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Geotourism Potential Of Gurs Valley

Geological diversity is one of the basic elements that provide information about the natural structure, identity and culture of a geographical area. Areas with geological resources are natural outdoor museums for visitors. Geotourism, which has increased its share in tourism demand in recent years, is a type of tourism that includes travels and visits to areas with geological resources. The primary aim of this study is to define the concept of Geotourism and evaluate the geographical resources of Gurs valley having considerable geological diversity and determine its potential with respect to Geotourism. Gurs valley has an important place in terms of geotourism because of several opportunities, such as the Geotourism supply being a new place for the region, low competition, and richness in terms of vegetation. According to the results of this study, it was found that Gurs valley was suitable for geotourism in many aspects.

Gurs valley surrounded by Mardin, Kızıltepe, and Mazıdağı. Gurs valley which was designated as the study area is located in the district of Kızıltepe in the province of Mardin, in the Tigris section of the Southeastern Anatolia Region in Turkey. Gurs valley is located between 37°18' and 37°14' North and 40.39 and 40.35 East. The study area covers an average surface area of 24 km2.

Taurus Mountains on the southwest of the country is divided into three sections as West, Central and Southeast Taurus. Gurs valley, which lies within the Kızıltepe district, is located in the southwest of the Mardin, the southern branch of the Southeastern Taurus. The elevation of the mountain range where the valley is located is between 650 and 1250 m. It has mostly gained its current appearance during the 3rd Geologic Era (Tertiary). Mountain ranges were formed in the northern and southern regions of Turkey with the alpine orogenesis system that was exacerbated in the middle of the Tertiary Era and also occurred in our country. The Gurs River, which was located in the study area on the Southeast Taurus Mountains, created the current appearance of the valley today.

Gurs valley settlements were established by the Roman emperor Anastasius (491-518 AD) in 505-507 AD as a garrison city to protect the eastern border of the empire against the Sassanids. The city was founded in a very short period of time, and it offered an example of border settlements for architectural and urban history together with the ancient city of Dara (Ahunbay, 1991). During the Anastasius I. period, the city was granted the status of dara and Gurs metropolis and became the administrative center of the Mesopotamian region (Can and Erdoğan, 2014). During the Emperor Justinianus period (527-565), Gurs valley antique settlements and the city walls built by Anastasius were repaired and additions were made; and cisterns were built (URL-1). The ancient cities of Gurs valley have been inhabited during the Late Roman, Early Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods, and the material traces of these different civilizations have survived to this day.

Stratification value, which is created by the coexistence of cultural resource, is the process in which additional value is created by the coexistence of settlement layers each with unique singular value. This value defines the relationships formed between each different culture layer. Ancient cities of the Gurs valley have been inhabited during the Late Roman, Early Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods, and the material traces of these different civilizations have survived to this day. Each civilization continued to use the structures, structural remains and fragments of the previous civilizations in various ways. One of the prominent features of Gurs rural settlement, which is situated entirely on archaeological remains today, is its cultural and physical stratification.

One of the common features of many Anatolian settlements is physical and cultural stratification as a result of continuous habitation. Historical stratification emerges as an original character of rural settlements as well as urban settlements. Therefore, Gurs valley rural settlement is an example that reached present day by embracing its archaeological remains and traditional rural architecture. Gurs was established as a border garrison with the ancient city of dara in the early Byzantine period. Noteworthy structures include the defensive position and water structures and the necropolis (Graveyard), most of which belong to the foundation period of the city. The difference of Gurs from other archaeological areas is the continuation of habitation and life with the traditional rural texture. In this study, Gurs valley with its significant geological elements and immediate surroundings were examined, and it was aimed to create awareness about this geological heritage and to establish an alternative site for geotourism.

Anahtar Kelimeler
Geotourism Potential Of Gurs Valley


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