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The team of Union of Fathers in Bulgaria

International cave expedition "KIZILIN'2015"

Eight Turkish, two Bulgarian and one Greek caver have explored 28 artificial caves along the Euphrates River in Turkey!

Sanliurfa Province is located in south-eastern Turkey close to the Turkey – Syria border. Euphrates river flows across the province. However, five dams have been built on the river since 1975. Today, the lake of the every dam on the river extends nearly to the previous dam wall. The five dam lakes built on Euphrates submerged hundreds of villages and antique settlements.
The area extending northwest from Sanliurfa sity is built of limestone, whose thickness is more than 400 m. River Euphrates were inscribed on the limestone rock and modeled canyon with length of about 96 km. In the vertical walls of the canyon there are many natural caves and artificial caves with different functions carved the soft limestone. The beginning of the study of these caves dates from 2013 and was carried out from the OBRUK Cave Research Group Turkey. Then were discovered and studied 73 rock settlements and on both bank of the river were localized are tens of other rock cut structures, which due to lack of time were not studied and mapped.
International expedition in 2015 year was held from 5 until 13 June. It was organized by Ali Yamac from OBRUK. Seven more Turkish cavers from different clubs took part in the expedition . Among them was also a team of 4 cave divers. The international character of the expedition comes with the participation of Bulgarians (A. Zhalov and K.Stoichkov members of Bulgarian Caving Society and the Caving Club "Helictit" Sofia and L. Makrostergios of Speleological group of Karditsa - Greece.
The joint team continued the work begun in 2013, according to the existing information.
At first there were explored 8 caves in the vicinity of Halfety town. After renting a boat we float to the most interesting rock cut structure in the place - the cave complex Kral Kizi (King's daughter cave). This huge complex consist 4 caves and hundreds of other rock- structures as a evidence of long term steady habitation of the place. The main cave have four vertical levels connected each to other with carved feets and stairs ! According to legend, the daughter of a Greek king who lived in the nearby Greek castle fell in love with a shepherd many centuries ago. Although the shepherd went to the king many times to ask for the daughter's hand in marriage, he was constantly rejected by the ruler. In the end, the daughter and the shepherd ran away and took shelter together in the cave. And the tragic end to this twist in the tale is that soldiers working at the command of the king burned the two lovers to death when they were found in the cave. There is another variation of this tale which has the king imprisoning his daughter in the cave so that the shepherd won't be able to find her. The truth is, this region is filled with many tales about what once happened in this cave.
Later the expedition team moved to the north to Kizilin vill. and rent a boat for 5 days so to be able to reach and study the caves located on the cliffs of the canyon. After boating upstream we made base camp in the major cave explored during the expedition located on the left side of the river. The first target was to survey our “home” which takes about one full working day. This rock cut settlement was situated at 5 levels (flats) linked by flights of stairs. At each level there were different number of rooms, sells and probably chapels. Some carved in the rock channels and cisterns for collecting water also exist. Probably the total length of the complex is about half kilometer.
In the next days the team of surveyors explored 3 relatively big cave complexes. In parallel with cave exploration the cave divers team check the underwater part of the cliffs expecting to found submerged caves after uprising of the river level. Meanwhile some of us explore about 15 artificial cave in the surroundings of Göksu (Bule water)River (influent river of Euphrates) bridge close to Kizilin . The most ingesting discovery in that place was Roman necropolis consisting 4 (or probably more) cave tombs. During the expedition were explored in total 28 artificial caves and complexes but tens of the located caves rest unexplored. In the last day of our stay along the river we made reconnaissance boat trip upstream from Tarlabaşi village which give us the chance to discover two huge and extremely interesting cave complexes which exploration could take not less than two weeks. There are not any doubt that the studies of the caves along Euphrates in Shanliufra province will continue, in order to survey and inventory all artificial caves of enormous historical importance. Finally we would like to express our thanks to the organizers in the face of Ali Yamac and Ezgi Tok for their attention and hospitality.



Mailing address

Mailing address

1332- Sofia, Bulgaria
Liulin-6 distr., 616, entrance: В, 8-th floor, apt. 69

Clubhouse address:

1202-Sofia, Bulgaria
42, Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii str. floor:3

Bank details (BGN)

IBAN: BG39FINV91501215836127



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