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Atatürk Dam (Atatürk Barajı)

Atatürk Dam is 80km northwest of Şanlıurfa


The Southeastern Anatolian Project (GAP) was a scheme to irrigate this parched region by damming the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Completed in 1994, its major feature is the Atatürk dam, which created the third largest lake in Turkey, covering 817 sq km/315 sq miles. More than 100 villages were submerged in the project, and the ancient city of Samosata was relocated. But excavation work also uncovered Nevalı Çori, one of the oldest settlements in the world, contemporaneous with Göbekli Tepe, both of which are described in Cornucopia 26. Artefacts from Nevalı Çori included 670 figurines, which were taken to the Archaelogical Museum in Şanlıurfa. The lake has become popular for water leisure sports and fishing. Some 60km downstream from the dam is the Birecik Dam where the only river cruise in Turkey leaves from Halpheit, half submerged as a result of the inundation. Rare wildlife here includes the rare black rose of Halfeti and the last 200 bald ibis birds in the world.


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