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The History of Earthquakes in Anatolia

As known, two big earthquakes recently occurred in Türkiye. These earthquakes had a magnitude of 7.7 and 7.6 which were some of the biggest within the history of Anatolia. These earthquakes showed us how unpreapared we were in learning lessons from history. But now, we have decided to change this attitude. We will search, listen, and understand the history. We accept that we are in one of the most dangerous seismic zones in the world. Not only in the history of Türkiye but in Anatolia, there have always been big magnitude earthquakes that collapsed many ancient civilizations. Today we will deepen our knowledge about the seismic history of Anatolia.


One of these collapsed civilizations is Harran which was destroyed by an earthquake in the 8th century that caused a lot of harm to the buildings and people, though we don't have many details about how strong the earthquake was, how many people were hurt or killed, or how much damage it caused. Harran is now situated in Şanlıurfa in Türkiye. At that time, Harran was a huge center of trade thanks to its geographical position. Two big trade routes coming from the east were intersecting in Harran. This makes Harran the center of trade and culture.


Another big civilization that collapsed by an earthquake is Urkesh. Urkesh was known for its monumental architecture, including a temple to the god Nergal, and for its development of a writing system that used a cuneiform script which was found by Sumerians. The civilization was significant to the Hurrian culture and contributed to the growth of the Hittite empire. It was destroyed by an earthquake in the 2nd millennium BCE.




There’s also one other ancient civilization called “Arslantepe” which was situated in Malatya, Türkiye. Arslantepe was an ancient city located in what is now Türkiye. It was a major center for the production of textiles, as well as for pottery and metalworking. The city was destroyed by an earthquake in the 3rd millennium BCE. Arslantepe was inhabited from the 5th millennium BCE until the 7th century BCE, and it is a significant trace of ancient civilizations which have collapsed thousands of years ago.



Although Mardin continues to exist, the ancient civilization of Mardin collapsed in the 4th century. But there are still many monuments coming from old Mardin. Mardin is a city in southeastern Turkey that has a long history of human settlement, stretching back to the Neolithic period. The city has been ruled by various empires and civilizations throughout its history, including the Assyrian, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, and Ottoman empires. It was also an important center of Christianity and Islam, with many historic churches and mosques. According to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Mardin is home to "a variety of architectural treasures, including palaces, mosques, madrasas (Islamic schools), churches, and mansions." The city is known for its traditional architecture, which features intricate stonework and carvings. Mardin's historic center, which is located on a hill overlooking the Mesopotamian plains, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Hasankeyf is an ancient town in southeastern Türkiye that has been continuously inhabited for over 10,000 years. It has been an important center of trade and culture and has been ruled by various empires and civilizations, including the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, and Ottoman empires. The ancient town is in Batman, Türkiye. Hasankeyf has been damaged by earthquakes throughout its history.


As we can see, Türkiye is and always will be in great danger of earthquakes. Many civilizations have collapsed by huge earthquakes, and we must take lessons from them. Some places are appropriate for buildings and some places aren’t. Without having great knowledge about the region, we are also in danger of collapsing just like the ancient civilizations. We can’t win a fight with nature. We strongly hope that politicians and professors work collaboratively to solve Türkiye’s earthquake problem. Otherwise, these types of destruction will not come to an end.



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