Hasankeyf (Heskif), one of the most significant cultural heritage sites in the world where life had been uninterruptedly going on for the past 12,000 years, was submerged and destroyed by the Ilisu Dam on the River Tigris in southeastern Turkey. Director Elif Yiğit has captured this destruction in her documentary feature ‘Heskif’.
‘Heskif’ focuses on the historic settlement of Hasankeyf and its destruction by the Ilısu Dam. Yiğit has compared this destruction to what the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) did to the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria.
Hasankeyf (Heskif) was submerged once the Ilısu Dam became operational in early July. One hundred and ninety-nine settlements, including fifty villages, were submerged and thousands of people living in the area were forcibly displaced. Hasankeyf (Heskif) contained evidence of the first human traces dating back 300,000 years. It also contained archaeological settlements dating back 12,000 years and two hundred and eighty-nine ancient burial mounds. In addition, over one hundred endemic species and animals living in the area have been detrimentally affected by the submergence of this historic area.