Yüksekova, Turkey

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Yüksekova, Turkey

Region: Hakkari

Geographic Coordinates: 37.569000, 44.283000
Temperature Range: -40.0°C to 40.0°C (-40°F to 104°F)
Climate: Cold winters and hot summers with moderate precipitation throughout the year in Yüksekova, Turkey.
Population: 119760
Language: Kurdish

Yüksekova is a small city located in the eastern region of Turkey near the borders of Iran and Iraq. It sits at an altitude of 1, 900 meters above sea level and has a population of around 100, 000 people. The city is renowned for its natural beauty, Rich history, And unique culture. One of Yüksekova’s most notable features is its location on the Silk Road – an ancient trade route that connected China to Europe. This route played a crucial role in shaping the cultural and economic landscape of Asia Minor.

As such, Yüksekova has been influenced by various cultures throughout history including Persian, Ottoman, Kurdish, And Armenian. The city’s architecture reflects this diverse heritage with traditional Ottoman houses alongside modern buildings constructed during Turkey’s rapid urbanization in recent decades. The historic bazaar (known as çarşı in Turkish) remains one of Yüksekova’s most popular attractions where visitors can find everything from spices to textiles to handmade crafts. Yüksekova offers breathtaking natural scenery surrounded by mountains on all sides including Mount Cudi which provides ample opportunities for hiking and outdoor recreation year-round.

During winter months skiing enthusiasts can enjoy nearby resorts like Hakkari Ski Center. The cuisine in Yüksekova draws heavily from Kurdish traditions but also incorporates flavors from neighboring regions like Iran and Iraq offering must-try dishes such as kebab made with lamb or beef (known as şiş kebabı), Lentil soup (mercimek çorbası), Stuffed grape leaves (yaprak sarması), With baklava for dessert. Despite its many charms, Yuksekhove faces several challenges including poverty , Unemployment , And political instability due to ongoing conflicts between Turkish armed forces and Kurdish militant groups.

Nonetheless, The city remains a fascinating destination for those interested in history, Culture, And nature alike.’

Important Landmarks

  1. Mount Sat – a popular spot for trekking and hiking
  2. Seyit Riza Monument – a monument honoring a Kurdish nationalist hero
  3. Yüksekova Castle – an ancient castle located on top of a hill overlooking the city
  4. Düğün Dağı Waterfall – a beautiful natural waterfall surrounded by lush greenery
  5. Cilo-Sat Mountains National Park – a protected area that offers stunning views of the mountains and valleys
  6. Yüksekova Thermal Baths – hot springs believed to have healing properties
  7. Şeyh Abdullah-i Nakşibendi Tomb and Mosque Complex – an important religious site for Sufi Muslims
  8. Hasankeyf Village – an ancient village with historic ruins, caves, and traditional architecture (located about 2 hours away from Yüksekova)

Primary Industries

  1. Agriculture: Yüksekova has a significant agricultural sector with crops like wheat, barley, corn and potatoes being grown in the region.
  2. Mining: The city has various mines that extract minerals such as copper and iron.
  3. Textile manufacturing: There are multiple textile factories located within Yüksekova that produce clothing and other textiles.
  4. Construction: Due to the growing population of Yüksekova, there is an increasing demand for construction services.
  5. Retail: The city has many small shops and markets that sell goods ranging from food to clothing to household items.
  6. Transportation: As a border town with Iraq and Iran, Yüksekova plays a crucial role as an important transportation hub for goods entering or leaving Turkey.
  7. Tourism: Although not yet a major industry in Yüksekova; tourism holds potential to grow due to its location near scenic mountains and historical sites like the 12th-century Ishak Pasha Palace.

Noteable History

  1. Battle of Çukurca: In 2008, the Turkish army launched a military operation against PKK militants in Çukurca near Yüksekova. The battle lasted for several days, resulting in the deaths of many soldiers and militants.
  2. Yüksekova Massacre: In 1992, Turkish security forces fired on a group of Kurdish protesters in Yüksekova, killing at least 14 people and injuring dozens more.
  3. Seyid Riza: Seyid Riza was a prominent Kurdish leader who led an uprising against the Turkish government in Dersim (now Tunceli) during 1937-38. He was eventually captured and executed by the government.
  4. Mullah Mustafa Barzani: Barzani was a Kurdish nationalist leader who fought for Kurdish autonomy in Iraq and Turkey during the mid-20th century. He spent time living in Yüksekova during his exile from Iraq.
  5. Abdullah Öcalan: Öcalan founded the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been engaged in an armed conflict with Turkey since 1984. He was captured by Turkish authorities while staying Kenya back in 1999 and has been imprisoned ever since.
  6. Hüseyin Aygün: Aygün is a former member of parliament from Yüksekova who represented the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).
  7. Hüseyin Gürbüz: Gürbüz is a Kurdish singer-songwriter from Yüksekova known for his politically charged music that addresses issues facing Kurds both within Turkey and abroad.
  8. Cemil Bayık : Bayık served as acting chairman of PKK between 2010-2013 before being replaced by Murat Karayılan.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Yüksekova Castle: This ancient castle dates back to the 12th century and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
  2. Yüksekova Museum: This museum showcases the history and culture of the region through exhibits on traditional clothing, tools and artifacts.
  3. Kato Dağı National Park: This park is home to a variety of wildlife and offers hiking trails with breathtaking views.
  4. Şeyh Şamil Tomb: This tomb is dedicated to Şeyh Şamil, a prominent leader in the resistance against Russian rule in the Caucasus region.
  5. Hakkari Archaeological Museum: Located in nearby Hakkari city center this museum features artifacts from various periods throughout history including Urartian period
  6. Mount Cilo-Sat Mountains Natural Park: A natural park that features picturesque landscapes with beautiful flora and fauna.
  7. Lake Gölbaşı Nature Park: A serene lake surrounded by mountains perfect for picnicking or fishing.
  8. Yüksekova Central Mosque (Ulu Camii): The largest mosque in Yüksekova featuring intricate Ottoman architecture and design.
  9. Cilo-Sat Mountains National Park : The national park covers an area of 55 thousand hectares offering visitors a chance to see rare plants such as lilies
  10. Cemilbaba Mosque : A historical mosque built during Ottoman period located at city center

Cultural Events

  1. Yüksekova Culture and Art Festival: This festival celebrates the local culture of Yüksekova with traditional music, dance performances, food stalls, and handicraft exhibitions.
  2. Hakkari Snow Festival: This winter festival takes place in February and features snow sports competitions such as skiing and snowboarding along with traditional Turkish music performances.
  3. Kurdish New Year (Newroz): Celebrated on March 21st every year, Newroz is a significant holiday for the Kurdish community in Turkey. It marks the beginning of spring and involves dancing around bonfires while wearing traditional clothing.
  4. Eid al-Fitr: A Muslim holiday celebrated at the end of Ramadan which includes prayers at mosques followed by feasting with family and friends.
  5. Victory Day: Celebrated on August 30th to commemorate Turkey’s victory over Greece during the War of Independence in 1922.
  6. Republic Day: Celebrated on October 29th to mark the founding of modern-day Turkey in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Please note that due to COVID-19 restrictions or other circumstances some events may be cancelled or postponed indefinitely without prior notice so it is always best to check before planning any visits or travels accordingly.


  • Yüksekova Kebapçısı: This restaurant is known for its delicious kebabs, especially the lamb kebab.
  • Tava Ciğer Salonu: This restaurant serves a popular local dish called tava ciğer, which is fried liver served with onions and spices.
  • Hatun Cafe & Restaurant: This restaurant offers a variety of traditional Turkish dishes such as pide (Turkish pizza), mantı (Turkish dumplings), and lahmacun (Turkish flatbread).
  • Özdemir Baklava Salonu: This bakery specializes in baklava, a sweet pastry made with layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and honey syrup.
  • Köfteci Ali Usta: This restaurant is famous for its köfte (meatballs) served with rice pilaf and salad.
  • Şahin Lokantası: This family-owned restaurant serves homemade Turkish dishes such as çorba (soup), dolma (stuffed vegetables), and güveç (a meat stew cooked in clay pots).
  • Hacı Dayı Pide Salonu: This bakery makes delicious pide, a type of Turkish pizza topped with cheese, meat, or vegetables.
  • Güven Pastanesi: This bakery offers a wide selection of pastries such as baklava, börek (savory pastry filled with cheese or meat), and poğaça (savory bread stuffed with feta cheese).

  • Parks and Recreation

    1. Yüksekova City Park: This park is a popular spot for picnics, walking, and relaxing. It has a playground for children and benches for visitors to sit on.
    2. Cilo-Sat Mountains National Park: This national park is located near Yüksekova and offers hiking trails, camping sites, wildlife watching opportunities, and scenic views of the surrounding mountains.
    3. Güzeldere Waterfall: This waterfall is located near the city center of Yüksekova and is a popular spot for picnics and sightseeing.
    4. Rafting on Zap River: The Zap River flows through Yüksekova and offers opportunities for rafting adventures.
    5. Skiing at Mount Gabar: Mount Gabar is located near Yüksekova and offers skiing opportunities during the winter months.
    6. Hunting: Hunting is a popular recreational activity in the region around Yüksekova due to its rich wildlife population including wild boars, deer, bears, wolves etc.
    7. Cultural Tours: Visitors can take cultural tours to explore historical sites such as Cizre Castle or visit local museums like Hakkari Museum which displays artifacts from ancient times till today’s modern era.


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