Silvan, Diyarbakır

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Silvan is located in Turkey
Coordinates: 38°08′32″N 41°00′05″E / 38.14222°N 41.00139°E / 38.14222; 41.00139Coordinates: 38°08′32″N 41°00′05″E / 38.14222°N 41.00139°E / 38.14222; 41.00139
Country  Turkey
Province Diyarbakır
 • Mayor Yüksel Bodakçı (BDP)
 • Kaymakam Doğan Demirdaş
 • District 1,397.14 km2 (539.44 sq mi)
Population (2012)[2]
 • Urban 43,676
 • District 86,450
 • District density 62/km2 (160/sq mi)
Post code 21640

Silvan (Turkish: Silvan, Ottoman Turkish: ميا فارقينMeyafarikîn,[3] Arabic: ميافارقين‎‎, Meiafarakin or Mayyafariqin; Armenian: Նփրկերտ, Np'rkert; Greek: Mαρτυρόπολις, Martyropolis; Kurdish: Farqîn; Syriac: ܡܝܦܪܩܝܛ‎, Mayperqiṭ) is a city in the Diyarbakır Province of Turkey. Its population is 41,451.[4]


Silvan has been identified by several scholars as one of two possible locations (the other being Arzan) of Tigranakert (Tigranocerta), the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Armenia, which was built by King Tigran the Great (ruling 95–55 BCE) and named in his honor.[5][6]

Roman Era[edit]

In 69 BCE, the army of Republican Rome defeated Tigran's troops in the battle of Tigranocerta. The city lost its importance as a thriving center for trade and Hellenistic culture in the following decades. In 387 CE, with the Peace of Acilisene, Tigranakert was made part of the Byzantine Empire.

Diocese of Martyropolis[edit]

Around 400 CE, the city's bishop, Marutha (later, saint Maruthas), brought a large number of relics back from Sassanid Persia. These were relics of Christian martyrs persecuted under Sassanid rule. For this reason it was renamed Martyropolis, "city of the martyrs." Following the reforms of Justinian I (rule 527–565), the city was made the capital of the province of Fourth Armenia.[7] The city suffered heavily in the Battle of Martyropolis in 588 CE, but soon prospered again.

Islamic era[edit]

It was known by the name of Meiafarakin after the Arabs took over this region in the 7th century. It declined in importance over the centuries and had been reduced to a small settlement by the 12th century. It was part of successively Umayyads, Abbasids, Buyids, Marwanids, Seljuks, Ahlatshahs, Mardin branch of Artukids, Ayyubids, Sultanate of Rum, Ilkhanate, Akkoyunlu, Safavids and Ottomans.

21st century[edit]

Silvan was the site of serious clashes between Turkish government forces and Kurdish Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) separatists in August 2015 during the wider Operation Martyr Yalçın.[8]

Notable sites[edit]


  1. ^ "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  2. ^ "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  3. ^ Tahir Sezen, Osmanlı Yer Adları (Alfabetik Sırayla), T.C. Başbakanlık Devlet Arşivleri Genel Müdürlüğü, Yayın Nu 21, Ankara, p. 365.
  4. ^ Statistical Institute
  5. ^ Avdoyan, Levon. "Tiganocerta: The City 'Built by Tigranes'" in Armenian Tigranakert/Diarbekir and Edessa/Urfa. Richard G. Hovannisian (ed.) UCLA Armenian History and Culture Series: Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces, 6. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 2006, pp. 94-95.
  6. ^ (in Armenian) Hakobyan, Tadevos Kh. «Տիգրանակերտ» (Tigranakert). Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia. vol. xi. Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1986, pp. 699-700.
  7. ^ Adontz, Nicholas (1970). Armenia in the Period of Justinian: The Political Conditions Based on the Naxarar System. Trans. Nina G. Garsoïan. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. p. 134. 
  8. ^ "Turkey and the Kurds: The hatred never went away". The Economist. 12 September 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Amedroz, H. F. "The Marwanid Dynasty at Mayyafariqin in the Tenth and Eleventh centuries AD," JRAS, 1903, pp. 123–154.
  • Minorsky, Vladimir. "Caucasica in the History of Mayyafariqin." BSOAS, Vol. 13, No. 1 (1949), pp. 27–35.