Siirt is a pretty province located in Southeastern Anatolia, 224 km northeast of Mardin, and separated from this province by the Tigris (Dicle) river. This region which once under the hegemonies of the Persians, Romans and Byzantines, was also an important center during in the Abbasid Caliphate era.
It was a place of settlement for many civilizations flourished along the Botan stream. The native people are the Hurri and Subarru settled in the area around 3000 BC. It witnessed the Assyrian and Med domination in the 7th century BC, and later that of the Persian Empire, Seleukos Kingdom, Roman and Byzantine Empires and Iran. After forming the stage for struggles among the Mongolians, Eyyubi, Artuklu and Karakoyunlu, it was annexed by the Ottoman Empire in 1514. The name Siirt is believed to derive from "Keert" which meant "city" in Keldani language. The tombs of Veysel Karani and Ismail Hakki form a bridge of history and civilization between the past and our times as pieces of Islamic civilization.
Grand (Ulu) Mosque was built by Mugiziddun Mahmut, the Seljuk Ruler, in 1129. In 1260, Cizre Governor El Mucahit Ishak built some annexes to the original structure. The mosque was restored by the General Directorate of Foundations in 1965. Its pulpit made of walnut wood is exhibited at the Ethnographic Museum in Ankara as one of the finest specimens of Seljuk woodworking. The mosque has a single balcony minaret ornamented with turquoise China work. However, these works can not resist to climatic conditions. The great dome at the centre is surrounded by smaller domes.
Billoris Springs are on Siirt-Eruh highway. Its 35 centigrade hot water comes in from a cave on the Botan brook and makes a pool. Calcium bicarbonate and sulphurous hydrogen make this water undrinkable but valuable in healing rheumatism and some skin diseases.
6 kms from Siirt is Aydinlar, a beautiful town where the Ibrahim Hakki Mausoleum Complex stands, with the private Ibrahim Hakki Astronomical Museum nearby. The tomb of Sheik Ismail Fakirullah is another significant religious site, beside the many others.
The province extends over an area of 5,406 square kilometers. The Tigris river and its tributaries constitute its water network. According to the 1997 Census, the population of the province is 262,371. The province has 6 administrative districts (Aydinlar, Baykan, Eruh, Kurtalan, Pervari and Sirvan) and 271 villages.
The province is rich in terms of its animal population and therefore has a high potential for the development of integrated meat and leather processing industries. It can also move towards woodworks with its forested area of 700,000 hectares. The province has also high potential in promoting its pistachio and vegetable culture. Finally, Siirt is well endowed with asphalt, copper and chrome reserves.