Population: 136,000

sirnak1Other name: Şimex (Kurdish)

Over in the far southeast of Turkey, Şırnak is a hard town to love.

In theory it should be appealing since it sits on the side of a mountain. In practise I was unable to find a single architecturally beautiful or interesting historic building to photograph.

Şırnak's location also makes it difficult to navigate; it's hard even to identify a clear centre although the "Meydan" with a small park name after Atatürk is as close as it gets. 

It probably doesn't help that on the day that I visited all the "normal" city-centre hotels were full with students come into town to take an exam. I was therefore forced to stay in five-star luxury out on the highway beside a petrol station. Although there was a şehir içi minibus to get me back up to the centre the whole thing meant that I barely got to really look round. Had I stayed at the Hotel Murat in the centre near the place where miniibuses to Hakkari leave from I probably would have been a great deal more positive about my experience. 

In the end, though, it's still worth passing through if only for the chance to experience the wonderful mountain road from Siirt and on to Hakkari. The latter in particular is absolutely spectacular although very strongly militarised - it made me think of the Middle Ages with a castle perched on top of every hill. sirnak2


Hotel İlkar. Tel: 0486-216 6464

Hotel Murat. Tel: 0486-216 2857

Şehr-i Nur Hotel

Transport info

Timetabled minbuses to Şırnak leave from the roundabout in front of the Belediye building in Siirt.

Onward buses to Hakkari leave from near the Hotel Murat although they will come and pick you up from where you're staying. There's only one a day at 8am. 


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