into the Euphrates very close by, and the surrounding slopes are dotted with natural and man-made rock niches.
From Kizilin, we have just one more place to stop at, again underground. I present to you the necropolis of Turuş or Kuyulu, which began his existence as part of the ancient Commagene Kingdom around the beginning of the new era, and continued as a Roman site, as it often happens. It is scattered on two hills and has long been emptied, only the entrances to the tombs peek off the slope.
This is where I see you off Besni but I will be meeting you soon in southern Turkey!