When I first heard of the name my mind immediately sprang to the famous superhero, my children instead I hist the town and “ check in “ in on Facebook. After all how many people will get to check into such a famous name in such an unusual spot?

The Southeastern region of Turkey is a beautiful area, it has rugged mountains, colourful flora in the summer time and waterfalls. However the the third largest city in Turkey is not on the main tourist map, understandably so as its far to travel and the two doesn’t have any outstanding features other than the signs of Batman that you can stand under and have photos taken with.

The first oil refinery in Turkey was founded here. It is one of main crude oil production centres of Turkey. For centuries, it was just a sleepy village called Iluh, but in the 1940’s oil was discovered and overnight the village became a booming town. In 1957 it was renamed for the nearby Batman River, a tributary of the Tigris River.

There is speculation as to how the Batman River got its name, some refer to ancient units of measure used in Turkey and Persia, but the majority of people believe that it took its name as a shortening of “ Bati Raman “ a nearby mountain. However it came about i can now say I have been to Batman, stayed there and seen a beautiful ancient city just outside the town.

These are five notable things you should if passing through:

Stay at the Messopotamia Hotel ( Burhan speaks English)

This is the first time I have ever stayed in a hotel with a salt room. I was told that it is very healthy and good to sit inside in a solidarity state and enjoy the silence and the white surrounding walls as it aids with nasal system amongst other things. The handball team from Batman stays here when they play tournaments so if you see a group of sporty looking men , don’t be surprised as they are regulars. I was lucky enough to stay room 101 which is the suite room, its spacious and a corner room so located away from any serious activity. Breakfast is the buffet style in the 200 seater restaurant , they serve Turkish and Mesopotamian utfag that one is accustomed to in Turkey and a good selection. With its glitzy lighting at night on the exterior and a statue of the Eiffel Tower one can be forgiven for thinking you have just landed up in Vegas. A relatively new hotel it is well located and has exceptionally friendly staff. Finding Burhan, the manager who could speak fluent English was a major plus. When you step outside, around the corner is a shop that sells dried fruits and nuts, this is a definite pop in shop. You wont leave empty handed as the staff walk around and offer you tastings of the various items and a small cup of coffee.

Eat supper at the Flamingo Cafe , Kurdish food

On the main road just down from the hotel you will spot this cafe. Siting upstairs at a window is the best spot as you can watch the people passing by down below. They serve Kurdish food as well as Turkish food. I had my favourite, Gozleme, cigarette ( a pastry type finger food ) and couldn’t resist drinking salep. The staff cant speak english but it doesn’t matter as the food is delicious and the smiles compensate for the lack of verbal interaction.


Visit Hasankeyf

30km outside of the city on a long winding road that has just had work done to it you make your way to the historic city of Hasankeyf. This is like a mini Cappadocia. This is a must see spot which is set to vanish under water for the new Ilisu Dam. To find local transport there is not the easiest but I can tell you its worth it. As you get closer you start spotting homes that were carved into the rocks on the one side of the road and on the other side is the large Tigris river. Across the main road on higher ground is the Yeni ( new ) Hasankeyf . The restored Zeynel Bey Turbos has been moved to the new city, the conical turquoise – tiled tomb was built in the mid 15th century for Zeynel, and is a rare survivor from this period of history.

Drink coffee with the locals

Walking through Hasankeyf I met Adurrahman, he has had a little store on the main road for 20 years. I bought a brightly coloured scarf that he tied on my head for me. Here I sat and drank tea and listened to his story of having to move his business to the new city. Further on I found a delightful little coffee shop perched high up overlooking the new bridge built over the Tigris river and the village. This was the best coffee I ever had in Turkey, a recipe unique to this area, Turkish coffee is made with milk, honey and nuts. Chairs are set out in the raised yellow frames used as beds in the summer time. One can see these metal frames on top of the houses. Sleeping under the stars in summer must be an amazing experience. The coffee shop owners have carved holes in 2 rocks and set up their own Instagram filters in the old fashioned way, a wall has a spot where people hang their notes whether it be looking for a husband, birthday wishes and just a note to say they were there.

Walk down the main road

This is a modern road with all the stores i was accustomed to seeing in Turkey. When I arrived at Batman bus station the staff where incredibly friendly. Arranging for a driver to take me to my hotel as i had no clue how to get there. In the parking area of the station was a man from Syria who has been working for couple of years driving his scooter around to help carry goods. Not far form the city centre the drive into town is down the main road. Walking this road is the best way to see it and get a feel of the local people. A beautiful park has creative wooden homes set up for the cats,
Kurdish restaurants line the streets, a of mall has the normal chain food restaurants in it. There is another out of place mall with high end fashion and lots of glitz and glamour to it, still new not all the shops were taken yet. Boisterous children run up and down the street. Defiantly a good spot to take an evening stroll and grab a bite.

If nothing else go and see the townof Hasankeyf with more than 12 000 years of history before it is covered in water forever. Best way to do it is find a local who can take you around, not only can they communicate with the people but they can also take you to of the main route areas.


Flamingo Cafe Address: Bahçelievler Mahallesi, 1604. Sk. No:5, 72070 Batman Merkez/Batman, Turkey